Translate Page

Climate change and spiritual response: Compass 106


Listen and subscribe: Apple Podcasts / Spotify / iHeart / Amazon Music 

Rev. Richenda Fairhurst shares about the relationship between our faith, spirituality and concern for our environment. This concern compels us to respond to climate change. Rev. Richenda shares several action steps for combating climate change–both personal actions and community action.

Richenda Fairhust was trained by the Climate Reality Project and Center for Earth Ethics Ministers' Trainings, serving afterwards as a mentor and speaker. She served as a chaplain for Occupy Wall Street in NYC and journeyed to Standing Rock to participate in prayer and solidarity during the Call to Clergy in November 2016. She founded Faiths4Future in 2020, and serves as a co-organizer for Faiths4Future and the Climate Café Multifaith. Currently she serves as Steward of Creation at Circle Faith Future.

Episode Notes

Faiths 4 Future is an educational and advocacy organization. Rev. Fairhurst coordinates their Climate Cafe--a regularly recurring lunchtime online meeting. 

Related episodes

Help us spread the word

  • Tell others: friends, coworkers, and anyone else might benefit from these conversations.
  • Share us on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
  • Review us on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you download the episode. Great reviews help others find us.
  • Email our hosts Ryan Dunn and Michelle Maldonado about future topics and feedback.

More podcasts

Thank you for listening, downloading, and subscribing.

This episode posted on April 5, 2023


Michelle Maldonado (00:01):

This is the Compass Podcast, where we disrupt the every day with a glimpse of the divine. My name is Michelle Maldonado.

Ryan Dunn (00:08):

And I'm Ryan Dunn.

Michelle Maldonado (00:09):

Ryan, what do we have in store for this episode?

Ryan Dunn (00:12):

Well, April is an environmentally focused month, so we have Earth Day later this month. There's this Faith-based Climate Action Week in April. Actually, I think that's April 14th through 23rd to be more ex exact. That's, you know, a little more than a week, but we're calling a week anyway. And April is also like the realization of Spring as well. So we're just a little bit more in tuned with the outed doors during this season. So in this episode, we'll focus on the ties between our spirituality and caring for the environment. And our guest is the Reverend Richenda Fairhurst. She gives us a lot of ideas for taking action in relation to climate action and environmental care. And just so you know a little bit about Renda, she is a mentor in speaker for the Climate Action Network and the Center for Earth Ethics. She's acted as a chaplain for Occupy Wall Street and at Standing Rock, and she founded Faiths for Future in 2020 and serves as a co-organizer for Faiths for Future and The Climate Cafe Multifaith.

Michelle Maldonado (01:19):

I'm really looking forward to sharing this conversation with Reverend Rashinda Fairhurst.

Ryan Dunn (01:32):

Reverend Richenda Fairhurst, first of all, thank you so much for joining us on the Compass Podcast. And second of all, how goes it with your soul today?

Richenda Fairhurst (01:40):

Ha ha. Well, I'm actually feeling a lot of joy because I have had one of these seasonal sicknesses and beginning to feel better and remembering how how much it I enjoy entering into life when I'm not feeling sorry for myself with cough drops. So I am doing pretty darn well today, <laugh> And so yeah, it's good to be here. It's good to be having conversations and real conversations really sharing. So I plan to really share today, and I hope, I hope folks there listening you know, hear themselves somehow and and, and feel that pull that spiritual pool and their own lives, cuz I sure feel it in mine.

Ryan Dunn (02:24):

Well, good. Well, we do want to hear some of your story today, particularly around some of the climate work that you've gotten involved in and things like faiths for Future. What is Faith for Faiths for Future? And how did you start up with that? How'd you get it rolling?

Richenda Fairhurst (02:42):

So, so yeah, I actually had started a little bit of the sort of creation justice work I do while I was surveying in Southwestern Washington. And then I was reappointed into Southern Oregon and put together a, a training for faith folks here and then realized that, you know God was calling me to talk about creation justice more widely. And when you serve a parish, there's so much you have to do and really, really love serving a parish. So, don't get me wrong, it was really hard to leave, in fact. But the opportunity opened in front of me to do what I was really called to do, and that was to address climate justice, to work at that intersection. So what I did was I kind of traveled in Oregon and Washington to see is there an interest in having someone come to person's church or community and talk about climate resilience, climate adaptation, all all the things.


