Environmnental Ministry News

02 March 2017

Environmental Ministry Update

The goal of this article is to share information on the work and plans of Environmental Ministry. Who IS the Environmental Ministry? We are the folks who plan and participate in Environmental Ministry programs, keep you informed about upcoming environmental and climate justice events/actions, support our church environmental stewardship efforts, represent Environmental Ministry in the broader community, and staff the Environmental Ministry table on Sundays. We try to make sense of what is happening on the environmental and climate justice front and encourage all of us to take action to defend a livable future. We typically meet on the first Sunday of each month at 12:45PM in Room 208 – with exceptions due to holidays. Below is an update.

“Sacred Activism” – Environmental Ministry Program Theme for 2017

While the Trump Administration furthers the chaos and confusion of its first month, it is difficult to focus on defending the health of our Living Systems and protecting our Environment when the EPA, the key federal agency for that protection, is under comprehensive assault. How do we preserve, defend, and protect the interdependent web of life of which we are a part, when Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general, “closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and political groups with ties to the … Koch [brothers] to roll back environmental regulations,” has been confirmed to head the Environmental Protection Agency! How do we protect and defend a livable future for ourselves and our children? How do we defend the sacred?

Exploring these questions and finding answers—together—is what defines Environmental Ministry programs for 2017. In January, we discussed the Valve Turners and their Direct Action that stopped the Canadian Tar Sands from flowing to the US for a day. Despite facing felony charges that could keep them imprisoned for the rest of their lives, they showed their own “defense of the sacred” in their actions. The video, beautifully facilitated by Kathleen Dean Moore, provided the basis for our conversation about grief, fear, hope and the motivations for their actions. This video can be re-viewed here, and we have an update on the result of one trial.

Ken Ward, although unable to use the “necessity defense” (Tim DeChristopher was also prohibited from using that defense) nonetheless found that some of the jury did not believe he was guilty, so a mistrial was declared! Here is Ken’s most recent post outlining the authoritative, well-documented climate data upon which his action was based. In our Environmental Ministry news and in the Direct Action Training that will be part of our training in the next few months, we will keep you updated on the Valve Turners and their trials.

Our February 21st program, began with the film “Breath of Life,” and included a conversation about “Action,” notifications about local and national actions, discussions about “Defending the Sacred,” and a beginning introduction to “Sacred Activism.” View the trailer to the film “Breath of Life,” here. Environmental Ministry has permission to show and share both the “Breath of Life,” and “Before the Flood” (which was screened in December). In addition, if you are interested in showing either film, we can loan it to you. Contact Joan for details: .

In March, Environmental Ministry is sponsoring two programs. Our first 2017 Direct Action Training, Know Your Rights, will be presented by Pioneer Justice Center attorneys, Trent Richards, Stewart Gollan, and Monte Sleight on Friday, March 3rd at 7PM in Eliot Hall. As we plan to take action and support those who are taking action in the coming weeks, months, and years, what we learn in this workshop will serve as a solid foundation empowering us with the knowledge and skills needed to assure our rights and those of others are not violated and to stand on firm ground when they are.

The March 17th program (also at 7PM in Eliot Hall) will begin with a video on defending the sacred and will focus on Standing Rock and on how we—together--may act to defend the sacred, and not just in North Dakota. Even though the Army Corps of Engineers following Trump’s directive, has approved the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and has evicted the water protectors, the concerted effort to defend the sacred continues. The Indigenous Environmental Network: website and Facebook page continue to be invaluable resources, as is the website of the Camp of the Sacred Stone. Local representatives of PANDOS (Peaceful Advocates for Native Dialogue and Organizing Support) and the Utah League of Native American Voters (ULNAV), will serve as panelists sharing their own experiences defending the sacred at Standing Rock and here in Utah. There will be time for discussion and exploration of what it means to defend the sacred.

Sacred Activism will be the theme for our Earth Day Service at First Unitarian Church on April 23rd. Earth Day is Saturday, April 22nd. Environmental Ministry will celebrate Earth Day Sunday with the children through religious exploration on Apr 30th.

Environmental Ministry seeks to provide support, inspiration, and stability as we follow the lead of the indigenous people in defending the sacred in 2017 and for all times! Please visit our Environmental Ministry Sunday table, to catch up on the latest environmental, climate, and social justice events, training, actions, and news during these turbulent times.

  • List of Upcoming Environmental Ministry Events and Meetings
  • Fri, Mar 3rd, 7PM Know Your Rights Workshop (Eliot Hall)
  • Sun, Mar 5th, 12:45PM Environmental Ministry Planning Team Meeting (Rm 208)
  • Fri, Mar 17th, 7PM Defending the Sacred (Eliot Hall)
  • Sun, Apr 2nd, 12:45PM Environmental Ministry Planning Team Meeting (Rm 208)
  • Fri, Apr 7th, 7PM Non-Violent Direct Action Training (Eliot Hall – planning in progress)
  • Sun, Apr 23rd, 9AM & 11AM Earth Day Sunday Service - Sacred Activism (Sanctuary)
  • Sun, Apr 30th, 11AM Earth Day Religious Exploration with the Children (Little Chapel)