Tag Archives: preach in

Preach-In Preparation Workshop for Faith Leaders Concerned About Climate Change

RECORDING AVAILABLE HERE.  Please contact us to ask for the handouts (audio recordings just don’t capture those that well!).  Sound is much improved in less than 5 minutes from the beginning.

Get ready to address the faith dimensions and moral  implications of climate change in your preaching with this workshop, led by The Rev. Dr. Karyn L. Wiseman.  The Rev. Dr. Wiseman is Associate Professor of Homiletics and Director of United Methodist Studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. (Or see something she wrote right here on our blog.)

This interactive workshop will explore upcoming lectionary texts that connect with climate change themes, provide resources for preaching preparation and specifically address constructive and faithful ways to deal with resistance to preaching about climate change and its implications for the faith community.

You may register to attend  either in person (in Harrisburg) or using a phone-in option. There is no cost to attend.

The national Preach-In on Global Warming, a program of Interfaith Power and Light, begins February 15-16, Valentine’s Day weekend, and goes through April, 2014. This workshop is  sponsored by PA-IPL  and LAMPa.

Preach-In Preachers’ Breakfast –rescheduled!

The 2/6 breakfast must be cancelled, due to fallen trees and no power.  All are encouraged to attend this event at 1:00 on February 11.   Register here.

Mark your calendar and pass the word in your networks:  we’ve rescheduled the “Preacher’s Preach-in Breakfast” for Thursday, February 6th, at 8:15 at Summit.   This is over a week before the national “preach-in” but that date is only suggested, and it will be a time to share information, strategies or challenges for preaching on climate change.  We’ll also have postcards and advocacy information.    RSVPs appreciated, so I’ll know how much coffee to make.  (We always encourage participants to bring their own mugs.)


Leading us: Church and State


The State of the Union speech was this week, so we had a chance to hear the President’s views on energy, climate, and goalsetting.  We’re always thinking about leadership by, in and for communities of faith, but with SOTU sandwiched between the national IPL Preach-In mid-February, and MLK day mid-January, it’s certainly in high relief at the moment.  

Wondering how to join the Preach-In?  We’ll help!  Ready to find some new ways to step forward in congregation or community?  Give us a call to share or brainstorm.    Below find our thoughts Continue reading

CANCELLED/RESCHED. Preach-In Preacher’s Breakfast

This event has been RESCHEDULED DUE TO ANTICIPATED WEATHER.  Check back… Are you thinking of joining the national IPL “Preach-in on Climate Change” in February but needing ideas or moral support?  Come to a breakfast on Wednesday, January 22nd from 8:00 – 9:30  a.m. at Summit Presbyterian Church, 6757 Greene Street, Philadelphia, PA  19119.  We’ll share IPL resources, study scriptures, brainstorm and enjoy fellowship.  Clergy/Speakers of all faiths welcome, and coming to the breakfast does not commit you to the preach-in.  RSVP’s appreciated but not required: contact Cheryl Pyrch at cpyrch@summitpres.net.   Free!

Testing the Lord

Rev. Cheryl Pyrch of (PA IPL member) Summit Presbyterian Church graciously shared her sermon from the 2013 National Preach-In on Climate Change.  For the non-Presbyterians out there wondering how she chose this reading from the many, many possibilities: many liturgically-based Protestant Christian denominations use the Revised Common Lectionary, a three-year schedule of Bible readings that specifies the texts that will be preached on a particular Sunday.  If your time is short today, skip to the last 3 paragraphs.  I have no doubt that you’ll come back for the rest.

Testing the Lord
Luke 4: 1-12

         I wonder what the devil thought, as he watched Jesus being baptized.  Now, we don’t know that he was there  – none of the gospel writers mention him  – but if he wasn’t, surely he had an informant. An informant who told him about this man from Nazareth who had the Holy Spirit descend on him like a dove.  About the voice from heaven that said, “You are my son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”  Was the devil jealous, or did he just realize Jesus would be a really big catch?  Either way, during those forty days in the wilderness  the devil did his best to tempt Jesus into disobedience.  To undermine that father/son relationship.   To perhaps make Jesus a little less beloved.  We aren’t told about all the tricks he used in those forty days, but at the end of them he made three final offers.

         “Since you are the Son of God, turn this stone into bread.”  It must have been tempting.  Jesus was famished.  But he remembered  scripture, and he knew that he didn’t receive the  power of the Holy Spirit to satisfy his own needs.  So he replied, “it is written, one does not live by bread alone.”

         Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  “To you I will give their glory and authority; it will all be yours, if you worship me.”  It must have been tempting.  Jesus could do a lot of good as ruler of the world’s kingdoms.  But he knew that to worship the devil he’d need to disown his true parent.  So he replied, “It is written, worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”

         Finally, the devil took Jesus to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written “He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,” and “on their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”  Jesus must have been tempted.  He wouldn’t get hurt — the scriptures said so. That  would shut the devil up.  But Jesus knew that putting God to the test, making God “prove” his love, was no way to treat his father. So he replied, “it is said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  And then the devil departed from him until an opportune time.

