Creation Justice Summit 2021

About a week and a half ago, I got to work with others to orchestrate and run the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and Oregon Interfaith Power & Light Creation Justice Summit. We held the summit virtually through Zoom, with some pre-recorded content and some live, as well as five workshops.

The summit was organized around the theme: “Our Kinship with Oregon’s Sacred Waters,” and part of the focus was commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Columbia River Watershed Pastoral Letter, “Caring for Creation and the Common Good.”

This event was fun and meaningful, with some great speakers and workshop leaders as well as meaningful worship elements from interfaith leaders in the state. You can watch a video of the opening and closing sessions of the summit, and below the video you can see an order of events. One of my favorite parts of the summit was the interfaith prayer of blessing for Oregon’s waters by interfaith leaders. You can watch that here.

If you’re in Oregon and you would like to participate with us in upcoming actions during the legislative session, please sign up to be part of our Creation Justice Advocacy Team 2021!

CREATION JUSTICE SUMMIT 2021 SCHEDULE
Opening Session (1 – 1:15 p.m.)
> Welcome by Cherice Bock
> Water in the Qur’an by Imam Abdulah Polovina
> Prayer of Confession and Thanksgiving for the Gift of Water by The Rev. Linda Jaramillo
> “Draw Water in Joy” by Rabbi Benjamin Barnett

Plenary Panel (1:15 – 2:15 p.m.)
“The Columbia River Watershed Pastoral Letter at Twenty: Reflections and Recommitment”
Moderator: The Rev. Mark Brocker; Panelists: Fr. Chuck Lienert; Wilbur Slockish, Jr.; and Sr. Joan Brown

Workshops (2:25 – 3:25 p.m.)

  • Organizing Green Teams and Regional Circles, led by Cherice Bock and The Rev. John Pitney. Wondering how to build or strengthen a green team in your faith community, or how to connect with other people of faith around the state also working on caring for this planet with love and justice? This workshop will offer practical tips for organizing a group in your faith community, connecting with others across the state through Green Circles, and setting goals for greenhouse gas reduction, education, advocacy and other aspects of working toward a more sustainable world with people of faith.
  • Faith-based Climate Advocacy in the 2021 Legislative Session, led by Aaron Salzman. Changing our public policies can have the biggest potential impact on collective ability to live sustainably, so speaking up about just and sustainable policy changes is an important aspect of creation justice. Become familiar with some of the climate and environmental policy priorities EMO and Oregon Interfaith Power & Light are advocating for during the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session. Learn more about these policies and consider a faith-based response from your faith tradition. Find out how to get involved in climate and environmental policy advocacy with EMO/OIPL.
  • Creation Justice in Worship and Community Life, led by The Rev. Solveig Nilsen-Goodin. Receive resources and ideas for incorporating creation justice elements into your worship services, liturgies, and faith community events.
  • Water Is Life: Activism in Oregon, with moderator Rev. Richenda Fairhurst; panelists Cozcacuauhtli Itzpapaloatl Tracy Molina, Don and Alona Steinke, and Patty Hine. “Water is life” is a phrase many of us can connect with in various religious and spiritual traditions, and it has been used by Indigenous environmental and climate activists — “water protectors” — as they work to block fossil fuel pipelines from crossing Native lands and the waterways we all share. Four panelists will share their experiences of environmental activism in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest and beyond as Indigenous water protectors, allies and people of faith upholding our kinship with Turtle Island’s sacred waters.
  • Watershed Care & Faith Communities, led by Dr. Steven Kolmes. The Columbia River Watershed Pastoral Letter, which we are discussing and commemorating in the opening plenary panel, refers to a broad regional watershed many of us in Oregon live in, but what is a watershed? How does it function, and what is the role of faith communities in caring for it? Learn from Dr. Kolmes about the basics of watersheds, what environmental and climate issues to be aware of in your watershed, and groups your faith community might consider partnering with as you’re engaging in watershed care.

Closing Session (3:30 – 4:15 p.m.)
> “Vidi Aquam,” by St. Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church choir, Hannah Brewer, music director, and Brian Fairbanks, choir director
> Creation Justice at EMO/OIPL, by Cherice Bock
> Climate Policy Update for the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session, by Britton Conroy
> Keynote Address by US Senator Jeff Merkley
> Closing Interfaith Prayer and Blessing of Oregon’s Waters, by Imam Abdulah Polovina, Rabbi Benjamin Barnett, The Rev. Linda Jaramillo, Navneet Kaur, and The Rev. Robyn Hartwig

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