Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light invites faith communities of all traditions to join us in support of this effort to preach 1000 sermons, teach 1000 teachings, or ponder and pray on 1000 studies — all focused on the enormous impacts our climate choices will have on the rising generation.
In a landmark case called Juliana v. U.S., twenty-one courageous youth have filed a lawsuit against the United States government for its role in causing climate change and violating their rights to life, liberty, and property, while also failing to protect essential public resources. The youth range in age from 10 to 21, and their voices provoke a moment of moral reckoning for our nation. Their day in court is coming, and now is the time for people of faith and conscience to speak out in solidarity.
The case was first filed in 2015. The court date is now set for February 5, 2018.
Will your faith community contribute a sermon, study, or teaching?
The 1000 sermons challenge and Justice for #EachGeneration effort was begun by the United Church of Christ. We were pleased to be invited into the community of support, and urge you to visit their beautiful website www.eachgeneration.org
In our materials, we have worked to broaden the language for those whose religious traditions do not use the same structure (sermons) or may not use the same vocabulary. All of our traditions share callings
to care for the most vulnerable,
to stand for justice, and
to care for our common home.
We urge you to reach out for support, and to log your faith community’s sermon, teaching, or study at www.eachgeneration.org, as well as sharing it with us.
With 67 counties in Pennsylvania, it would take just over three sermons, teachings, or studies per county would allow us to contribute 210 to the 1000, in honor of the 21 young people. Will you help?
This is a particular moment for youth to speak and lead — and for youth to see their elders amplifying youth concern and hope, and standing for a future that reaches beyond what elders will personally see.
This is a particular moment to share our messages beyond our walls — will you share words or thoughts in a denominational newsletter, a local newspaper, here on our blog, or by inviting your community members to a repeat event?
It is worth noting that one of eight friend-of-the-court briefs was filed by a number of religious organizations—including national Interfaith Power & Light, as well as our friends at the Shalom Center, the Franciscan Action Network, and the Sisters of Mercy. Of course that brief cites plenty of legal precedent. It also cites sources of particular interest to Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light
- Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home (rooted in scripture from the Christian Bible as well as generations of Catholic teachings)
- the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change
- the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change, and
- Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which reads: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”
- The United Church of Christ’s The Pollinator article introducing the lawsuit to their readers, and from their blog, Mary’s Song reflection by director Brooks Berndt, which he wrote as part of the Revised Common Lectionary cycle. The Massachusetts UCC Conference has a helpful climate resources & sermons page.
- For those looking for a study, and wanting to do it soon, we particularly recommend Rabbi Daniel Swartz’ Laudato Si and the Sages: Reflections on Climate Justice, a text study for one or two sessions, with excerpts from Laudato Si, in facing page with Jewish texts, from scripture to the present. Works in inter-religious or single-faith settings. Feel free to supplement with a few texts from your tradition, and be sure to make the linkages to these youth.
- Given the court arguments based on Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home , the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, and the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change, we suggest choosing a resource or two from on our Laudato Si resources page, including resources from many, many traditions.
- For Christians who use the Revised Common Lectionary schedule of scripture readings, Lutherans Restoring Creation has climate-preaching resources, including this list of resources by Revised Common Lectionary cycle and they’ve now completed all 3 years of the cycle.
- Interfaith Power & Light has a collection of Worship Resources and a few studies in connection with Faith Climate Action Week (formerly called Preach In)
- Unitarian Universalists called for 100 climate justice services in their “commit2respond” challenge last year.
- Additional Christian links: United Methodist sermon (from 2015) on the Urgency of Now.Climate Witness’ Preaching on Climate Change page has several examples.
Court case links
- Our Children’s Trust (the group bringing the lawsuit
- An interview from fall 2016 on the Planet Philadelphia podcast
- We found this readable, but slightly policy-wonky article with more background. It connects Juliana v. U.S. to other cases, including one initiated in Philadelphia. It is worth noting both that the article was published in left-leaning Vox, and that it was written by David Bookbinder, described as “the chief counsel at the Niskanen Center a libertarian think tank in Washington, DC.”