October 12, 2017

In the Midst of Chaos there is Love

Filed under: Peace — Joan @ 6:39 pm

Related imageThere is one image from the Las Vegas tragedy this week that does not leave me. A young man speaks of how he held the wound of a friend as terror reigned around him. In the midst of chaos—there was love.

Images of neighbor caring for neighbor in Puerto Rico come back to me in the middle of the night. I see hands offering the ultimate gift of clean water. I pray for a growth in compassion in these challenging times as I lie awake wondering about our world.

Two religious holy times of the last week offer us wisdom and echo a call to conversion and love through service. Last weekend our Jewish brothers and sisters ended the holy time from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur with reflection, fasting and turning from that which not life is giving to a deeper call to love. October 4 was the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of ecology, whose life was dedicated to a simple life of conversion and love for all creation and those who were economically poor and shunned by his society.

In this moment with so many people and creatures suffering from a warming planet and various forms of violence and intolerance, both of these holy times of the year remind us of our deeper call as humans. There is a famous book written by Murray Bodo about St. Francis of Assisi called The Journey and the Dream. There are many bits of wisdom in the poetic recounting of the life of St. Francis.  However, the Afterword, is particularly poignant for our moment as we struggle to balance lives of reflection, prayer and even contemplation in a world with so many demands and so many tragedies calling to our hearts and taking our attention. Bodo states:

Both are important, the Journey and the Dream, the coming out and the entering in.

Without the Journey the Dream is a futile entering into yourself

Where you ride a monotonous wheel that spins around YOU alone……

The Journey and the Dream are one balanced act of love

And both are realized outside the mind.

This powerful call to reflect deeply inside and then allow LOVE to act through us in service is what the young man in Las Vegas exemplified and the neighbors caring for neighbors in Puerto Rico. Ours is a prophetic time demanding faith filled responses to a warming world and a world where discrimination and violence seem to increase. Our prayer must lead us outside of ourselves to address structures that beg reform. Recently several moral calls to action garnered my attention and time. Last week I journeyed to Washington DC with Catholic Climate Covenant to lobby for a budget that does not cut EPA ability to care for water, air, land and communities. I met with our Senator’s staff advocating to not cut weatherization and low income energy funding, and to not eliminate the Environmental Justice office from the EPA and to keep funds for relocation of our Alaskan brothers and sisters being displaced by rising seas and climate change, as well as other ecological and climate justice concerns.

Several weeks ago, NMIPL was part of a host committee organizing the kickoff of Rev. William Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign: A Call for Moral Revival. New Mexico is one of 25 states where local people will be organizing folks all over the state in the spirit of Rev. Martin Luther King to address concerns of economic disparity, excess militarization, racism and environmental degradation/climate change. Actions will take place in New Mexico and across the country in late spring. For the kick off at Central United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, some 1,2000 people gathered to pray, to listen and to commit to the moral agenda so needed by our nation at this time. (More info and sign up at https://poorpeoplescampaign.org/)

As we enter into the contemplative time of fall leading to winter, may our inner dreams for the well being of all move from our minds and hearts to action and service into our communities and state. May our prayer be one taken from a modification of St. Francis’ Canticle of Creation that proclaims:

Be Praised, O Holy One, through the interconnected web of Creation,
Which binds your children, your creatures and your earth,
All that you have woven together
So all may exist in Original Goodness.
Joan Brown, osf is a Franciscan Sister from the Rochester, MN community. She lives in Albuquerque and works around the state as the Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light (NMIPL). She may be reached at joan@nm-ipl.org.

May 19, 2017

Letter from diverse faith communities on the Paris Agreement

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 2:51 pm
eiffel tower

PA IPL is pleased to be represented on this letter by the national Interfaith Power & Light network. It was sent to the President, the Administrator of the EPA, the Secretary of State, and several other national leaders.

Published Online by Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

http://paipl.us/2017/05/10/letter-from-diverse-faith-communities-on-the-paris-agreement/

May 9, 2017

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As members of a coalition of diverse faith traditions, we are united across theological lines and called by our commitment to care for all of God’s creation and to stand with vulnerable communities, both across the world as well as right here in the United States. Included in our coalition are many faith organizations that provide direct accompaniment, technical support and post-disaster relief to frontline communities everywhere. These communities daily face the devastating impacts of dramatically changing weather patterns. Climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest communities; our faith traditions compel us to bear prophetic witness to their suffering.

