by Pam Arifian
When there’s so much work to do to create a just and sustainable world, sometimes it’s hard to feel like my individual contribution is anything more than a drop in bucket. When faced with issues of environmental racism, climate refugees, polluted waters, sometimes I doubt whether my small actions make any difference at all.
The EJC ministry helps connect our individual actions to help us realize our collective power. The ministry is rooted in the understanding that each of us is a magnificent creation of the Divine, and that each of us is bestowed with unique gifts and opportunities to contribute to the creation of a beloved community, of shalom, of heaven on earth. I am grateful to be working in this ministry because it allows me to intentionally cultivate hope and connection; connection between each other, to our common humanity and shared responsibility to care for God’s earth, and connections between the choices we make every day and the wider impacts on environmental and social justice issues.
As humans, we are integrally connected to the processes of life on this planet, and as spiritual beings and Creations of God, we are ALL (human and non-human) sacred. Interdependence means that we need each other. We are partners with each other, and with God, in the co-creation of earth, every day. We each have a role to play to help heal, support and protect our shared home and our human and non-human neighbors from damage. I am comforted and encouraged in knowing that a single action that I do is compounded by the millions of other small actions being taken around the world.
There are two events taking place this spring that I am particularly looking forward to, events that will help participants connect to the sacredness of earth and to our humanity that is dependent on the earth’s wellbeing, and to our personal and collective responsibility to take action.
The first event is the 8th Annual Water is Life Walk. Guided by Spirit, Grandmother (Uncí) Carole Bubar-Blodgett has chosen the Housatonic River to receive and share in this healing Walk. The ceremonial walk will begin at the headwaters of the Housatonic River in Washington, MA with a new moon ceremony on May 15, and will follow the river through northwest CT all the way to the Long Island Sound, with a closing ceremony on the new moon on June 13. Uncí Carole extends an invitation to “all people, all faiths, to gather like the drops of water and join us in this prayer for the Sacred Water of all life.” The Water is Life Walk is an opportunity to come together and heal the river and our connection to it, and help prevent further damage to the river and watershed. All are invited to join any portion or all of the walk, and to offer and attend film screenings and educational events along the way. She also invites engagement through financial support to help water protectors to participate, including travel costs, gas cards, food and more. The 8th Annual Water is Life Walk website offers all the details about where and when, and volunteer opportunities.
The second event is the 5th Annual Environmental Justice for All! Retreat, a signature program of the UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center, held at Silver Lake Conference Center on May 18-20. The Retreat is for high school youth, and offers a deep-dive into environmental justice issues from a faith-based perspective, balanced with lots of time outdoors at the low-ropes course and in the organic vegetable garden, in worship and at a campfire. Participants are offered the chance to “do something” with their new knowledge by reflecting on what their own passions and gifts are, and how they might be used to contribute to the creation of a just and sustainable world for all.
Thank you for all that you do to care for our common home!
Pam Arifian is Director of the Northeast Environmental Justice Center at Silver Lake Conference Center.
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