Author: Shannon M.D. Smith

Excerpt from the blessing, ‘For One Who is Exhausted,’ JOHN O’DONOHUE

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come, to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.

Be excessively gentle with yourself.

JOHN O’DONOHUE

Excerpt from the blessing, ‘For One Who is Exhausted,’ from John’s books:
Benedictus (Europe) / To Bless the Space Between Us (US)

Ordering Info: https://johnodonohue.com/store

Connemara, Co. Galway / Ireland
Photo: © Ann Cahill

Three Headlines that caught our Attention during the Coronavirus spike

In a time when the United States is preparing to brace for the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and struggles to ensure emergency supplies for its citizens, there have been interesting announcements affecting civil rights, earth rights, and indigenous peoples.
BREAKING: The Bureau of Indian Affairs today told the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe that the Secretary of the Interior has ordered that their reservation be disestablished and their land be taken out of trust.

Message from the Chairman: We Will Take Action to Prevent the Loss of Our Land

At 4:00 pm today — on the very day that the United States has reached a record 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and our Tribe is desperately struggling with responding to this devastating pandemic — the Bureau of Indian Affairs informed me that the Secretary of the Interior has ordered that our reservation be disestablished and that our land be taken out of trust.  Not since the termination era of the mid-twentieth century has a Secretary taken action to disestablish a reservation.

Today’s action was cruel and it was unnecessary. The Secretary is under no court order to take our land out of trust.  He is fully aware that litigation to uphold our status as a tribe eligible for the benefits of the Indian Reorganization Act is ongoing.

It begs the question, what is driving our federal trustee’s crusade against our reservation?

Regardless of the answer, we the People of the First Light have lived here since before there was a Secretary of the Interior, since before there was a State of Massachusetts, since before the Pilgrims arrived 400 years ago.  We have survived, we will continue to survive.  These are our lands, these are the lands of our ancestors, and these will be the lands of our grandchildren.  This Administration has come and it will go.  But we will be here, always.  And we will not rest until we are treated equally with other federally recognized tribes and the status of our reservation is confirmed.

I will continue to provide updates on this important issue in the coming days as we take action to prevent the loss of our trust status.

Kutâputunumuw;

Chairman Cedric Cromwell
Qaqeemasq (Running Bear)

 

Citing virus, EPA has stopped enforcing environmental laws

The Trump administration says it will forgo a sweeping range of public health and environmental enforcement during the coronavirus outbreak

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday abruptly waived enforcement on a range of legally mandated public health and environmental protections, saying industries could have trouble complying with them during the coronavirus pandemic.

The oil and gas industry were among the industries that had sought an advance relaxation of environmental and public health enforcement during the outbreak, citing potential staffing problems. The EPA’s decision was sweeping, forgoing fines or other civil penalties for companies that failed to monitor, report or meet some other requirements for releasing hazardous pollutants.

Read More…

 

U.S. Supreme Court Rolls Back Historic Civil Rights Protections In Comcast Ruling

ECONOMIC SECURITY NEWS  03.23,20

WASHINGTON – Today the United States Supreme Court instructed a lower court to reconsider its ruling in a discrimination case involving National Association of African American Owned Media (NAAAOM) and Comcast. The decision issued by the Court weakens the reach of Section 1981, a core provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 – a historic statute that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and ethnicity when making and enforcing contracts – imposing a burdensome pleading standard on victims of discrimination.

“The Court’s decision imposes a tougher burden of proof that will likely make it more difficult for discrimination victims to invoke the protections of Section 1981 in discrimination cases,” said Kristen Clarke, president & executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This ruling weakens our nation’s oldest civil rights statute and may shut the courthouse door on some discrimination victims who, at the complaint stage, may simply be without the full range of evidence needed to meet the Court’s heightened standard. That said, the Court has ordered the district court to review its earlier decision to determine whether ESN’S claims satisfy the standard. We will be watching closely to ensure that courts give discrimination victims a fair opportunity to be heard in these cases.”

Read More…

“Holy Land, Living Water” – Convening Celebrates UN WIHW 2020

Let the Parliament of the World’s Religions take you on a journey through story, videos and photos of an interfaith pilgrimage to remember the Sacredness of Water & the power of connecting with Sacred Sites of every faith.

***

From February 1st through February 7th, on the official observance of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Parliament joined international partners for Holy Land, Living Water. Presented by Unity Earth, the United Religions Initiative (URI), and EcoPeace Middle EastHoly Land, Living Water was a historic week-long pilgrimage across the Holiest Sites of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, along a path through the Jordan River Valley, where water has played a vital role in the sustenance of the region. Its scarcity has become amplified by climate change and population growth. In addition, some of the founding stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are set along the Jordan River banks and the valley contains sites sacred to half of humanity.