And it seemed like there was interest. And then the pandemic hit <laugh>. So I formed a nonprofit called Circle Faith Future in December of 2019. And then of course had to cancel engagements. And and I had to rethink, well, this call is still on my life. I'm still called to do this work. What, what am I gonna do now? And I had been trained with the Climate Reality Project. I had taken two ministers training, one at Union Seminary, and one at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. And those trainings were just absolutely fantastic. And then there are colleagues out of that and the trainings out of that. And I I just reached out to people that, colleagues from those trainings and beyond, are you interested in still doing this work? And if so, let's get a group together, <laugh>, let's get a pair together.


 What we did is we went virtual and Faith's for Future is a virtual platform. And, you know, we had the zoom account like many people do. And and what we did is we thought, okay, now we're together. What do we do? And it was we reached out towards a woman her name is Jess Pepper and she lives in Scotland. And she came up with a climate cafe idea, and I had bumped into her in some prep work for the upcoming Cop 26. And I just loved the concept. It's a very, it's very Wesley. You sit in a circle together, you're just a human together. And we talk about we talk about things that are hard to talk about. We, we form relationships, you find support there. And so the climate cafe, multi faith sport, and it's all online and we get weak people from like every state and like 16 different countries.


So there's a, there's a need for this. But it's, it's like kind of this it's this lovely little platform and speakers come. We recently had David Herring from Noah come we have had we've got a conversation about Ramadan coming up. We have talked about Ecocide. Anyway, that's, that's kind of what happened there. And it, we have lovely support from the climate reality projects, climate speakers network, and supporting the project as well. And Rachel Scott who shows up in our space. And it's just, it's just a really good way to have a conversation with people, especially if you're somewhere where you might feel a little lonely in the work. Here you have this group of colleagues and we're willing to talk about it. We're really ready, willing, rolling up our sleeves to talk about it.

Michelle Maldonado (06:31):

What was that, I'd say divine aha, moment of inspiration when you felt that this was definitely the pull towards the climate change topic.

Richenda Fairhurst (06:46):

There's this kind of like a two-parter because I have, I have this undergirded love of the creation. So when I was a little kid, we lived in the suburbs, but we lived in like the last street. And behind us was forest. It was forest, and it was the Ottawa River. And so I literally, so, you know, we joke about Gen X kids, you know, running loose, but I didn't, wasn't fully loose. I was wild range loose. Gen X are 7, 8, 9, 10 years old, running through this forest by myself with the turtles and the foxes and the birds and the frogs pulling frogs out of that scummy frog pond. Believe me, when you're eight, you don't care that the pond is covered with green scum. That's a bonus, actually, although it makes it slipperier to keep hold of that frog. And I used to stick on my pockets full of garter snakes.


There was this place I called snake Cove. Every rock you turn over was full of garter snakes, and they were the best. And they give you the bdi. I, you know, that stinkeye they try to get away. And I used to jump on top of beaver dams. The beavers hate that, by the way, but I thought it was hilarious. <Laugh>. And they come out from underneath into their little pools, and they look at you with their little nostrils sticking outta the water. And then if you're lucky, they get so mad at you, they smack the water with their tail. That's, that's a good day. That's a good day. Was that the goal <laugh> make? Probably that, yeah. Yeah. So I basically terrorized the local woodland, but it actually gave me such joy. I learned how richly alive the world was. You couldn't move a stick.


You couldn't unturn a leaf. And there was the Ottawa River, right? This huge, beautiful river, and it had all sorts of bracken and it wasn't, it wasn't manicured. It was wild. And you had to kind of be small, I guess, to get under and through. And I absolutely loved it. I absolutely loved it. And that kind of, you know, when you're a kid, you don't think, you think everybody gets that. And I, what I learned as an adult is very few people get that. And it taught me how alive the woods are, taught me how beloved the creation was, taught me, what an afterthought it was, right? Forest didn't need me, but boy did I love the forest. And and to have been blessed to be created, to be part of this life, like everlasting life. Life. When we talk about life in Jesus Christ, when we're talking about life and the creation, the hope of God, the, the filling of the spirit, we have no idea what we're talking about if we've never walked through a forest, because you feel that aliveness everywhere, where the breath of God is everywhere.