It is in keeping with our deeply held religious values that we write to urge that the United States remains a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement and fulfills our commitments under that agreement.

As people of faith, we believe that we have a responsibility to be caretakers of Divine creation – to preserve our ecosystems for future generations and to ensure the human dignity and worth of all people. The ongoing climate crisis places a disproportionate burden on women and children, communities of color, low-income communities, and tribal nations both in the United States and globally.

Weather events such as hurricanes, floods, and drought can create great instability for individuals, families, and entire nations. It can mean losing their livelihoods, incomes, homes and land. It can also lead to an increase in conflict, hunger, disease, displacement, and human trafficking.

Many people in the United States live at or below the poverty line, including members of our own congregations. The Paris Agreement is a historic pact that will not only protect vulnerable populations, but benefit the United States’ economy and society. It will reduce carbon emissions, result in long-term energy savings, and foster growth and job creation in the emerging alternative energy market. Efforts to address climate change are, at their core, efforts to protect all of earth’s inhabitants, especially poor and vulnerable communities.

There are also broad international consequences to exiting the Paris Agreement or failing to meet domestic reduction goals. If the United States withdraws from the agreement or halts all efforts to reduce carbon emissions, we will face diplomatic ramifications that could undercut cooperation on other global efforts that are in the interests of the United States. Exiting the agreement would send the message that the United States cannot be trusted as a leader and partner in global affairs.

The need for global leadership could not be more urgent. We believe that the United States can and must play a leadership role in addressing the environmental challenges which threaten our planet, our security, the health of our families, and the fate of communities throughout the world.

For these reasons, we join together to urge you, as the President of the United States, to remain in the Paris Agreement and to meet our commitments in that agreement. The Paris Agreement will safeguard God’s creation, protect the vulnerable, address the impacts of climate change and fulfill our moral obligation to future generations.

Sincerely,

American Jewish World Service
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Columbian Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Church World Service
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Interfaith Power & Light
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
New Evangelical Partnership
Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team
UUSC: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth
Unitarian Universalist Association
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

CC: The Honorable Rex Tillerson
The Honorable Scott Pruitt
The Honorable Wilbur Ross
The Honorable Steve Mnuchin
The Honorable Bob Corker
The Honorable Ben Cardin

Senate vote to keep sensible BLM methane rule supports health and communities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 2:35 pm

Sr. Joan Brown,osf, Executive Director New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light

The Senate, in a vote 51 to 49, chose Wednesday to protect public health, be good stewards of creation and act for the common good by preserving the BLM methane rule that curbs waste from oil and gas production.

The vote reflects the will of the public, which launched a massive effort to keep the common-sense rule on the books. Supported by 81 percent of Westerners, the rule was developed over nearly a decade and went through extensive gathering of input from industry, tribes, public and people of faith.

“Reducing methane waste is good stewardship and cares for sacred creation. Royalties from captured methane can now be used in New Mexico for our schools,” said Sister Joan Brown, Executive Director of New Mexico Power and Light. “The ethical and moral leadership shown by members of the Senate proclaims a strong stand for the health and well-being of communities.”

Similar regulations at the state level have proven successful in Colorado without harming the economy. Public Lands are held in trust for all people. Requiring oil and gas companies on public land to repair leaky infrastructure and waste less methane through venting and flaring could earn taxpayers $800 million in royalties over the next decade and capture enough methane to power 740,000 households every year.

In addition, leaked methane transports volatile organic compounds, benzene, asthma irritants, and carcinogens to people’s lungs, creating major health problems near oil and gas development. Leaked methane also exacerbates climate change, with methane more than 80 times as potent as carbon dioxide. The rule will assist in reducing the large methane cloud over the Four Corners region.

