This series will include four Zoom events with various speakers who will present different environmental topics for individuals, families, and congregations. Together we will consider our sacred connections to the lands, waters, and air and how to respond to the global environmental crisis.
All events are free and open to all.
The Green Awakening: Churches and Environmental Justice Today
January 14, 7:00-8:30 pm
In the 1730s and 40s, Christian revivalism caught hold as the First Great Awakening swept through the colonies and ultimately formed part of our UCC heritage. The next Great Awakening will be a Green Awakening, and the UCC can play a significant role in leading it. In this Zoom Gathering, the Rev. Brooks Berndt will outline how caring for God’s creation is central to our DNA as Christians, how the UCC has led the way in the past with the launch of the environmental justice movement to address environmental racism, and how there are a plethora of resources available to assist congregations in fulfilling their calling as caretakers of creation and champions of justice.
Before becoming the UCC Minister for Environmental Justice in 2015, Berndt served for eight years as the pastor of First Congregational UCC in Vancouver, Washington. While there, he became active in two environmental campaigns that were ultimately successful: transitioning the state of Washington away from its only coal plant and preventing the establishment of the largest marine oil terminal in the country in Vancouver. During his time as pastor, Berndt published his first book Sounding the Trumpet: How Churches Can Answer God’s Call to Justice. It was co-authored with the Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., a prophetic pastor at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, California. Scholar Cornel West described the book as “a masterpiece…full of deep spiritual truths.” Berndt’s second book is Cathedral on Fire!: A Church Handbook for the Climate Crisis. About the book, the Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley declared, “It shares what I feel is missing I the environmental movement, which is, HOPE AT THE GUT LEVEL.” As the Minister for Environmental Justice, Berndt led the way in the issuing of the UCC’s 2020 report entitled “Breath to the People: Sacred Air and Toxic Pollution” which identifies 100 of the nation’s super polluters along with economic and racial disparities found in surrounding communities. Berndt cohosts the monthly Creation Justice webinars, which have featured everyone from the climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe to Senator Cory Booker. During Berndt’s time at the national setting, the UCC received a Climate Leadership Award from Eco-America for its advocacy work, while the World Council of Churches nominated the UCC’s Environmental Justice program for a UN Prize.
How Then Shall We Live? Putting Faith Values into Earth Practice
February 18, 7:00- 8:30 pm
Christian faith like other religions calls us to live in harmony with the planet and peace with one another. But how exactly do we do that in our daily lives in the society in which we live? How do we choose our next steps amid the myriad of “green” options? What makes the most impact? What practice can we sustain? What deepens our growth and relationships? Whether you have been responding to the climate crisis for years or are just beginning, this session will help you take the next step.
Buff Grace first volunteered with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light in 2016, praying with water protectors at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline. In 2019, he joined the MNIPL staff to help congregations create climate action plans, introduce people to solar power opportunities, and resist Line 3 in Minnesota. He served for 12 years as an Episcopal priest, where he envisioned and helped start the first pay-as-you-can cafe in the Midwest, and before that helped start the non-profit MedShare, which rescues U.S. medical surplus for life-saving humanitarian aid overseas. He has worked as an organic farmer and a wilderness guide. He loves canoeing and listening to his children play jazz.
What is Permaculture?
March 11, 7:00-8:30 pm
Heidi Morlock and Hans Peterson will present their experience at Permaculture Farmers in Jordan, MN
Dr. Teddie Potter on the psychological impact of the environmental crisis
April 22, 7:00-8:30 pm
Dr. Potter is a co-founder of Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, member in the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, and member on the American Academy of Nursing Environment and Public Health Expert Panel. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee of Columbia University’s Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education and a Fellow in the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. She chairs Clinicians for Planetary Health (C4PH) and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Planetary Health Alliance at Harvard.