In fact, think about it this way, our atmosphere is where the breath of God is. Right? And guess what we're putting in there, right? Fossil fuel, pollution, plastics, it rains plastics as people of faith. This should never, ever even cross our mind as something that's possible that we should throw past plastics up into the domain of the Holy Spirit and have a rain down. What is nuts? But we did that and partly because lots of reasons. We can reclaim this, though. We can learn. I I'm learning, I'm learning to do better. So this is the, the part where the whole creation, justice and climate came in for me. I was a suburban mom. I raised three kids, a stay home. I used lots of plastic, for example, right? I cared about the creation, but I didn't know how bad it was until I went to that first training at Union Summit.


Mm. And at that training there, it was a minister's training, 35 ministers. It was a week. And and I learned the truth with colleagues standing next to me. Thank goodness I wasn't alone for that second day. I just, I, I went into the chapel that night. I couldn't sleep. I went into the chapel and I just, I did this wailing keening prayer. Oh, so deeply aggrieved. I'm just like, grief, grief, grief. Oh, so you have to kind of move through that. It's part of the work I do. Yes, we are gonna have to feel that, but that's not the end. We have, we have our faith, we have our hope and our light. Jesus moved through stark times. This is nothing. We got this, we just had to do it together, reach out for each other. So on the, on the flight home and, you know, flying, that's okay.


We're getting there. We're getting there. And then looking out over the clouds. And I had had, that's actually where I got my call to ministry. And this time it was like this second call, a call within a call where it was like, I knew the work of my life would be to do this. And I hoped that everybody would just find it really annoying because our effort would change things soon enough that would leave most of the people going, well, why'd you have to do that in the first place? Sadly, that's not what's happening. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. We're, we're gonna need a little bit more negative reinforcement before we get going. But yeah. And we need to be in prayer over that. I mean, I mean, to joke about that. But the truth is people are hurting from climate change and animals and the earth and the forests, <laugh>, and that we need to be in prayer around that, uplifting that into the hope that we feel and we live into

Ryan Dunn (12:09):

Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. So you went to the training and Al Gore inconvenienced you with some deep truths. Yes.

Richenda Fairhurst (12:16):

Al Al Gore was there. Oh my goodness. <Laugh> deep in my soul, a baptist, the Baptist presentation of this faith-filled slideshow at sort of truth telling. Truth telling. Truth telling.

Ryan Dunn (12:30):

Yeah. Were there some actions that you took right away in, in response? Was it like, you know, you cl like, stopped all consumption of certain goods, or what were some examples of some things that you got up to?

Richenda Fairhurst (12:43):

So I think the, the first personal step is really personal conviction. So you can go to a Marge with a bunch of friends, that's not necessarily conviction about what you're doing, knowing that this is a call on your life or a call in place or something deeply spirit like the spirit moves through your body to pull you through, right? Supporting you, calling you, working through you. So I had been concerned before this, but this is where I became deeply convicted that this is what I had to do. And God has been, you know, God, some people joke that God's such a joker. Oh God,

Ryan Dunn (13:26):

Man. Like well, there you go again.

Richenda Fairhurst (13:28):

I know. So, you know, here he puts these calls on my life. I just wanna be a hermit, go off and be holy somewhere. And, you know, then I, I'm not contributing. That would be easy. Be a mother and a grandmother. I have been married for 35 years. I, I live in the midst of life in America. And so anybody who lives in the midst of life in America and tries to be green knows that it's either inaccessible or it's too expensive, you can go off grid and start your own farm. But that's not what I was called to. I'm called to talk to people, be with people, be present with people. And so yeah. So my conviction is oftentimes just being truth about, truthful about how hard it is and encouraging and speaking out about so that personal conviction leads next to those times that you're gonna take action.


That you're gonna do something different. You're gonna say, well, now I'm really done with straws, or now I'm really done with plastic. I often challenge people with plastic because it's everywhere. I say spend a week without PR plastic. And, and I know they won't succeed <laugh>. So it's sort of mean, I guess. But the idea is that it helps us think it through and, and interact physically with our space and realize everything I have is plastic from my toothbrush to my food saving containers, to the bag that I carry my groceries whip to that sticker on my pair. It's all plastics. And I think that that awareness is what will help us. Plastic companies, by the way, they're planning on doubling their production of plastic. They're not, they're not scaling back. <Laugh> that the you think after all this time? Yeah, no, no.