Today’s vote reaffirms the extensive efforts of a broad coalition of groups including tribal communities, public health organizations, sportsmen, environmentalists, public lands advocates, the faith community, and more. In particular, New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall deserves recognition for his role as a strong champion of the methane waste rule, as does Sen. Martin Heinrich. Thank you also to Sen. Michael Bennet and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp who faced strong pressure to repeal the rule. Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain showed integrity through life affirming leadership. Every Senate Democrat and three Republicans voted in favor of keeping the BLM methane rule.

December 21, 2016

‘Water, We Love You, We Thank You, We Respect You’

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 6:34 pm

Water, we love you.
We thank you.
We respect you.
NMIPL collected about 100 names that were added to a faith leader letter of support for Standing Rock and NMIPL was a national organizational signer on and earlier Faith Organization Solidarity Letter. Todd Wynward, Board Member from Taos has been doing solidarity work with local organizations in Taos that include collecting and sending needed supplies and in conjunction with ABQ Mennonite Church.

‘Water, We Love You, We Thank You, We Respect You’Nibi (Water) Song was written by Doreen Day at the request of her grandson. She attended a conference about the water in which the internationally known speaker, Dr. Masaru Emoto said, the very least we should do every day, is to speak to the water.  Listen to the song, which is a prayer and a lullaby honoring water.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in mid-November, Grandmother Nancy Andry an elder of French and Algonquin heritage, led prayers on the shores of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque for the healing of New Mexico waters. She incorporated the Nibi Song into her prayers. New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light sponsored the gathering.

Grandmother Nancy is a Sundancer and Sacred Pipe carrier.  As an acknowledged Elder and Grandmother in her communities in Canada, she was given instruction to bring out and share certain teachings. .

Solidarity with Standing Rock
The prayers on that Sunday, November 13, were also offered in solidarity with activists from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who are opposing the construction of a pipeline through their reservation.

Two weeks later, on Nov. 26, hundreds of people gathered at the front lines of to pray with the water, the earth, and a global community of supporters in over 1,000 location around the world

Several people from Albuquerque particpated in the Nov. 26 prayer  and others are on the way to North Dakota for the next big gathering,  which will take place this Sunday, Dec. 4, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time, 9:00 a.m. Mountain Time  This is a global synchronized prayer, so you don’t have to be at the site to participate. Register here to gain access to the live broadcasts.  Participants will observe 30 minutes of silence followed by 30 minutes of prayer.  “This is a stand for our water, our earth, and our grandchildren,” said organizers.

If you prefer to attend a local event, the Southwest Organizing Project and Frank Quintana from Blessed Oscar Romero Catholic Community are hosting Standing with Standing Rock on Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

(All photos courtesy of  Joan Brown, OSF)

 

November 14, 2016

One Earth, One Home, One Table: A World Food Day Celebration

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 7:46 pm

Join Us
 This event was co-sponsored by New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light and Interfaith Hunger Coalition.
Article photos courtesy of Carlos Navarro.

 One Earth, One Home, One Table: A World Food Day Celebration

Illustration by Brittany Sedillo


Open our hearts that all may find refuge;
Open our hands that all may be fed;Open our eyes that all may seeThe oneness of Earth’s familyEconomic justice, immigration/refugees and climate change were the three central themes of our World Food Day commemoration in Albuquerque on Sunday, October 16. The three issues were reflected in the title of our celebration, “One Earth, One Home, One Table,” and in the song that David Poole, the talented director at La Mesa Presbyterian Church, wrote for the occasion. In this video, David Poole teaches the song to the more than 150 people who attended the celebration.

 

 


The song also guided the steps of the participants as we moved into the sanctuary at First Unitarian Church, led by Keri Sutter and other members of the sacred dance company Surgite as well as a group of volunteer liturgical dancers. The liturgical dance team also led the congregation after some of the prayers in the sanctuary.

World Food Day 2016 happened to coincide with the beginning of the Jewish feast of Sukkot. which celebrates the harvest.  Rabbi Min Kantrowitz started us outside with a Sukkot prayer and a poem.

(The outside portion of our service also included a Lakota prayer and a reflection and song from Michael Abeita from Isleta Pueblo. We will post that later, along with other videos from other faith groups who participated during the portion of the service in the sanctuary).

