Workshop extravaganza!

Over in our Events calendar there is SO MUCH good stuff right now.  Check out a few highlights: 
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A series of workshops on involving your congregation or community in our work to respond to climate change as an urgent moral issue.

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A climate change art exhibit and auction at PA IPL member congregation Mishkan Shalom (featuring works by Philadelphia PA IPL member Peter Handler.

 Cheryl.MalkahBinahPreaching About Climate Change workshop on Tuesday morning, February 3 — for clergy and non-clergy alike.  Rev. Cheryl Pyrch and Rabbi Melissa Klein will lead a text study of Exodus 23:1-3 (the Torah portion for Feb. 14).  Download a PDF flier from the event listing.

MBW_full Our Earth/Our Story: Climate Change Calls Us to Heal Ourselves and the World workshop hosted by PA IPL member congregation Central Baptist Church on Saturday, Feb. 7. Speaker Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and more) .Light lunch included! Download a PDF flier from the event listing

MLK the RNC, and the climate gap

On the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s birth (his actual birthday, rather than his official national holiday) Interfaith Moral Action on Climate held a rally and interfaith service outside the Hershey Lodge in Hershey PA.  Why there?  The Republican National Committee was meeting there, and it is imperative that our national political leaders clearly acknowledge the growing harm coming from climate change, and move to both address the impacts and limit our continuing complicity in adding to the problem.  1

Continue on to read Rachel Mark’s remarks, and link on to a wire story about the event. Read last year’s excellent reflection on climate justice and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by PA IPL board president Rabbi Daniel Swartz here And re-read Jacqueline Patterson’s remarks about race and climate change at our 2014 Annual Conference here. The Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley (board member of the national IPL) has also contributed importantly to this conversation.  Read his 2013 piece from the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington here.  

Rachel Mark, Secretary of the Board of PA Interfaith Power & Light, offered these remarks:  I speak today on behalf of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.  PA IPL is a community of congregations, faith- Continue reading

Our Voices: 8 nights of Hanukkah & Climate Change

Our friends at Our Voices (and the #LightForLima campaign) have partnered with Shomrei Breishit: Rabbi and Cantors For the Earth to create and share 8 videos of rabbis and cantors who have created special prayers or kavannot (meditations) for lighting the candles for Hanukkah, connecting the holiday with our need to act on climate change.

1st night: Rabbi Lawrence Troster (coordinator of Shomrei Breishit) and Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster (Program Director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights) of Teaneck, New Jersey introduce the videos and talk about the connections between Hanukkah, climate change and environmental justice.

Whether or not you are Jewish, give the videos a listen.  If you are not Jewish, you will find various pieces that activate echoes in prayer, practice, and scripture of your own traditions.  If you are, it will bring a new lens to familiar practices, prayers, and songs.

The encouragement in the 7th night (from Pittsburgh!) to lift our own small lights and lean toward the light in those around us (together joining our sparks into something far more powerful and bright than we could ever create alone) will be evocative for people of all faiths. It is certainly a much-needed encouragement for all engaged in working for climate justice.

2nd night: Rabbi Jill Hammer (Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion, who specializes in ancient and contemporary midrash) New York, New York does a meditation on the Temple as a symbol for the world and how we must purify Continue reading

It’s all about that Neis: messages in song.

As we speed toward the longest night of the year, all of the Northern Hemisphere dwellers I know are looking for the Light.  We’re looking for ways to feel alive, and human, and hopeful in the dark and the cold — to appreciate the stars, to gather around the candles in our homes.  This year, well before it got too dark for my four chickens to lay their daily eggs (poor little molting beasts!), I found myself gravitating toward stories that show miracles happening where people are already striding forward in faith, with little rational reason to think that even the most that they could offer could do anything meaningful.   The Christian story of the Loaves and the Fishes is like that (particularly in John).  So is the Jewish midrash I learned about Nachshon at the edge of the Red Sea with Moses.  Acting in faith, giving what we have (though it’s clearly not enough) and trusting, faithfully hoping that the sum of our all-too-insignificant parts, willingly given, can be great, and glorious, and, somehow, enough.

credit: The Maccabbeats

I look to these stories because enormous  effort, seemingly insignificant in the face of an overwhelming challenge is all we have to offer in response to climate change.  It’s the response we’re all trying to step faithfully into, most of the time.  And our stories can help us maintain that active, acting hope. In the words of the 2014 Maccabeats song: It’s all about that Neis. *

That hummable song created a mashup with another tune ** that has been playing in my head, and got me thinking — again — about miracles and when they happen, about maintaining Continue reading

Prayers for courage, imagination, and action, and a thunderclap!

World leaders are gathering right now in Lima, Peru, negotiating the details of the next climate change treaty to come forward in Paris in 2015.   Many opened the conference with fasting.  National leaders, climate change leaders, and faith leaders are all there, including PA IPL member Professor Don Brown, who is leading sessions on the ethics of Climate Change, and will offer a phone call and webinar for PA IPL members this winter.

People of all faiths from around the world are supporting the negotiations with prayer.  Please join them with a daily prayer moment of your own now through December 7.  Invite others to join you, hold a public vigil, or create a prayer or vigil in your own faith community, as part of an existing service, or as a standalone event.

You may find this video a compelling part of an invitation to join you in prayer.  It builds to a very strong ending that calls on each of us as individuals.

Philly-area folks may have a leg up on vigil planning, thanks to this week’s prayer workshop Continue reading

A cornucopia of thanks.

There are prayers and songs from every faith tradition for giving thanks and for celebrating the harvest.   Click around and find some that sing to you.  Use them to express gratitude or reawaken it (we all have those days!), and on any day you wish.   Links below the reprinted prayer.

This modern prayer, God of All Harvests, is slightly abridged from the original to make it more universal.  It comes from Catholic Relief Services, where you can find it printed in its entirety.

Suzy Razafinderafara, a rice farmer in Madagascar

Suzy Razafindrafara, a rice farmer in Madagascar, increased her crop yields using techniques she learned from CRS partner Caritas Antsirabe. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/CRS

God of sun and God of rain,
In you, there is no dryness.
In you, no weed chokes the root.
No blight withers the leaf.
No frost bites at the blossom.

And, so, we pray for farmers and their
harvests everywhere.

In you, seeds of tears yield a bountiful harvest of joy.
May the rice farmer in Madagascar know
such bounty.

In you, seeds of truth and courage yield a bountiful harvest of justice.
May the coffee farmer in Honduras know Continue reading