minutes 8/17/2015

Interfaith Eco-Action Meeting Minutes – Monday, August 17 at First Churches Amherst

Opening – excerpt from Active Hope
UU Springfield will be leading a second workshop on Active Hope – stay tuned!
Discussion, Questions, etc.
Minutes from 8/5 – Sept. 21 press release – about? Community Forum on Papal Encyclical
How to make this event a strong event for the participants?
  • Sharon suggested people have note paper for asking questions and mic’s in the audience; key to promote the watch parties (continuation and opportunity for facilitated discussion)
  • Kit suggested music as people entered – sing along ideal? 6:45-7 skilled choral conductor (Kit is not available) We could have the raging grannies? Just not be old 60’s stuff – suggesting Fred Small’s “Peace is the Bread we Bake”. Andrea A. is a song leader – ideal but could have role confusion? Ben Grosscup – this changes everything song?
  • Handout flyers for the watch parties
  • petitions for carbon legislation and divestment, etc.
Vision for UU Amherst is focusing conversation on climate justice (3 basic questions) ground rules laid out in advance of discussion after viewing, three time checks – move on to next question, etc. Three planners will be watching this at 9:20 am. Will be fast forwarding all of the introductions/thank yous to get right into core content.
Vision for St. Mary’s in Longmeadow – concerned the venue will be too small – suggesting the gym but wifi is irregular there. May need to change venues? First Church of Longmeadow has offered their space. Suggestion is that the space is kept as is (working on many alternate plans with recorded options, etc.)
  • Will be putting together questions for participants to take ongoing actions – will circulate these to all three venues. Mark Pohlman (Transition Team) would like to put an excellent ½ hr carbon talk on dvd and make available to all participants in all watch parties – please let JoanButler@comcast.net know if you’d like copies (charge $1) Karen, Sharon and Andy, a 350MA rep, will be at Mark’s planning meeting.
Watch party at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Northampton will be in the parish hall. Might be ideal site for a press conference.
Karen has reached out to all the main media outlets with a request to participate in a press conference about the forum, the three watch parties, the choral activities and the hakhel. Please ask your clergy for a statement on what they will be preaching about on September 27th or reflections on Pope Francis’ impact locally and/or globally.
I have been thrilled to hear and read the words of so many of our world’s religious leaders on the subject of climate change and the sustainability of life, as we know it, on earth. Let us all bring our religious and spiritual selves down from the abstractions of our specific beliefs to our real lives on this planet and the imminent dangers within which we struggle. When religion comes to earth, so too will our passion. It is a completely interconnected and interdependent world, indeed Universe, and what we believe, and do (because of those beliefs), matters. Some call what is happening the “greening of theology.” I call it “bringing religion down to earth.”
The Reverend Alison A. Wohler
Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
Roger noted we want to be using the events page of the website for all actions in the area. Will work on redesigning the Ignatius Watch Party flyer to be available for all.  Note added later: the lengthy URL for the Events page has been minimized and now works as bit.ly/1PxmTTS
Climate Action Now website calendar? Yes (and hopefully soon more detail!) Karen has been including in CAN weekly e-newsletter and will continue writing up announcements each week – and will add events to other regional calendars
5-college network for outreach? Specific contacts? Amherst Greens (Betsy to forward to KR)
Choral Activities – see this link for all faith communities planning on singing (feel free to add to this!) https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16SgW0lyFnQCxK3QACRmCPoXJifTGWhU3fNmvFu5ZAHE/edit?pli=1#gid=0
Because “all” clergy have been invited to preach on climate on September 27th, we’ve invited choirs to sing an anthem on climate and approximately 2 dozen have so far. If congregations want to join in the action, Jane Johnson has rewritten the lyrics of Amazing Grace to Amazing Place (attached in the email with these minutes)
September 26-27 Model:
Clergy preaches on climate, choir sings an climate related song (such as Blue Green Hills of Earth or For the Hills of Earth) that gets introduced with a specific mention that dozens of other faith communities in the valley are singing about climate today, and – if the choir wants to engage the full congregation – after services, exit the sanctuary or meeting space and sing a hymn together outside to/with the community.
Challenge for combining efforts with other choirs is for those who have 10am vs 11am services. At 12:30 First Churches in Northampton will be gathering outside on their front lawn to sing Amazing Place. They will include a moment of silence, join hands. Hoping parishes in all communities would do similar actions.
Added to choir list
South Congregational, UU Springfield, All Souls Greenfield – OTHERS to add?? Let Kit Johnson know
Final Reflections:
Jane will be fasting in solidarity with the Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) FERC protesters – September 8th until September 24th; people are either fasting in DC with this group or individually. Jane noted some are fasting “Ramadan style” from sunset to sunrise. Others may be doing certain days.
Kit mentioned considering the possibility of the flash mob at the Mullins Center prior to the Dalai Lama’s talk on Sunday October 25th. Karen is working on moving this forward. Also working on procuring the arrangement of the Blue Green Hills. (Georgeanne mentioned that it is already in the UU hymnal as “For the Earth Forever Turning and people may be able to find it online)
Sharon noted that Ron Story at First Churches will preach about “what would Jonathan Edwards say on the moral imperative of protecting the earth” on Sept 27.
Kate shared not liking the word wretch in Amazing Place – Jane is comfortable adding an * with “soul” alternative
Ann – so pleased that the energy is high
Lee – last Sunday for South Church minister but is confident the new minister will preach on Climate. (Sharon noted the feast of St. Francis marking the beginning of Margaret Bullitt Jonas’ New Beginnings climate-sermons campaign)
Georgeanne & Lucy – feel really energized with these meetings!
Betsy – expressed gratitude for our wonderful faith communities role in carrying us forward through difficulties.
Joan – brought her minister’s statement on climate for the press release! Also concerned about reaching more faith communities!
Springfield Council of Churches – Karen has shared our events with Sister Catherine and copies her with minutes
Sharon knows someone with an email list of all Northampton religious community
Georgeanne/Joan/Kate know Pat – interfaith council
Lee will reach out to Interfaith Outreach Network group (and Marian Center)
Karen suggested a candlelight vigil on September 23rd prior to Pope Francis’ congressional address (Yom Kippur is over at sundown) Sharon offered First Churches in Northampton – great, central, visible location.
Closing – Questions to consider:
  • How do I (NOT) participate in a “throwaway culture”?
  • What disturbs me about ecological disrepair?
  • What am I doing to encourage conservation and sustainability in my life/community?
Tentative next meeting: Wednesday September 2 at 7pm – South Congregation Church (net zero) – 1066 South East St. Amherst

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