And the accolade that gots filled in East Palestine and on Friday's filled in Bucks County in the in the river in Philadelphia, where they're told they can't drink the water, that's all plastic. So, so that forest that I grew up in, right? There was never an intention from the divine to pour plastic all over it. That's just not a thing. So yeah. So that's the thing is I think if we can get ahold of that in our life and realize that, that that's a starting place where hopefully we feel more convicted. But some of us have fled forest fires. I have, some of us have fled fled from floods. So there's a lot of people who are encountering this now. Yeah. So that personal conviction leads to personal action, right? And then it leads hopefully to that person wanting to testify and be a witness and be a leader to share what's on their heart, to share that conviction and to bring people along to help, to help make it better, to help restore, we're not just resurrection people, we're restoration people.


Right? Right. That's deeply, Jesus didn't just pop up again. Jesus came, was resurrected. And then the work began of all the restoration of community and goodness. And you know Jesus did such a Jesus amazing <laugh>. We tend to look down on the Bible. What? Right. I, I joke about this. Why are we always looking down at the Bible? We should be looking up at it. Those scriptures tell us so much. And, and we we're, we're really, so we have so much defenses, we're not really willing to soak that in. Well, when Jesus says, would, would a father give their child an egg or a scorpion? Jesus is saying something and saying something about what we give our child, let's say at Easter. Mm-Hmm. So here's, here's my suggestions for Easter. It's gonna be hard take, take some opportunity to do no plastic at Easter.


<Laugh>. See if you can pull that off. So now I'm choking again cuz we gotta find dears joy. God is here. We can be joyful. But it's gonna be hard. So I'm gonna tell you that ahead of time. It's gonna be hard, but let's try it. And instead of doing that plastic Easter grass dye, some recycled paper, some pretty colors shredded beautiful buy agradable, you can put it in your garden afterwards. Mm. Right? Then use like a regular basket, like a, a, a natural fiber basket. Or use a a brown paper bag. Get a couple of 'em, put 'em together, cut them so that they're low, have the children's decorate them. Right? there you go. That also can go in your garden when you're done. It's that, it's that okay to do. They sh get, give 'em seeds, give 'em some little clay pots.


Kids love things. Handmade. play-doh. There's all sorts of helps actually out there. Now and then those little plastic toys, why? So those little stuffed animals, those are polyethylene oftentimes, which is a plastic. So those little fibers, you know, when your kid hugs that plastic and you see those little in the, if the sun is coming in, he says, little fibers that's plastic getting loose in the air, that's getting in their lungs, that's getting in their bodies, in their brains. That's getting in our environment. Why would you give your child a poison scorpion instead of an egg? So this is something we have to really think about. What we are giving our children is actually mortgaging. Right. Their future health. Their future lives. Why? So they can have 10 seconds hugging a stuffed bunny made of plastic. No, let's not do that. I got, I feel like I'm talking a million miles a minute, but here's a cool thing we did keep

Ryan Dunn (18:40):

Coming. Yeah. We need it <laugh>.

Richenda Fairhurst (18:43):

So in Yeah, go ahead. Sorry.

Ryan Dunn (18:47):

Yeah. I, I'm, I'm, I'm just egging yn here, preacher. Keep it coming. <Laugh> we can egging me. I love, this is my amen. We are the amen corner. Yeah.

Richenda Fairhurst (18:55):

<Laugh>. But yeah, this is egging me on. So egg yourself on, on Easter, right? Like, cuz we're eggs. It's, it's rebirth. Right? Don't, don't, don't, don't birth those babies in plastic. Let 'em, let 'em be natural. Anyway so what we did in Camis is oftentimes we have homeless ministries in our churches and food bank building banks. So have the congregation, the grownups really right? Buy and donate wool and cotton socks. Now cotton has some problems. We're gonna just, we're trying to deal with plastic right now. So let's just focus so cotton and wolf socks in the run up to Easter. And then in your preparation, you take each pair and you make a little ball out of it. It's like Easter egg sized, right? And then the youth hide those eggs and the children find them and have the fun of the Easter hunts.


And then instead of greedy, gutting ourselves full of candy, we give that give those socks to the, the donation and get the joy of loving our neighbor and the teaching of Easter, right? Yeah. That's mm-hmm. <Affirmative> Easter's about eat as much candy as you can. Jesus did not teach that at Easter time. But we live in the suburbs again, right? I, I wrestle with this. I, here I am. I'm not, I'm not off in some Holy Hill. I'm just like here doing all the hard things that everyone else has to deal with. So this is a way of saying, I'm existing in the world as it is, and this is what I'm gonna do to live my faith in an authentic way that brings joy to folks. It's not about austerity of the puritans. We'll sit in the chair then and do nothing. Oh my goodness, what child wants that? But getting to pick up all these socks and the joy of them, that, and of giving kids, kids love to give. They're, they're natural givers. They're lovely. So anyway, that's my, that's my ideas for Easter that we can do different. But try it, try to start plastic. Just try it. I'm gonna challenge you.

