Interfaith Opportunities

World Interfaith Harmony Week
February 1-7
          "Interfaith harmony is not just about dialogue among religious leaders," says URI (United Religions Initiative) Acting Executive Director Debra Bernstein. 
          "It is also about ordinary people finding common ground and working side-by-side to heal their communities politically, socially, economically and environmentally."
           Learn more about World Interfaith Harmony Week.



We have probed the earth, excavated it, burned it,
ripped things from it, buried things in it,
chopped down its forests, leveled its hills,
muddied its waters, and dirtied its air.

That does not fit my definition of a good tenant.

If we were here on a month-to-month basis,
we would have been evicted long ago.

---Rose Bird, Former Chief Justice of California Supreme Court

Laudato Si'
Vatican releases Papal Encyclical

        Noted environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of, spent June 18 reading the newly released document, and expressed great relief.  His response, "Pope Francis: The Cry of the Earth," was published online by NYRB.  It begins: 

        The old conceit that the president has a 'bully pulpit' needs updating; it's clear that the pulpit at St. Peter's Basilica is now the bulliest of all. . . .

        First, simply by writing it, the pope - the single most prominent person on the planet, and of all celebrities and leaders the most skilled at using gesture to communicate - has managed to get across the crucial point:  our environmental peril, and in particular, climate change, is the most pressing issue of our time. . . .

        More, he's brought the full weight of the spiritual order to bear on the global threat posed by climate change, and in so doing joined its power with the scientific order. . . . Science by itself has proven impirically impotent to force action on this greatest of crises; now, at last, someone with authority is explaining precisely why it matters that we're overheating the planet. . . .

        But the heart of the encyclical is less an account of environmental or social destruction than a remarkable attack on the way our world runs: on the "rapidification" of modern life, on the way that economic growth and technology trump all other concerns, on a culture that can waste billions of people. . . . Given the severity of the situation, Francis writes, "we can finally leave behind the modern myth of unlimited material progress.  A fragile world, entrusted by God to human care, challenges us to devise intelligent ways of directing, developing, and limiting our power."
McKibben's essay

Pope Francis Expands Climate Team, adding
Naomi Klein - Secular Jewish Feminist

Here's the article

           "Journalist Klein is a resolute investigator into the dark side of unchecked capitalism.
      "This comprehensive, sure-to-be controversial inquiry, one of the most thorough, eloquent, and enlightening books yet on this urgent and overwhelming subject - alongside works by Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Diane Ackerman - provides the evidence and the reasoning we need to help us shift to a 'worldview based on regeneration and renewal rather than domination and depletion.'"
                                                                                 (Booklist - starred review)

          It's mighty hard right now to think of anything that's precious that isn't
endangered.  There are no sacred and unsacred places; there are only sacred and desecrated places. 

          My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.  We have the world to live in on the condition that we will take good care of it.  And to take good care of it, we have to know it.  And to know it and to be willing to take care of it, we have to love it.
                                         -- Wendell Berry, novelist, farmer, environmentalist

And this is the first response to the first creation:
protect creation, make it grow. 

--Pope Francis

Love God, Heal Earth
21 Leading Religious Voices Speak Out on Our
Sacred Duty to Protect the Environment

          Author Sally G. Bingham presents 20 fellow religious leaders from rabbis to evangelicals to Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists, each contributing an original essay-chapter.

          They come together to tell why caring for the earth is a spiritual mandate, giving chapter and verse, and offering plans of action that go beyond the walls of religious congregations and out into the broader community.                      

DON'T MISS this compelling book about
climate change:

         The Sixth Extinction
An Unnatural History

           The "sixth extinction" of the title refers to the present, and the catastrophe that humans are creating today.

        "No creature has ever altered life on the planet" the way we have, Kolbert writes. 

           See Matthew Rothschild's review from The Progressive . . . .
Immanuel Lutheran Church
installed solar panels
as part of the congregation's Care for Creation

See the installation, step by step

 South Church - Amherst is a
Net Zero Energy User

                                     Solar Array Dedication Service                                                     
Do you know about
Transition Amherst?

       The Interfaith Observer has

ideo resources for climate change activists

Special issue on Climate Change