God Bless Our Bread

God bless to us our bread,
And give bread to all those who are hungry
And hunger for justice to those who are fed.
God bless to us our bread.
A meal blessing from Latin America

Before we sat down to a delicious langar prepared by the Albuquerque Sikh Gudwara, a multigenerational choir sang God Bless to Us Our Bread, a hymn from Latin America. The langar was the culmination of an inspiring World Food Day Service on October 16.  (More about the langar in a separate post).

At the start of the service, the choir also sang “Bread to Share” by Marty Haugen.
Plenty of bread at the feast of life, plenty of bread to share…”


More videos from the World Food Day Interfaith Service to be posted in coming days.

The Langar: We are Equals as We Sit Down to Share a Meal

Langar means common kitchen in temples where food is served to all visitors without distinction of background for free. While the act of sharing nourishment is important in the langar, hospitality is more important. As opposed to a soup kitchen where one group serves another, the langar ensures participants sit down to a meal as equals, Kulwant Kaur, a local leader of the Albuquerque Sikh Budwara told me in a conversation.

As the langar served as an important unifying act for 7,000 people in Salt Lake City in 2015,  the langar at the World Food Day interfaith service in 2016 helped bring  the faith community in Albuquerque together.

The langar is just one of the ways in which the Sikh community enhanced our World Food Day commemoration. During the service in the sanctuary, Shawn Singh Sidhu and a group of Sikh faithful chanted a traditional hymn. Here are the words in English: Night and day, dawn and dusk, I sing to You,..All beings, all creation celebrate and meditate on Your Name…You are the Giver of bounties; we eat what You give us in the company of your devotees we wash away our sins…Your minion Nanak is a sacrifice, a sacrifice unto You.  

Economic Justice and Traditional Hindu and Christian Blessings

God sleeps in stones, breathes in plants, dreams in animals, and awakens in human beings.   Hindu Saying

Rev. Sylvia Miller-Mutia, Swami Omkara, Rev. Deborah Hill

We chose three themes to highlight the World Food Day commemoration in Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon, October 16, 2016.  We observed the occasion with songs, a shared meal and prayers.

Two faith communities prepared prayers around each of the themes of economic justice (Hindu-Protestant), immigration and refugees (Baha’i-Buddhist), and climate change (Roman Catholic-Muslim). The actual prayers do not necessarily have a direct connection with the theme, which is presented at the beginning of each set of reflections. Here is the economic justice prayer prepared by Joan Brown, OSF, and led by Rev. Sylvia Miller-Mutia, followed by the first of the three reflections.

Reflection and Prayer upon food/hunger and economic justice

Leader: Our spiritual traditions call us to measure economy through the lens of justice for the dignity of human life and workers considering economic equity and fairness. Economic decisions have moral impacts upon all in the family of life and upon our Sacred Earth community. May we have the courage to uncover and face economic injustice and work for equity and fairness.

All Open our eyes, ears, and hands to act in love and justice as we walk in solidarity with those who are hungry and those who hunger for justice.


Hindu Food  Prayer
Rev. Swami Omkara,
Independent Swami and Director of Trinity House Catholic Worker

Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir
Brahmagnau Brahmanaahutam
Brahmaiva Tena Ghantavyam
Brahmakarma Samadhina

Translation:
The act of offering is God, the oblation is God 
By God it is offered into the Fire of God 
God is That which is to be attained by him 
who performs action pertaining to God

Om shanti, shanti, shanti–Peace, peace, peace

Christian Prayer:
Rev. Deborah Hill, 
Associate Clergy, Grant Chapel AME Church
God is Great, God is Good; 
Let us thank God for our food. 
By God’s hands we all are fed, 
Give us Lord Our Daily Bread. Amen

The Light of Boundless Love

Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, color or shade of political opinion. Heaven will support you while you work in this ingathering of the scattered peoples of the world beneath the shadow of the almighty tent of unity.Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks

We chose three themes to highlight the World Food Day commemoration in Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon, October 16, 2016.  We observed the occasion with songs, a shared meal and prayers.