Michelle Maldonado (20:54):

That's awesome. So for us grownups as we try and evaluate ways that we can challenge ourselves with being more conscientious what are some more quantitative ways that we can kind of keep track of our improvements in our everyday use of maybe plastics, for example. Because like, you know, think about the psychology of it when we see how much we use that kind of is the wake up call. So what are, what are some ways we can quantify that?

Richenda Fairhurst (21:31):

Well just not buying them. So, so it saves money and, and you find that you can like wash out a jar and use it to store food. You don't have to buy a, you know, plastic container for that. The let's see, you know, the, the reward aspect, I think in some ways there can be personal rewards of conviction, but I find that when I'm convicted to do something, oftentimes that's more of like a pull than a good job type of feeling. It's pull me towards something. And I I I would say that sometimes it feels like defeat because your experience after trying to not have plastic for Easter is to be like, my gosh, how to get to this point where everything is plastic in it. And it might be a little bit like of a bummer. And that's why conviction really matters.


Because what that's gonna do is that's gonna make you determined. You're gonna double down. You're gonna start to feel the power of your choices and your voice and your leadership, and then you're gonna be able to talk to people and you're gonna, that's gonna help you process. And pretty soon you're gonna start feeling stronger rather than defeated by the plastic. You start to feel like what your voice is is gonna matter. And you can share that with people, you can mentor people, encourage people. If you're young <laugh>, I just discovered this so I'm a Gen Xer, but my husband is a boomer and he actually introduced me to this. It's a little app called Cranky Uncle <laugh>.

Ryan Dunn (23:08):

That's awesome.

Richenda Fairhurst (23:09):

As it is. It's awesome. So I'm gonna give it a shout out. So a cranky uncle is literally as you can get us an app and it walks you through disinformation and the uncle gets crankier and cranky <laugh>. It's sort of hilarious, right? So

Ryan Dunn (23:23):

This is,

Richenda Fairhurst (23:25):

But it, it

Ryan Dunn (23:25):

Offers Michelle, I won't be available this afternoon. I'm gonna be playing with cranky Uncle <laugh>.

Richenda Fairhurst (23:29):

I'm playing with cranky uncle. Yeah. So great for youth, I would say 10 and up even. And your boomers get your boomers doing this because, you know there's a lot of older folks who wanna do something. I know there's a lot who don't seem to want to I I can't solve the problems that are bigger than me. But I could say, show up with your heart. Show up with your joy. Show up with your testimony, right? We were gathered together at Pentecost pe Pentecost is coming filled with the Holy Spirit that we could speak many languages. And those languages today might look a little different than they did then. You might need to try to figure out how to speak, you know, grouchy Latino uncle or a grouchy European a mom. But whatever language you wanna speak, your voice matters.


Your testimony and your witness matters. And you can pull that conviction right down to the center of you and share about why you care. Share about how the spirit moves you to this work. Know that the light of God is in front of you, right? I mean, what, what is it? Jesus went through the dark. We're gonna do this in Hollywood. The darkest time He confronted the scariest stuff that was out there for people of the time. Crucifixion was a terror. It was terrifying, right? And it meant all sorts of terrible things about what could happen to their soul afterwards. So Jesus not only faces crucifixion, think about it. He could have at any moment, this is Jesus we're talking about, put the cross down, walked away. Like, well, well, this is hard. I'm not doing this right. He didn't do that. He stuck it through all the aging and actually took on death itself, resurrected through cre it, it bringing together again the relationships that have been so broken and showing that there is nothing, as Paul says, nothing that can separate us from the love of God.


Not crucifixion, not this funny, phony story about how well you're gonna, you can't inherit it everlasting life if you get crucified. No, none of that is true. The the guy crucified behind him says, I will see you. I will see you in heaven. Well, what is heaven? We get the, this, look at it in Revelation is very connected with the earth, right? What, what is there? But the waters, the flowing waters, the city that shines by God's light alone, the orchards of trees, right? We did not have to be afraid. This is our trajectory. We can take on that sorrow. We can face the truth. We can say, oh my gosh, I'm just drowning in plastic and speak up and say, and I don't wanna be drowning in plastic. So I'm gonna move forward into the, this lit future, this orchard filled clean water future. And I'm gonna, that's what I'm investing in. That's what I'm gonna do, <laugh>. Yeah,

Ryan Dunn (26:19):

That's right. You know? No, that's great because I mean, that gets inspiring and a sense of urgency when we start talking about, you know, the divine plan for things. It's not to kinda lift everybody up to some alternative plane of existence, right? It is to establish something here in the creation to complete the recreation things. Mm-Hmm.

