News Brief: Faith leaders confront Gov. Baker over climate change

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By Thursday, Mar 29 News
Faith leaders prepare to lead exodus from fossil fuels in front of the Massachusetts State House March 26. From left to right: Rev. Fred Small, minister for climate justice at Arlington Street Church in Boston; Rev. Betsy Sowers, minister for Earth justice at Old Cambridge Baptist Church;
Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, missioner for creation care for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ; Rev. Ian Mevorach, spiritual leader of Common Street Spiritual Center in Natick and coordinator for the American Baptist Churches Creation Justice Network; Rev. Dr. Lawrence Jay, executive director of Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center of the New England United Methodist Conference; Kristina Keefe-Perry, coordinator for the creation care ministries of the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts; and Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, president of the Jewish Climate Action Network. Photo courtesy Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

Faith leaders gather at Statehouse, pray for Baker to stop new fossil fuel projects

Boston — On Monday, March 26, at the beginning of Holy Week and shortly before Passover, more than 100 faith leaders and supporters representing at least 15 different Christian and Jewish faith traditions confronted Gov. Charlie Baker around his refusal to meet with them regarding their concerns about climate change. After back-to-back extreme weather events pummeling the Commonwealth this winter, faith leaders hosted an interfaith ceremony on the steps of the State House before heading inside to Baker’s office in order to renew their request for dialogue and to ask him to end his support for new fossil fuel projects.

“We are holding this event during a time of year that is a holy season for multiple faith traditions, because protecting our climate and God’s creation is one of the most important ways to practice our faith in today’s world,” said the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, missioner for creation care for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ.

The coalition of faith leaders had previously written a letter to the governor requesting a meeting to discuss the values that lead them to oppose construction of all new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Bay State. They received no response to their request and returned in order to make a more forceful request for a dialogue, and to state their willingness to prepare to lead and inspire a sustained campaign of nonviolent resistance to the ongoing expansion of fossil fuels.

After the interfaith ceremony, which highlighted frontline communities that are suffering and resisting new gas projects including groups from Sandisfield, West Roxbury, Weymouth, the Back Bay, central Massachusetts and Cape Cod, the faith leaders delivered their concerns to the governor’s door and renewed their request for dialogue.

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