New London church to host climate change forum

New London — St. James Episcopal Church will host a forum titled "Reality, Hope and Action in an Age of Climate Change" at its parish hall at 76 Federal St. from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.

Admission is free, but reservations are required and can be made at https://hopeinanageofclimatechange.eventbrite.com.

The church is collaborating with the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network (IREJN) to present four speakers who are working on the issue of climate change and who will share their insights and provide advice on how others can get involved.

"The reality of climate change is all around us, as far as the eye can see," said the Rev. Ranjit Mathews, rector of St. James. "Faith communities must confront this challenge with the hope that God has given us through the Gospel. If we fail to act, generations to come should not forgive our ambivalence. The time to act is now. We at St. James are so happy to host this important panel discussion."

Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, who serves as the missioner for creation care for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. Her new book, co-edited with Leah Schade, is titled, "Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis." She also maintains a website, RevivingCreation.org.

"I speak, preach and lead retreats around the country about spiritual resilience and resistance as we build an interfaith movement to address the climate crisis," she said.

Bullitt-Jonas will be joined by panelists Juliana Barrett, coastal habitat specialist and extension educator for Connecticut Sea Grant; Jameelah Muhammad, eastern region organizing manager for the Sierra Club and board member of the IREJN; and Taylor Mayes, communications coordinator for the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs. 

Mathews will moderate the discussion and audience questions.

Teresa Eickel, executive director of the IREJN, said climate change presents a daunting challenge that people of all faiths can best confront together.

"Every faith tradition speaks about our responsibility to care for creation, which means that climate change is something that people of faith must address," she said. "However, this isn't easy work. Climate change is devastating, not just on an environmental and economic level, but on a spiritual level as well, so it is important for us to find ways to be uplifted and hopeful, so that we can continue to take action on behalf of the planet."

For information, email St. James at parishoffice@stjamesnl.org or call (860) 443-4989.

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