This event also commemorated the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week of 2020, with nearly 100 international delegates, among them Parliament Chair Audrey Kitagawa, from a wide array of cultural and faith backgrounds coming together to share spiritual practices, values and visions of a more just, peaceful, sustainable and harmonious world.

Parliament Chair, Audrey Kitagawa, participated in a panel and gave a speech as part of the U-Nite Concert. Enjoy recordings from the gathering below.


Want to learn more about the programming, explore short summaries and enjoy images from each day of the gathering below.

Day 1

Dinner near Dead Sea

The journey began with an inspiring night of sharing, homogenizing, and messages of interfaith cooperation, hope, peace, and unity from the Chair of the Parliament of the World’s Religions Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, Rev. Deborah Moldow, Chief Phil Lane Jr. and other prominent religious leaders. This welcome dinner, hosted by Executive Director of Unity Earth Ben Bowler, took place by the Dead Sea, famous for its religious significance and numerous mentions in the Bible. It is the lowest and most mineral-rich body of water in the world. The gathering set the stage for a week of visits to the sacred sites of the Holy Land.

Day 2

Mount Nebo

The Parliament Chair and Unity Earth participants visited the sacred site of Mount Nebo, an important place of pilgrimage where Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. The group paid their respects at the commemorated site, the Memorial Church of Moses and the Siyagha (monastery).  They gathered in front of the Brazen Serpent Monument, symbolic of the bronze serpent Moses created in the wilderness and the cross Jesus was crucified. Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam and Rev. Sylvia Sumter offered blessings, prayers, and messages of hope. Banners of peace, unity, and reverence toward water were displayed.

Water Ceremony on the Dead Sea

At sunset, Dr. Mindahi Bastida Muñoz led the group in the Four Directions Water Ceremony by the Dead Sea, a Native American blessing that calls on the Four Directions (East, North, West and South). The ceremony was conducted by First Nations elders who recognize the sacredness of water, the interconnectedness of all life and the importance of protecting our water from pollution.  The ceremony on the Dead Sea was significant because of the reduced water flow.

Dead Sea Convergence

An ecology conference was held by the Dead Sea concerning the Holy Land and the Jordan River. Faith leaders from around the world discussed the intersection of faith, ecology, and the importance of water for supporting human life as well as its spiritual significance. Ben Bowler emceed the event. Yana Abu Taleb, Nada Majdalani, Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Professor Kathryn Libal, and His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi gave presentations. Gidon Bromberg moderated a diverse five-person panel of prominent faith leaders to discuss the ecological and spiritual significance of water in general and the Jordan River in particular. The panelists were the Parliament Chair, Ms. Audrey Kitagawa, Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, Rabbi Gabriel Hagai, Haji Syed Salman Chishty, and Ven. Dr. Phramaha Boonchuay Doojai.

May Peace Prevail on Earth Flag Ceremony

Various members of the group chanted for peace in a circle as they created a mosaic of flags representing all of the countries in the world.

Day 3

Al-Maghtas Baptism Site at Jordan River

The sacred Al-Maghtas Baptism Site on the Jordan River is considered the third holiest place in Christianity.  It is the official baptism site of Jesus, called Qasr al-Yahud, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. The group gathered in the pavilion near the bank of the river for a prayer for the Jordan River. Religious leaders of different faiths gave their blessing to the River. Faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Indigenous traditions blessed members of the group with the holy waters on the bank of the Jordan River.

CEE Update – Climate & Health Webinar 3/26, PM Sanna Marin and more for these times


Watch, Listen, Learn, Love



UN World Interfaith Harmony Week of 2020 – ‘Holy Land, Living Water’ 

Let the Parliament of the World’s Religions take you on a journey through story, videos and photos of an interfaith pilgrimage to remember the Sacredness of Water & the power of connecting with Sacred Sites of every faith.


World Water Day


For these times…


Rev. William Barber II – Spiritual Virtues in a Time of Viral Crisis

Columbia World Leaders Forum with Sanna Marin, moderated by Karenna Gore

This World Leaders Forum program featured an address, “The Climate Neutral Welfare Society: Is it the Model of the Future?”, by Ms. Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland followed by a question and answer session with the audience.

Introduction and Welcome by:
Alexander N. Halliday, Director, The Earth Institute

Moderated by:
Karenna Gore, Director, Center for Earth Ethics

Cosponsored by:
The Earth Institute, Columbia University and Sustainable Development Solutions Network

View the Complete Evening

***

“On March 6, 2020, Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland will speak at the World Leaders Forum at Columbia University. Her talk, which will focus on climate change, gender equality and social welfare, will include a question and answer session with students in the audience. Marin will be introduced by by Alexander N. Halliday, director of The Earth Institute, and the discussion will be moderated by Karenna Gore, director of the Center for Earth Ethics.

Marin was sworn into office in December 2019 and is the youngest head of government in her country’s history. She leads a coalition and cabinet dominated by women. She is visiting New York to attend the United Nation’s observance of International Women’s Day.”

