May 2020
Laudato Si': Care for Our Common Home

O Most High, all-powerful, good Lord God,
to you belong praise, glory, honor and all blessing.
Be praised, my Lord, for all your creation
and especially for our Brother Sun....
Be praised, my Lord,
for Sister Earth, our Mother,
who nourishes us and sustains us....
I praise and bless you, Lord, and I give thanks to you,
and I will serve you in all humility.

- St. Francis of Assisi
Dear friends,

Pope Francis released an encyclical on Earth care, Laudato Si': On Care for our Common Home , five years ago this month. In it, he lays out the problems related to pollution, climate change, and loss of biodiversity and habitat due to human activity, calling for ecumenical and interdisciplinary solutions. He highlights the ways these problems increase inequities and disproportionately impact those who are already marginalized, and cause other breakdowns in our global society.

He offers beautiful prose connecting care for creation with the Jewish and Christian Scriptures and the teachings of the church--and also acknowledges the many ways Christians have contributed to the ecological problems we now face.

Pope Francis invites us to practice an "integral ecology," living our faith in a way that acknowledges the interconnectedness of the economy, ecology, society and spirituality. Poverty, lack of food and housing, feeling unsafe in one's neighborhood--these, too, are concerns related to creation justice, related to our calling as followers of in Incarnate Christ.

He queries, " What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? "

This question comes into sharp relief in this moment in which we are facing a global pandemic, with the combined economic and social suffering of which we are only seeing the beginnings. As we wrestle with what it looks like to be the church in this moment, may we hold Pope Francis' question in our minds and rebuild the world we want to pass on to future generations.

Catholics and others are celebrating Laudato Si' Week this week, and we invite you to join in. Have you read Laudato Si' before? If not, this is a great time to do so, or to revisit the wisdom and inspiration of this important document. Perhaps read it with a friend, or your congregation's green team. Use it as a catalyst for imagining the way you want to practice being part of the church, caring for creation in the midst of a pandemic and beyond.
Cherice Bock
Creation Justice Advocate
(503) 221-1054, ext. 228
Interfaith Power & Light Virtual Lobby Days
Oregonians from around the state participated in the first ever Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) virtual lobby days this month. Oregon Interfaith Power and Light is one of EMO's creation justice programs, and you can learn more by joining the OIPL Facebook page .

IPL usually gathers annually in Washington, DC, and leaders of each state's IPL visit their congresspeople. The COVID-19 closures allowed for a new opportunity: instead of just the IPL leaders, constituents from faith communities around the state spoke with staff for our US senators and representatives.

In light of the pandemic we are all facing, our policy requests centered around creating economic relief and recovery bills that place sustainability and environmental justice at the heart of our national rebuilding work. In particular, we asked them to include the RECLAIM Act in a relief and recovery bill, which allocates $1 billion that has already been set aside for land restoration and clean job creation in coal and other mining communities. You can still contact your legislators to encourage them to support the RECLAIM Act . While Oregon has not experienced the direct damage of coal mines, we have all received the short-term benefits of burning coal, and we're all in this together: now is the time to take responsibility for restoring our lands and rebuilding more resilient and just communities.

We emphasized that as people of faith, it's important to us to love God through loving our neighbors, and we can do this by prioritizing public health and safety, and creating economic solutions that will be beneficial for all people as well as the rest of creation.

So far, we met by Zoom or phone call with environmental policy staff for Senators Wyden and Merkley, and Representatives Schrader, Blumenauer, and Bonamici.

If you would like to be part of future creation justice lobbying efforts, please let us know , and you can advocate as people of faith to build a just and sustainable society!
Look for the Helpers: A Stewardship Campaign for EMO in the Midst of the Pandemic Crisis
Creation Justice is just one of the incredibly important areas of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's work around the state! We provide direct social services, bring together people from different faith communities, and speak up with a moral voice around justice issues in public policy.

We usually do a big fundraising gala each May, but this year, as with so many other events, we're going virtual. This gives you the opportunity to get a little closer to the action, in some ways, because we're hosting a number of virtual house parties for smaller groups. We hope you'll join us!

Do you want to learn more about EMO and support our work? Sign up for one of the "Look for the Helpers" virtual house parties we're hosting in June! Invite your friends, and learn about all the ways EMO is putting faith into action to meet the needs of Oregonians, living out the love of God in this challenging time.

Virtual house party schedule:

  • June 3 at 6 pm
  • June 9 at 3 pm
  • June 10 at 6:30 pm
  • June 16 at 2 pm
  • June 18 at 12 pm
  • June 18 at 2 pm
Environmental Justice in Oregon
Oregon is doing a lot of positive things in relation to caring for our environment, but we also have a lot of work to do.

Students from the University of Portland had the chance to participate in an Environmental Justice Immersion Trip earlier this year to learn about the intersection of environmental issues, communities of color, and community organizing to build a more just and inclusive society.

Portland Magazine created a great video to show some of the places they visited and things they learned about. The trip was led by Tyler Wagner, a former EMO staffer in environmental ministries, who now works for the University of Portland as their program manager for immersions in the Moreau Center for Social Justice. In the video, you will also meet Meg Bender-Stephanski, who will be joining EMO this summer as a climate policy intern--we'll introduce you to her in next month's newsletter.

Students learned about the industrial and Superfund sites in the harbor right next to their university, visited APANO (which does environmental and social justice organizing with Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Portland), learned from tribes and spent time hiking in the Columbia Gorge, learned about the Renew Oregon Coalition and lobbied in Salem, and built community as a group, putting down roots of awareness and connection in the region.

Interested in creating your own environmental justice tour? Contact us for suggestions!
Have an event to share?
If you're hosting an event related to creation justice, let us know and we will help you publicize it!

Right now, all in-person events are cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Digital events can be shared , too, so if you want others to join your digital events, please let us know! Email Cherice Bock to share it with our networks.
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
503-221-1054 | |