Two faith communities prepared prayers around each of the themes of economic justice (Hindu-Protestant), immigration and refugees (Baha’i-Buddhist), and climate change (Roman Catholic-Muslim). The actual prayers do not necessarily have a direct connection with the theme, which is presented at the beginning of each set of reflections. Here is the economic justice prayer prepared by Joan Brown, OSF, and led by Rev. Sylvia Miller-Mutia, followed by the second of the three reflections.

Reflection and Prayer upon food/hunger and Immigration/refugees

Leader: Our journey through life is long and hard. We cannot make this trip alone; we must walk together on the journey. May we have outstretched arms to welcome those who are refugees and immigrants in our communities and land. May we work to address the deep structural issues of violence, environment, and poverty that cause people to leave their beloved homelands for new and unknown lands where they are strangers.

All : Open our eyes, ears, and hands to act in love and justice as we walk in solidarity with those who are hungry and those who hunger for justice.

Sohana Akhand, Sally Moore, Kalillany Hall

Baha’i Prayer
(Kailany Hall, Costa Rica, Albuquerque Baha’i Community)
O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence. O God! Thou art kind to all, Thou hast provided for all, dost shelter all, conferrest life upon all. Thou hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties, and all are submerged in the Ocean of Thy Mercy. O Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony. O God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind. O God! Establish the Most Great Peace. Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together. O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance. Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence. Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind. — ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Buddhist Prayer

(Sally Moore, Tibetan Budhhist Temple, Copper Mountain Institute)
This food is a gift of the whole universe, the earth, the sky, many living beings, and much hard work,. May we eat it in mindfulness and gratitude to worthy to receive it. May we transform our unskillful states of mind, and learn to eat in moderation. May we take only foods that noursih us, and keep our planet healthy. We accept this food to help us realize our path of understanding and love.

O Ye Rich Ones on Earth”:
Sohana Akhand, Bangladesh, Albuquerque Baha’i Community
The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.” –Bahá’u’lláh Let all be united in this Divine power of love! Let all strive to grow in the light of the Sun of Truth, and reflecting this luminous love on all men, may their hearts become so united that they may dwell evermore in the radiance of the limitless love…When you love a member of your family or a compatriot, let it be with a ray of the Infinite Love! Let it be in God, and for God! Wherever you find the attributes of God love that person, whether he be of your family or of another. Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, color or shade of political opinion. Heaven will support you while you work in this ingathering of the scattered peoples of the world beneath the shadow of the almighty tent of unity.Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks 

 A Responsibility to Establish Good

We recognize that we are but a miniscule part of the divine order, yet within that order, we are exceptionally powerful beings, and have the responsibility to establish good and avert evil in every way we can. We also recognize that –We are but one of the multitude of living beings with whom we share the Earth;We have no right to oppress the rest of creation or cause it harm; Intelligence and conscience behoove us, as our faith commands, to treat all things with care and awe (taqwa) of their Creator, compassion (rahmah) and utmost good (ihsan).Islamic Declaration on Climate Change

We chose three themes to highlight the World Food Day commemoration in Albuquerque on Sunday afternoon, October 16, 2016.  We observed the occasion with songs, a shared meal and prayers.

Two faith communities prepared prayers around each of the themes of economic justice (Hindu-Protestant), immigration and refugees (Baha’i-Buddhist), and climate change (Roman Catholic-Muslim). The actual prayers do not necessarily have a direct connection with the theme, which is presented at the beginning of each set of reflections. Here is the climate change prayer prepared by Joan Brown, OSF, and led by Rev. Sylvia Miller-Mutia, followed by the second of the three reflections.

Reflection and Prayer upon food/hunger and Climate Change

Leader: Creative and holy Love brought forth this awesome garden of life that we share, and yet, our eyes are blinded to the gifts. Our lifestyles of unconscious overconsumption lead us to be separated from the beauty and wonder around us. Climate Change is changing our world and causing many to suffer. May we come to know the challenging invitation of this moment that calls each of us to have a climate change of heart and soul to inspire profound action for life.

All: Open our eyes, ears, and hands to act in love and justice as we walk in solidarity with those who are hungry and those who hunger for justice.

