October 2019 Newsletter-Part 1: Embracing the Fall

Photo credit: Michael Heimlich, Flick

If you Breathe in my quiet, 
Interbreathe with all Life
Still small Voice of us all —
You will feel the Connections;
You will make the connections
And the rain will fall rightly
The grains will grow rightly
And the rivers will run
So you and all creatures
Will eat well in harmony,
Earthlings / good Earth.
— Rabbi Arthur Waskow;
Excerpt from v’haya im shemo’ad: a Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger.

See prayer in full, and in Hebrew

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Fall is finally upon us!  Leaves crunch underfoot. Mornings are crisp.  Apples and pumpkins abound.  At many of the Global Climate Strikes in Pennsylvania on those last Fridays of September, it didn’t yet feel like fall. But that visible and hopeful upwelling heard around the world was beautiful, new, and challenging—as it was meant to be.  We’ve gathered photos, videos and words you have shared with us in this blog post.  We’d love to add your pieces, particularly those  rooted in faith, or connected to the youth leadership of many gatherings across Pennsylvania. Thank you for being part of the clarion call!

October 2019 Newsletter-Part 2: Annual Conference and Meeting

NEW PLANS FOR Our Annual Conference and Meeting

For PA IPL, October has always been the time for our  statewide annual conference. This year, the conference would have fallen on the same date, and in the same city, as it did last year: Pittsburgh, on October 27th.  This is also the place and date of the first anniversary of the shooting and deaths at the Tree of Life Synagogue, where 11 people from 3 congregations lost their lives.  Rather than mounting a conference now, we are supporting this time for remembering, drawing together in community, and rejecting the anti-semitism and anti-immigrant sentiment that fueled the attack in a sacred space. 

Pittsburgh has declared October 27th “Remember Repair Together” day.  We invite you to find your own ways of remembering, repairing, and joining together on this day.  Perhaps several congregations might together adopt a park, street, streambank or other spot where people gather, and where plants and animals live, to connect with our Common Home. Clean up litter, or remove invasive plants and plant diverse and resilient ecosystem-appropriate ones. 

We will have a conference, and it will be statewide in a whole new way. 

First, mark your calendar for Sunday afternoon, February 9th. 

We will gather in person in Scranton, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh for The Long Journey: From Extracting the Past to Cultivating the Future. Our three sites will share a fantastic keynote speaker, and each will have live, locally-focused workshops. 

Do you want to be part of one of the local conference teams, or begin talking with your faith community about sponsoring the conference?  Be in touch with Cricket.  

And, join us on Sunday, November 10th at 7:00 PM, for the video conference call that will serve as our Annual Meeting (usually part of the annual conference).  We’ll announce the Visionary Award, share highlights from 2019, plans for 2020 -—including our conference— and vote in new  Board members! There is no charge for this virtual gathering, but please sign up here.

August 2019 Newsletter Part 4-Youth

This September, we have an opportunity to follow our youth.  Youth and young adults have been injecting fresh energy and youthful urgency into climate work across the globe, and they have identified September 20-27 for a Global Climate Strike. Adults are invited to support young people, holding space for their work, and following their lead.  Now is a time for your faith community to listen to youth; to hear about their hopes and concerns for the future; and to ask how they would like to be supported in their  movement. Youth who are interested in stepping out into the community to care for the shared spaces of our Common Home can tap PA IPL Board President Greg Williams’ passion and skills.  Greg has offered to assist in organizing groups in supporting resilient and balanced ecosystems by removing plants and planting diverse native plants that also support fauna like insect pollinators and birds. 

Are you an adult who has a skill to offer to youth?  Let us know!

We close with these two lines, from Kahlil Gibran’s poem On Children, so beautifully sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock.

We can strive to be like them.
Their souls dwell in a place of Tomorrow.

Additional resources:
Flash sit from Earth Holders-Earth Holder Training
Worship materials from the Unitarian Universalists

August 2019 Newsletter Part 1-Inspiration
August 2019 Newsletter Part 2-Listen
August 2019 Newsletter Part 3-Season of Creation

August 2019 Newsletter Part 3 – Season of Creation

[ image source: https://tinyurl.com/y4fphunj

For many Christian traditions, September is the Season of Creation.  2019’s theme is the Web of Life. The Season begins September 1st, and ends on October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis. You’ll find denominational resources, and a celebration guide at the website. Liturgical resources from Let All Creation Praise (the Spirit Series, Word Series, and Wisdom series) are rich and have many resources which can be lightly adapted for use in interfaith contexts, or as part of services in other religious traditions. This responsive invocation is one delightful example that Trinity Lutheran Church in State College used in their Soil Sunday celebration a few years back.

Leader: We invite the land to worship with us: 
People: wildflowers and mysterious mushrooms, swirling grasses and goldenrods. 
L: We invite the farmlands to sing with us: 
P: wheat fields, orchards, and vineyards, hay fields, gardens, and wetlands. 
L: We join with all the fauna of the fields in praising God: 
P: horses, sheep, and cattle, grass snakes and grasshoppers, eagles and crows. 
L: We invite the ground to stir deep below: 
P: life-giving microbes restoring the soil, beetles and worms preparing our food. 
L: We celebrate the song of the soil!
P: Sing, soil, sing! 

Additional Resources:
For the 2019 Season of Creation-Sisters of Mercy

August 2019 Newsletter Part 1-Inspiration
August 2019 Newsletter Part 2-Listen
August 2019 Newsletter Part 4-Youth

August 2019 Newsletter Part 2 – Listen

PA IPL’s staff and Board enrich our work with rare face-to-face time during a working retreat for two days each summer.  This year we learned with, and from, Sara Ward, the recently retired director of Ohio IPL, a state with many of the same challenges we face in Pennsylvania.

Rev. Dr. Melanie Harris

In preparation for our conversations, we were invited to listen to this powerful talk by the Rev. Dr. Melanie Harris, We invite you to do the same.  As we lean in to the work that awaits us, we hold her last words close:  “Listening is an act of justice.” Where do her words lead you?

August 2019 Newsletter Part 1-Inspiration
August 2019 Newsletter Part 3-Season of Creation
August 2019 Newsletter Part 4-Youth

August 2019 Newsletter Part 1 – Inspiration

{image source: https://tinyurl.com/yym23eed}

We survey our closed dominion until we look up in August to find comet dust flaring in the night.
This vastness, this vertiginous awareness mocking gravity on our speck of now,
wakes us with a recalibrating jolt.

Excerpt from
“Watching the Perseids”
by Isabel Rogers

The end of August is a time to move from the long days of summer to the more regular rhythms of our lives. Even when our households are not guided by the schedules of schoolchildren, communities and congregations tend to drift to the outdoors in the season of daylight, and greet each other in reunion and anticipation as September approaches.  

August 2019 Newsletter Part 2-Listen
August 2019 Newsletter Part 3-Season of Creation
August 2019 Newsletter Part 4-Youth