Creation Care Network E-news
JUNE 2018
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

I am excited to tell you that, by the time you read this, I will be in Athens. I am traveling to Greece at the invitation of National Religious Coalition on Creation Care to join a symposium on climate, “Toward a Greener Attica: Preserving the Planet and Protecting Its People.” To quote its Website, “This international ecological symposium organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate will convene theologians and scientists, political and business leaders, as well as activists and journalists from all over the world. Participants will explore the pressing environmental problems of the region and its islands, examining the connections between ecology and economy, particularly in the context of pressing social and environmental challenges of our time.”

If you wish to review the program and the list of participants, you will find it here . I am humbled to have a chance to meet and learn from Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whose deeply Christian, moral leadership on care for “this fragile Earth, our island home” I have admired for many years. I am also preparing for heartbreak as we face, close up, the tragedy of migrants forced to leave their homelands because of political, economic, and environmental instability.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal (Mass. Conference, UCC), the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas (Missioner for Creation Care, Episcopal Diocese of WMA and Mass. Conference, UCC), Bishop Doug Fisher (Episcopal Diocese of WMA), and Bishop Alan Gates (Episcopal Diocese of MA at the May 23 press conference in Braintree
Last month I spoke at the retirement party for my friend and colleague, Jim Antal, who has tirelessly led the United Church of Christ in Massachusetts for 12 years and whose leadership on climate has brought him national renown. My remarks began with imagining what EPA head Scott Pruitt would say to Jim on the occasion of Jim’s retirement. To read my blog post, click: Jim Antal, climate hero . I will miss Jim – along with Bishop Doug Fisher, he oversees my ecumenical work as Missioner for Creation Care, and we’ve shared for many years in countless climate events and adventures. Still, despite my sorrow, the evening was filled with warmth and laughter. Jim, we wish you Godspeed.

Last month I also spoke at Westfield State University at a forum on climate pricing, concluding in my impromptu closing remarks that our task as human beings is to be good ancestors. To read my blog post about this lively event and the rationale behind putting a price on carbon, click: “ Is carbon pricing a spiritual and ethical imperative ? ” 

Speaking of carbon pricing, if you’re a Massachusetts clergy member and haven’t yet done so, please sign the Interfaith Call for Climate Pricing . Or please ask your clergy to sign it! The legislature is considering several strong carbon-pricing bills, including State Rep. Jenson’s bill, H. 1726, mentioned in my blog post. Word has it that we need just a half a dozen more votes in the House to reach a majority of legislators who support carbon pricing, so your strong support is more needed than ever.
On May 23 I attended a press conference in Braintree at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston, at which we announced the release of a joint appeal for climate action that was signed by more than 500 leaders from religious and scientific communities across Massachusetts. Episcopal News Service published  my article reporting on this event . The two Episcopal diocesan bishops in Massachusetts – Doug Fisher and Alan Gates – joined the press conference and signed the statement. This unusual alliance of religion and science declares that: “Climate change is an ecological and moral emergency that impacts all other aspects of our shared lives and requires us to work together to protect our common home.” To download the “Faith & Science Joint Appeal for Climate Action,” click here. Two good articles covering the story appeared in  The Boston Globe  and  National Catholic Reporter . Stay tuned for next steps.

Coming up – big news: the statewide Poor People’s Campaign is coming to Springfield on June 4!  The Eastern MA organizers of the Poor People's Campaign decided to come to Springfield/Western MA for Week Four of the Campaign in order to show their solidarity with Springfield’s struggle and to help build the movement for environmental justice and health equity. The theme for this week’s nationally coordinated campaign is Ecological Devastation: the health of the planet and the right to health care. Springfield has been ranked “the most challenging place to live with asthma” in the United States . Nearly one in five adults and children in the city have asthma. Local activists are fighting to turn that around, and to set the city on a path that is environmentally sound and socially just. I hope that many of you will come to this historic event and help build the movement. Clergy are encouraged to wear stoles. For more information, read the first announcement after this essay.

