Sermon: The Divine is in the Details

On the day of the 2014 Annual Conference, host congregation Summit Presbyterian Church welcomed visitors to their morning services.  Pastor Cheryl Pyrch has kindly shared her sermon from that day.  Presbyterian churches join many other Christian denominations in the Revised Common Lectionary, a 3-year cycle of prescribed set of readings.image-1-f255b6fa

The Divine is in the Details, Leviticus 19: 1-18

Since today we’re hosting the Annual Conference of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, “Climate Justice: Faith in Action,” I’d like to make an observation about climate change. A personal observation, not a scientific fact or a frightening statistic:   climate change has taken a lot of the fun out of shopping. And eating. And traveling. We used to just shop for stuff that we liked and bought as much as we could afford, maybe more: from cars to shoes to blenders to laptops and cell phones and hamburgers and books and TVs and houses and coffee. Or, we went bargain hunting, which has its own thrill: from buy more save more sales to 10 for 10 dollars at Acme. But now when I pick up Continue reading

Vigils for Climate Leadership: Lights for Lima

light for lima globe logoThis December, as world leaders meet in Lima, Peru our future is on the line. Time is running out for our leaders to reach an agreement that saves us from devastating climate change. This is why faith communities worldwide are joining  OurVoices and organizing #LightForLIMA – a global, multi-faith prayer vigil. These vigils will show our leaders that we as people of faith are praying for their efforts to bring forth valid actions to start reversing the affects of climate change.

Leader after leader at the UN meetings in New York in September spoke of the size and vibrancy of the People’s Climate March, where people of faith formed the largest contingent of all.  That moral message was heard, and provided courage for leaders to speak boldly.  Now is the time to shine our lights again, urging those same leaders from speech to action.

On Sunday, December 7th, from 8:00pm-8:30pm worldwide, people from diverse faith and
spiritual communities will gather for public vigils — lit by solar lamps. There are currently vigils Continue reading

Engaging and responding.

A motivated member of PA IPL is ready to create a group of people to learn and regularly engage lawmakers in pro-active conversations about climate change.  It’s an exciting plan with possibilities for local and statewide learning groups, training for visiting legislators, and a larger group of quick-response callers and letter-writers whose climate change efforts are primarily engaged elsewhere.   A brief description of the program precedes the embedded survey questions below.

This survey is for everyone.  It will help us identify, communicate with, and link

  • people ready to take a deep dive on engaged-conversation advocacy
  • people who want to support that work with quick, occasional phone calls,
  • people who are not themselves interested in focusing on advocacy, but who are creating stories of action, hope, and resilience that should be an important part of ongoing conversations with lawmakers about their constituents’ work.

Thank you for the gift of the 2-5 minutes it will take to answer the 5-question survey below.

Can’t commit to the Phase I timeline, but definitely want the reading and viewing list?  Respond accordingly, and we’ll make sure you get it!

the power of song

At PA IPL’s 2014 Annual Conference, Climate Justice: Faith in Action  the Rev. Rhetta Morgan of the Ecclesia Spiritual Center drew participants in to the sanctuary for the keynote session by beginning her music in the sanctuary at Summit Presbyterian Church.  After a few announcements, she re-centered us and drew us close in Spirit for an excellent entry into our ably-moderated keynote panel.   Following the panel, Rhetta again led us in inspiring and energizing song, sending us forth from the keynote to the rest of the workshops.  Thanks to Peter Handler, you can get a taste of that here:

Prior to the workshops, participants enjoyed really fabulous refreshments from Weaver’s Way Co-op (with support from the Rock Ethics Institute), and fellowship and conversation with our Green Resources exhibitors.

Why is climate change a Justice issue?

Plenary panelist Victoria Furio has shared her opening remarks at Climate Justice: Faith in Action, PA IPL’s annual conference held on October 26, 2014 at Summit Presbyterian Church. Resource links at the end of this post!VickyFurio - Version 2

Civilization is based on the principle of not harming the other — We could not coexist if we didn’t assure a reasonable expectation of comfort for everyone.

And our legal system is structured the same way — An individual’s rights extend only as far as they do not infringe on another’s. So justice is about freedom from harm. Our laws aim to provide protection for all.

As persons of faith, we have an even higher law to respond to. What God wants is a total harmony among all creatures, in all of Creation. God wants us to have joy and life in Continue reading

It’s worth the heartbreak to care about climate change. What would it mean if we didn’t?

Plenary panelist Joelle Novey has shared a piece that echos her remarks at Climate Justice: Faith in Action, PA IPL’s annual conference held on October 26, 2014 at Summit Presbyterian Church. joellenovey

Sometimes I wish I didn’t care about climate change.

Each time I speak with a congregation, I try to put into words what keeps me going in this work, when it would be so much less difficult not to care.

What would I have to do to not care about climate change?

First, I would have to not care about anybody who doesn’t live in the United States and is suffering the consequences of a warming climate now. I would also have to not care about anyone who will be alive after I’m gone, and may be harmed in the future. And then I’d have to not care about any other species of plants or animals, who might not be able to adapt fast enough to survive in a rapidly warming climate.

At that point I don’t have to care about climate change, but I have made my world so small … and too lonely.

Every Jewish community I’ve been a part of teaches us to honor every person as made in God’s Continue reading