Columbia News reached out to Marin ahead of her visit with a series of questions. Here is what she had to say.  Columbia University’s Earth Institute Blog

Night Prayer / Evening Liturgy

***

The Iona Abbey Community legacy began in 563 AD with the arrival of the Irish St. Columba (ColmCille) to the tiny island of the Western Hebrides in Scotland.  Here the historic illuminated Gospel manuscript, the Book of Kells, was written before being moved to the town of Kells, Ireland to protect the masterpiece from Viking invaders. The Abbey center continues to thrive as a place of renewal and inspiration for those seeking a closer relationship with nature with, and in service to the divine, and in service to social justice issues around the globe.

Sanna Marinin luennolle jonotettiin sateessa New Yorkissa – ”Viimeksi Jay-Z oli näin suosittu”

Originally Published March 7, 2020  – Ilta~Sanomat, Finnish with English translation available

The audience praised the Finnish Prime Minister for her standing.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s (sd) lecture on Friday caused a public outcry at Columbia University in New York.

  • Watch the video for the full performance of Sanna Marin at Columbia University.

Despite the rain, students queued up to hear the world’s youngest female Prime Minister. According to the university, the 430-seat lecture hall was quickly exhausted, and the waiting list for potential vacancies was long.

One university employee recalled that American rapper Jay-Z was the last to gain similar popularity.

Marin lectures on welfare society, sustainable development and the fight against climate change. He repeatedly received spontaneous applause from the audience during his performance.

Marin emphasized that the actions of individual people alone are not enough to solve the problem, but that political decisions are needed to combat climate change.

“Individual acts are important, but the problem is not solved by replacing plastic bags with paper bags,” the Prime Minister said, referring to the ban on plastic bags that came into effect in New York at the beginning of the month, and made the audience laugh.

Yleisö seuraa Sanna Marinin luentoa.
The audience following Sanna Marin’s lecture. Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa / Journal

The lecture received praise from the audience

At the end of the lecture, the audience applauded Marin for standing up.

– The lecture was really good and he was very inspiring, I really liked it, said 23-year-old Sayali Nagwekar .

Her friend Rachel Adeney , 29, said the same thing.

– It was really inspiring to see such a young and identifying woman in such a position.

Rachel Adeney and Sayali Nagwekar

Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa / Journal, Rachel Adeney and Sayali Nagwekar,  

More…

CEE and EDS Team Up for Earth Day 2020

Center for Earth Ethics Director Karenna Gore and Episcopal Divinity School at UTS Director Dean Kelly Brown Douglas are exploring dimensions of Interfaith and Intersectionality: where faith, social justice, racial justice and ecological justice meet.  CEE and EDS share a spirit for theological inquiry as to unmask the root causes of injustice and where systems of oppression are linked.  As we gain an understanding of the root, we are provided with insight for the solutions required for systemic and integral change.

SAVE the DATE!

The Center for Earth Ethics and Episcopal Divinity School are teaming up for an evening Interfaith Gathering on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

Wednesday April 22nd, at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

More about the work of the Center for Earth Ethics and EDS at Union to date…

Episcopal Divinity School at Union / Climate Justice with Karenna Gore

Dean Kelly Brown Douglas speaks with Karenna Gore, Director of Union’s Center for Earth Ethics. They discuss the moral dimensions of our ecological crisis, how environmental issues are playing out in the presidential primary, and Karenna’s recent New York Times op-ed.  Published September 12, 2019.

Climate Justice with Karenna Gore

Dean Kelly Brown Douglas speaks with Karenna Gore, Director of Union's Center for Earth Ethics. They discuss the moral dimensions of our ecological crisis, how environmental issues are playing out in the presidential primary, and Karenna's recent New York Times op-ed.The Center for Earth Ethics is an institute at Union Theological Seminary that envisions a world where value is measured according to the sustained well-being of all people and our planet. Learn more at their website www.centerforearthethics.org/

Posted by Episcopal Divinity School at Union on Thursday, September 12, 2019

Video and excerpted transcription here.

 

EDS at Union’s Facebook Live discussion on “Care of Creation” is on now. Dean Kelly Brown Douglas is speaking with EDS alumna the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Karenna Gore, Director of Union Theological Seminary’s Center for Earth Ethics.  Published July 10, 2018.

EDS at Union's Facebook Live discussion on "Care of Creation" is on now. Dean Kelly Brown Douglas is speaking with EDS alumna the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Karenna Gore, Director of Union Theological Seminary's Center for Earth Ethics. #GC79

Posted by Episcopal Divinity School at Union on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE PODCAST

Reflecting on the Flint Water Crisis

October 21, 2019

Last week, Dean Kelly Brown Douglas visited Flint, Michigan, to hear from water warriors, clergy, journalists, and documentarians who are seeking justice for the Flint water crisis.

In this interview, Dean Douglas shares what she learned during these conversations and reflects on her experience.