Want to learn from and network with people of many faiths who care about Earth? I invite you to join me at an interfaith conference on Creation care that will be held July 21-22 at Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in North Andover . The center is offering its 8th Annual Peace Conference, “The Tie That Binds: Creation Care and Interfaith Dialogue.” I will be one of the leaders, along with Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, Rev. Norman Comtois, OMI, MA, and Rabbi Judy Kummer. More about the leaders, program, and registration may be found here

Important announcement: this year our diocese’s annual celebration of Creation Season will begin on September 1 and end on the Feast Day of St. Francis, October 4 . By making this change, our diocese will ally itself with the millions of Christians worldwide in other denominations who mark a Season of Creation during this timespan. Over the summer we will update our diocesan Creation care resources, so that you have a strong menu of options and suggestions to inspire you.

In the meantime, I would be thrilled to hear if anyone starts to explore the possibility of forming a Holy Hikes chapter in the diocese. This recent article about Holy Hikes captured my imagination. Perhaps it will capture yours, too.


(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Opportunities for engagement
SPRINGFIELD: Poor People's Campaign Week 4 Ecological Devastation and Health: Clean Air, Clean Water and Health Care for All
For Week 4 of the Poor People's Campaign, which is set around the theme of Ecological Devastation and Health, the Eastern Massachusetts of the PPC organizers is coming to Springfield to show solidarity with Western Massachusetts!

A rally will be held on June 4th from 1.00 PM to 3.00 PM at Springfield's Court Square. Join in with many others, organizations (such as Arise For Social Justice and Climate Action NOW) and individuals alike, to raise awareness of and help build the movement for environmental justice and health equity in our area.

To read more about why the rally is being held in Springfield, go here .

To check out the Facebook event page, go here .

To learn more about the Poor People's Campaign, go here .

To watch more videos related to the campaign, visit their YouTube channel here .

When : Monday, June 4, 1.00pm - 3.00pm
Where : Court Square, Springfield, MA 01103
8th Annual ‘Water is Life’ Walk on the Housatonic (Howsatunnuck) River
The 8th Annual ‘Water is Life’ Walk is taking place along the Housatonic (Howsatunnuck) River. The ceremonial walk began at the headwaters of the Housatonic River in Washington, Massachusetts, with a new moon ceremony on May 15, and is following the river through northwest Connecticut all the way to the Long Island Sound, with a closing ceremony during the new moon on June 13. Uncí Carole , who is leading the walks, extends an invitation to “all people, all faiths, to gather like the drops of water and join us in this prayer for the Sacred Water of all life.” 

A calendar of the walk can be accessed here --check in to see what stretch of the river is being walked this June. Be sure to read instructions for walkers as well, if you are interested in joining.

For more information, please visit Water is Life Walk website here , or check out their Facebook page here .

State Rep. Candidate Forums on Climate and Energy
Election season is upon us, and Climate Action Now MA has arranged a series of forums under the tag "State Rep. Candidate Forum on Climate and Energy" to highlight climate policy. Come hear the candidates in our local state representative races speak about what they, if elected, would do to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the worst effects of climate change!

Planned forums remaining:
First Hampshire District
(Northampton, Hatfield, Southhampton, Westhampton)

WHERE: JFK Middle School, Community Room
100 Bridge Road, Florence, MA 01060
WHEN: June 5, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
SPONSORS: Climate Action Now MA,
League of Women Voters of Amherst and Northampton
Moderated by the League of Women Voters

Second Hampshire District
(Easthampton, South Hadley, Granby, Hadley)

WHEN: June 21
SPONSORS: Climate Action Now MA
South Hadley Democratic Town Committee
Easthampton Democratic Town Committee

Bring questions for the candidates on climate and energy policy or tweet them to #gogreenmapoli .

Check out the Facebook event page for updates and more.
Whether you missed the Environmental Film Festival's annual event this year or are just looking for something to watch, Environmental Film Festival's archive of films over the years is an incredible database of films centered around environmental issues.

Browse, pick, and settle down with friends and family to learn about both the challenges and the hopes we face today. Perhaps choose one to commemorate World Environment Day on Tuesday, June 5th. Have at it and enjoy.

Check out the festival's website here .
If you've enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to forward to one or two friends you think may be interested.
MBJ photo credit: Tipper Gore, 2014
The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Bishop Doug Fisher, Bishop Alan Gates: Shalom Kristanugraha, 2018
Housatonic River's Great Falls at Falls Village, CT viewed from the Appalachian Trail: Morrowlong (Wikimedia Commons)