Richenda Fairhurst (26:43):

Absolutely. On earth as it is in heaven. We pray that prayer. Why, why do we think that we're gonna beam out like Star Trek? I don't understand <laugh>. We're, we're not beaming out. This is, and I don't understand it all. There, there are, you know, the, the, the wisdom handed down and read the Psalms. There's, there's layers to this that I don't know and I'm not gonna concern myself with. I'm, I'm not, I'm, I'm not God. I, I'm, I'm gonna look up to those scriptures and I'm going to draw in the Holy Spirit and I'm gonna gather around me groups who can he keep me on the path and humble and conversational so that I don't get, you know, we can get lost sometimes. So it's always really good to have your hands being held on either side by people you care about, who are gonna keep you on this earth in a good way, full of, full of joy, and remind you when you're feeling sad to be joyful. I don't know. It's, it's good work. It's good work. And I am unbelievably privileged and grateful to, to be able to do this work right now,

Ryan Dunn (27:45):

How do you see some churches or faith communities engaged in that work? Like we, we've talked about our, kind of our personal processes and practices. There are, do you see some creative ways that the, the faith community at large is, is making a difference?

Richenda Fairhurst (27:59):

So many faith communities are actually doing this better than Methodists. Okay? So we've got, and and globally there's a better understanding in among people of faith that this is a problem because we've been kind of insulated. So they have had the personal experience, <laugh> that we haven't necessarily had. I think in Methodism, we are seeing the fruit of many people over many years who really, really wanted to have this conversation, really felt the urgency of this conversation. People like Reverend Pat Watkins a and so the Earth Keepers program got started 2016. Reverend Jenny Phillips was one of the people that brought that together with Reverend Pat Watkins and also Reverend Jonathan Break is now working with un earth keepers. We have the United Methodist women who are now the United women in faith who always have my heart and appreciation, and they are amazing and wonderful.


 So we have groups within the United Methodism that have spoken out. Young people when they stay with us, speak out. And I, I wanna encourage young people to to, to, to participate in this, to help their, if it's a cranky religious uncle, especially, we need your help, right? Because this is, this is really important where it's your work, your future. You get a say, you get a say. And it's always been that young people teach older people. So that's just part of part of it. Yes. So so I've seen that work and there is now something called the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement that came out of a series of summits over a number of years, but it is online. And again, the pandemic kind of blew the doors off of this because suddenly you didn't have to travel to, to a state, particular state somewhere to talk to the people who could also manage to travel.


Now you could talk to everybody who cared, everybody who's interested, any, everybody. And we've got a worship committee and we've got an annual conference committee and they've created model resolutions for your annual conference. Model resolution I put together actually says that part of the resolution, that it is the youth and young adults of the annual conference who will pick the task force at the annual conference level to ensure there is a budget and a strategy for addressing net zero within the church. So I think we, we gotta honor young people in a way that we haven't been and give them a real voice. So anyway, that's my 2 cents again. Sorry, <laugh>. I digress. It's good. But but yeah, so it's, it's so there's really good work being done. Some churches have creation care at the center of what they do and have really been successful.


But many people struggle. There is a story I heard from a United Methodist in the Southeast and they had tried really hard to get a particular program going. I don't wanna say the program cuz I don't wanna give this person away <laugh>. But it had been something low level like recycling within the church and they they worked on it. There were some roadblocks, but they, they got those roadblocks out of the way. They got funding for it, the whole nine yards. And then the, the pastor said, well, I think we're just not gonna do it. And she was really heartbroken, like, and she said to me, she said, I should speak up, but I am afraid. And I said, can I quote you? Can I, can I tell that story? Because we need to hear, this is actually a shared experience by many people in our churches, a and clergy as well.