         In climate change activist circles over the past few years there’s been a lot of discussion about how to “message” climate change.  The message that scientists are giving us is straightforward:  if we continue with business as usual, if we don’t turn from fossil fuels, we’re toast.  The rising seas will wipe out the world’s major port cities.  Droughts and floods will kill crops.  We can expect large-scale famine, especially in Africa.   One third of all plant and animal species could be wiped out as eco-systems collapse, our oceans acid wastelands.  Studies and predictions differ on the details.  There’s uncertainty about the future, and a lot depends on what we do or don’t do.  But most agree:  climate change could wipe out the human race completely.    It probably won’t come to that — glaciologist Edward Alley calls human beings the greatest weed on the planet — but it could.  More likely, our civilizations –  – organized communal life on a large scale – will come crashing down.   And we have very little time to prevent catastrophe.  We’ve already put into motion change that we can’t yet see.  When disaster is clearly upon us it may be too late.  And those are cautious, sober scientists speaking.

         But that message hasn’t gotten a lot of traction.  (Much like the nuclear threat).   Although things are beginning to change, Obama is talking about it, our national leaders act like there’s no danger.  The candidates were never asked about it during the election.  Everyone “agrees” there’s no way a climate bill will be passed by this congress.  But it’s not just politicians.   Even those of us who believe the climate is changing don’t talk about it much, or go beyond changing lightbulbs.  There are exceptions, of course, including the thousands marching on Washington today.  But still, especially in the United States, we aren’t acting in a way commensurate to the threat.  Stephen Colbert had a very funny spot this past week.  He noted that certain pundits who’ve been denying the reality of climate change were beginning to acknowledge it, but in the same breath  saying there’s nothing we can do about it — blaming China, everyone’s favorite scapegoat.   As Colbert put it, they went through the 5 stages of climate change grief:  Denial, denial, denial, denial, acceptance.  I think that’s hilarious, but we have to admit it doesn’t just apply to conservatives.  Most of us, in actions if not words, seesaw between denial and acceptance. 
         There are many reasons for our passivity.  A well funded disinformation campaign that says there’s no danger.  Paralyzing fear.  Other ministries, causes and responsibilities.   Well-founded suspicion of change.   Scientific illiteracy and the still rather abstract and future nature of the threat. .  .   But I also believe we’re listening to the devil quoting scripture in our ear; the wily serpent who says, “God will command his angels concerning you.  God won’t let humankind destroy itself. God will deliver mankind from the snare of the fowler, the deadly pestilence.  God will protect you and your descendants, and show God’s salvation.  God  promised never to send a flood upon the earth again.  Christ will come in clouds of glory.  Have faith.  Those prophets of doom are alarmists.”   

         In other words, we’re putting the Lord our God to the test.  We’re putting the Lord our God to the test with every thoughtless turning of the key in the ignition, and with every shrug of our shoulders when we hear about the melting arctic ice or drought in the Sahel.   It may be that God will protect us from extinction, and I believe we can trust in God’s love and a future with hope.  But stepping to the edge of the parapet and leaning over isn’t faith.  It’s no way to treat our heavenly father.  It’s no way to treat our divine mother, the giver of life and creator of the earth and the stars.  We’re called to love God, not to test him.  
         Our first scripture today, although dated in  specifics, tells us how to love.   By taking care of the land, this earth that God has given us to live on, and by caring for all God’s people upon it.   By giving thanks.  By standing with the alien among us.  By remembering the poor, the oppressed, the refugee — as God remembered our ancestors in Egypt.  So let’s follow the example of Jesus.  Let’s take ourselves off the pinnacle.  Let’s  repent from our self-destructive ways and raise our voices together.   Let’s renounce evil and its power in the world, and love God with all our heart, and mind and strength, loving our neighbors as ourselves.  Let’s fight climate change.
Rev. Cheryl Pyrch
Summit Presbyterian Church
Luke 4: 1-12
February 17, 2012

Working in unison

Become a Better Steward and Trustee of the Earth
The members of the Baha’i Faith in Harrisburg, PA held a very inspiring and educational event on February 9, 2013 as part of their “Devotionals and Firesides” series. The goal of this event was to study and reflect on the Holy Scripture of the Baha’i Faith which teaches how the universe and the earth were created. The earth was formed very similarly to the human body in that every organ and segment of it has a critically important role for the life of that creation. We also have to understand the importance of the ecological balance of nature which sustains all lives that depend on it.
Also, there were displays with pictures, graphs, and statistics showing the effects of the climate change on the earth. Another display showed examples of how we all can reuse, recycle, and make useful things with those items.
We will have another gathering to see The Hungry Tide DVD sent by Interfaith Power & Light, followed by discussion and planning for future actions and programs. 
Submitted by
Behzad Zandieh