Please join PA IPL for the 4th session of our seasonal Interfaith Spiritual Care series. This session will honor the spiritual gifts with which our creator has blessed us from the natural world. The program will include interfaith prayers, meditation, and music.
These online interfaith sessions take place 4 times a year, once per season, over Zoom. The sessions will build on the theme of each season. Each event is designed to help us come together, reconnect, and seek hope as an interfaith community. Through poetry, music, meditations, and ritual, we hope to nurture each other.
“We’re regularly in the cathedral of God’s creation”
Sun shines and birds sing as PA IPL Board member Greg Williams takes us to Detwiler Park in Huntingdon, PA, one of the many locations where he has helped volunteers had made green spaces resistant to climate change through habitat restoration.
2018 and 2019 cyclists stopped there to remove invasive species and plant trees, adding to the 592 events, over 400 participants, and over 3500 person-hours of pruning, clearing, and planting nearly 2500 trees, three wildflower meadows, and over 1000 live stakes in Central Pennsylvania between November 2016 and June 2020! (You can see the live stakes in the video: they are live stick segments from ecosystem-appropriate shrubs stuck into the muck stream side, which then root and grow, protecting the banks!)
Listen to Greg’s story below, or catch his 10 minute sermon for University Mennonite Church’s zoom-based church gathering on Sunday, May 10, 2020 (the rest of the service is pretty great, too!)
Other voices from the road: Mark Smith
Mark Smith of Philadelphia drove a support car for the Philadelphia leg of the 2019 bike trip (that’s him in the little red car!). He leads the Germantown Tree Tenders, part of the work of the PA IPL – Philadelphia, and is also supported by Mark’s home church: the First United Methodist Church of Germantown. Planting and tending trees in the city of Philadelphia is a way to reduce urban heat islands, which are growing and intensifying with climate change. Read Mark’s reflections.
Two ways to DOUBLE your donation!
Feel free to mismatch your socks and your silverware, but get your donations matched while you can!
Supporters of PA IPL’s Stories from the Road Campaign have two ways to see their contributions matched. A group of generous donors has created a matching fund of up to $4,000, doubling the contribution impactof right-now givers during the August campaign.
Those who make a three-year pledge will have their first year of donation matched by an individual donor through our For the Long Haul campaign. We are immensely grateful for the generous people seeding our growing organization’s fundraising efforts.
Take Action: Make your local ecosystem climate change resistant
Here are Greg Williams’ top five ways to combat climate change through habitat restoration. Need more guidance or advice? Contact Greg to get connected to books, trees, and advice for setting up local habitat restoration projects.
1. Read one of these books on restoring native habitat by University of Delaware entomologist Douglas W. Tallamy: Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants; Nature’s Best Hope; or The Living Landscape. Or you can start with a listen to this Bringing Nature Home interview from 2013, or if you really want to get into the relationship between birds and insects and plants, try this Hope for the Wild zoo talk.
2. Reduce the size of the lawn at your home or congregation and replace it with native trees, shrubs, wildflower meadows, or food gardens. Want to know what’s growing there already? The iNaturalist app lets you submit photos of plants and animals for identification, and contribute to research on biodiversity. The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has a helpful collection of online fact sheets and photos of invasive plants and how to remove them.
3. Host a series of earth tending parties for your worship community, youth group, neighbors, or budding PA IPL chapter. (Work, Eat, Pray is one example.)
Teach participants to identify and remove invasive species, see the fruits of their labor over time, and have a conversation on the effects of global warming on the natural spaces they love. This can be done on the property of your faith community, or in a local park (with permission from park authorities!) Contact a local naturalist or extension agent for help with plant identification and removal.
4, Ask your local nursery if it sells native trees, shrubs, and flowers which support native pollinators as well as being feeding grounds for native insect larva. These Pennsylvania nurseries do carry native trees, and should be able to help you choose one for your site. The linked list is from our friends at Keystone 10 Million Trees.