So our conference staffs are not staffed with people who have undertaken training, who have specialty in climate in net zero. Cuz there's lots of specialties that the church needs, right? So, so we're not gonna say one thing is bad or one thing is good, but we are gonna say that in this time of urgency where the gospel work in front of us is to restore creation. That we should probably have folks at the conference level who deeply understand this, who have 10,000 hours in this work and, and can build the kind of coalitions and open themselves to the kinds of conversations that we're really gonna need in order to move our churches into a place of resilience. Because our churches, our churches are in in it, right? Some of us are in flood zones. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, some of us are over pipelines. I mean, what?


And they're, they're stepping those pipelines full, like trying to, trying to get more pressure into 'em. Or if it leaks near you, I mean it's, I, hmm, let's not give people, let, let's let's move into a sustainable, we can do that and have a lovely life. That's the, that's the other thing too. We can do it. We can create resilience at the local church level. It's a passion of mine. That's, that's something we just have to do cuz people are good and lovely and wonderful and if we can just get to them, if we can just have these conversations be circle up, have a, have a conversation about climate, you will discover that people in every church, even grouchy, grouchy uncle, cranky uncle churches, they, they want a good life too. They want good life for their kids. They, they want, they, they miss the days where things were a little bit more peaceful. And you didn't have to worry about poison plastics being poured into your water source. They, they want that. And so it, it's a matter of brainstorming and talking together about how to bring that about.

Michelle Maldonado (33:31):

Right. So as we wrap up where can we get more information and, and more education if you will?

Richenda Fairhurst (33:41):

Oh gosh. So for, I mean, I just signed up for the, the newest Climate Reality Project training. I've taken it and been a mentor and everything because they're gonna talk about the IRA and the funding that's coming. Partly they're gonna talk about it. The funding that's gonna be coming down to help fund resilience and adaptation work at the local level. So you may need to dig new wells, you may need to dig furrows to collect land water. You may need to work with Forester to forests in your area. There's all sorts of things you may need to do. And as a local church being open for disasters, you might wanna upgrade your kitchen to be a commercial kitchen so that when the flood comes, which, you know, it came last year and it came the year before, your church is open to serve people in need and to have conversations that are important.


And so those are things that churches solar and batteries, like in my, in my area, those wires that get strong across the forest, those cause of forest fires. So you lose power, you lose everything. And then you have people who can't refrigerate their medicines and you can't, you know, I hope you have I mean it's, it's, it, it diminishes what, what you have to live with. So solar and batteries gives a sanctuary, true san what is sanctuary, true sanctuary space in the community when there is an emergency. And churches can be equipped for that and be ready for that. And they love to do that kind of work. They care about people in their community. So I would say you can go to Faith's for future. So that's just all one word with a four, a numeral four in the middle.


And it's got articles at the intersection of and video from past conversations at the intersection of faith and climate justice, creation justice. I would also say go to the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement website. Lots of information there. So that's creation Those are your two starting places. And you will find support at, at the creation And if you wanna have conversations if with your church or something like that, you reach out to me. You can find me at Renda <laugh>, which I guess you can see my name spelled there. R i c h e n d a at Circle Faith Future, all one And I'd be happy to talk with you as well. This is really good work. And do not mean dismayed for God has laid a path of brightness that shines even from God's own glory that leads us to the freshwater and the orchards. And all we need to get there is the willingness to do it and the faith to believe it's

Speaker 6 (36:21):


Ryan Dunn (36:24):

All right, we have been disrupted by looking at our spiritual call to care for the climate.

Michelle Maldonado (36:30):

Thanks for talking with us. The Compass Podcast is brought to you by United Methodist Communication if Compass Compass,

Ryan Dunn (36:40):

And again, three

Speaker 6 (36:41):

<Laugh> two.

Ryan Dunn (36:44):

All right. We have been disrupted by looking at our spiritual call to care for the environment.

Michelle Maldonado (36:50):

Thanks for talking with us. The Compass Podcast is brought to you by United Methodist Communication. If Compass is meaningful for you, check out some of our other episodes.

Ryan Dunn (37:00):

Finding the Divine in Nature with Victoria Lures is a great follow up to this one. Also, another good one I think is believing you can make a difference with Lindsay Cranks. It's just good motivation for taking on some big action items as well. And while you're listening, please leave a rating and or review.

Michelle Maldonado (37:18):

Compass comes out every other Wednesday unless we are interrupted by a holiday, in which case will hit your feed the following week. But we'll be back online within two weeks time in this case. Chat with you den.

Ryan Dunn (37:33):




United Methodist Communications is an agency of The United Methodist Church

©2023 United Methodist Communications. All Rights Reserved