5. Plant those trees! They trap and hold (sequester) a huge amount of the carbon dioxide that causes global warming, and they temper the immediate microclimates in the neighborhoods where they are planted. The Philadelphia chapter of PA IPL partners with the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s Tree Tenders program to plant trees in the Philadelphia region. Learn about their Zoom-based training in September.
If you live near central Pennsylvania, Greg Williams, who lives in Williamsburg, is distributing trees from the Keystone 10 Million Trees initiative of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which aims to plant 10 million trees in Pennsylvania by 2025. Contact him. You can also watch a recording of the November 2019 webinar for PA IPL with Keystone 10 Million Trees.
Turn to prayer
Please hold PA IPL and all who are working toward climate justice in your prayers through the week.
In 2019, PA IPL supporters “paved the cyclists’ way with prayer,” submitting original prayers, poems and artwork to express the deep faith that underlies their commitment to climate justice and care. The cyclists shared a compilation of these prayers with elected officials in Washington, as part of their advocacy conversations. Each week we are featuring a different prayer from the collection.
This week’s prayer is excerpted from a poem written in 2019 by Lynn Cashell of Congregation Beth Israel, Media PA:
God is an artist Creating majestic mountains from molten lava and magma Forming stoic woodlands and flowing grasslands; Bursting through the earth’s crust in towering geysers; Sliding down glaciers into rocky moraines.
God is a painter Brushing long flat strokes of plains and prairies; Dabbing puffy white clouds onto azure blue skies; Cascading waterfalls from mountain springs; Coloring rainbows from an unending palette of pigments.
God is a creator Sending aloft soaring bald eagles and osprey; Filling the grassland with bison, sheep and pronghorn deer, Stocking the streams with cutthroat trout and dam building beavers; Varying our sizes, shapes and colors like the landscapes that surround us; Imagining all of us – together.
Save the date— Stories from the Road Live Celebration, Sept. 1
On Sep. 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, we’ll culminate our campaign with a live zoom-based Stories from the Road Celebration, featuring live music, prayer, storytelling, and a chance to share your own stories of climate work with people throughout the state.
The event is free with a donation to PA IPL during the Stories from the Road campaign (June through August) Additional tickets can be purchased for $10. Seating is limited, so donate now!
The Philadelphia-originating riders were blessed with this travelers’ prayer, and sent of with the blast of a shofar!
Tefilat Hadereh/Traveler’s Prayer
May it be your will, Sheltering One, our God, God of our ancestors,
that you lead us on the road in peace,
and protect our footsteps,
and enable us to reach our destination,
alive and well, happy and safe.
Protect us from all harm and mishap on the road,
and grant us favor, kindness, and compassion,
in your own eyes and the eyes of all who may behold us.
May you hear our voice of prayer.
A prayer for the journey
We could say it every day
When we first leave the soft warmth of our beds
And don’t know for sure if we’ll return at night
When we get in the trains, planes and automobiles
And put our lives in the hands of many strangers.
Or when we leave our homes for a day, a week, a month or more –
Will return to a peaceful home? Untouched by fire, flood or crime?
How will our travels change us?
What gives us the courage to go through that door?
A prayer for the journey.
For the journey we take in this fragile vessel of flesh.
A finite number of years and we will reach
The unknown, where it all began.
Every life, every day, every hour is a journey.
In the travel is the discovery,
the wisdom, the joy.
Every life, every day, every hour is a journey.
In the travel is the reward,
the peace, the blessing.
There are prayers and songs from every faith tradition for giving thanks and for celebrating the harvest. Click around and find some that sing to you. Use them to express gratitude or reawaken it (we all have those days!), and on any day you wish. Links below the reprinted prayer.
This modern prayer, God of All Harvests, is slightly abridged from the original to make it more universal. It comes from Catholic Relief Services, where you can find it printed in its entirety.
God of sun and God of rain,
In you, there is no dryness.
In you, no weed chokes the root.
No blight withers the leaf.
No frost bites at the blossom.
And, so, we pray for farmers and their
In you, seeds of tears yield a bountiful harvest of joy.
May the rice farmer in Madagascar know