The part of the service opened with The Cry of the Poor, a song composed by John Foley, a Jesuit. Meg Aschroft, a Norbetine oblate at Santa Maria de la Vid Norbertine Abbey, composed verses appropriate to our theme on World Food Day. Sarah Muhammad from the Islamic Center of New Mexico followed with two readings. Nada Abdel Hack, also from the Islamic Center of New Mexico, followed with a reflection. Finally, Patrick O’Meara from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church read two excerpts from Laudato Si, the encyclical letter on the environment that Pope Francis published in May 2015.

(Note: This video becomes vertical when you click play)

The Cry of the Poor: (led by Meg Ashcroft, O.Praem.Obl.)
Music and refrain copyright 1978, 1991, John B. Foley, S.J., and OCP. All rights reserved.

Refrain: The Lord hears the cry of the poor, Blessed be the Lord. 

Verses: Will we see the face of God in the plight of the hungry and the poor, threatened by drought and rising tides, hoping to live in peace on Earth. 

When we respect creation as blessed, and see all God made as good, we’ll receive grace to help restore Nature’s beauty and vitality.

As disciples of God’s loving care, and stewards of desert, sea and air, we are called to safeguard God’s gift that all may have enough to live.

Sarah Muhammad

Readings from the Q’uran: Sarah Muhammad, Islamic Center

Surah 9:12-16
And what can make you know what is [breaking through] the difficult pass?
It is the freeing of a slave
Or feeding on a day of severe hunger
An orphan of near relationship
Or a needy person in misery

Surah 6:99
And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees – of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Reflection on the words of the Prophet 
Nada Abdel Hack Islamic Center

One day A Bedouin came to the Prophet (Pbuh) and said to him, “O, Messenger of Allah! I’ve come to ask you a few questions about the affairs of this life and the Hereafter.” The Prophet responded “Ask what you wish!”

The Bedouin said, “I’d like to be the most learned of men.”…The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Fear Allah, and you will be the most learned of men.”…The Bedouin said, “I wish to be the richest man in the world.”…The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Be contented, and you will be the richest man in the world.”…The Bedouin said, “I’d like to be the most just man.”…The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Desire for others what you desire for yourself, and you will be the most just of men.”…The Bedouin said, “I want to be the best of men.”…The Prophet Muhammad answered, “Do good to others and you will be the best of men.”   Here is a link to the full text

Quotes from Pope Francis from Laudato Si
Patrick O’Meara, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Climate change disproportionately affects the poor. Climate change’s worst impact, Pope Francis says, “will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to (global) warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.” This environmental inequality creates a strange economic phenomenon: Poor countries are often financially indebted to rich countries. The world has what Pope Francis calls a “social debt towards the poor … because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.”

Living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience. (Laudato Si, Chapter 6, paragraph 217) Chant sung by all: Open our hearts that all may be fed….

A Lakota Prayer for the Well-Being of Humanity

Our Interfaith World Food Day service in Albuquerque started with a Lakota prayer led by Matthew Shoulders. He later joined with Michael Abeita of Isleta Pueblo in the singing of a traditional blessing. The Native American prayers preceded a blessing by Rabbi Min Kantrowitz on the first day of Sukkot, the Jewish feast celebrating the harvest. Participants processed to the santuary to experience prayers, reflections and songs from the Sikh, Buddhist-Bahai, Hindu-Protestant, and Catholic-Muslim traditions.

November 9, 2016

Showing up for Mother Earth when so much seems hopeless

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 7:30 pm

by Joan Brown Joan Brown, OSF
Oct. 31, 2016

squash2

Butternut squash beneath some flowers. (Joan Brown)

Several weeks ago I had one of those bad days. Or, maybe it was an accumulation of a number of bad moments and days accumulated throughout a long, hot summer. Difficult moments that continue to sit in the pit of one’s stomach even after prayer or meditation.

My bad day set in after an important meeting that did not end real well. The meeting addressed clean-up of a contaminated site at Los Alamos National Labs (LANL). The lab site was established in 1943 to implement the Manhattan project whose sole objective was to create a nuclear bomb.
LANL creates nuclear weapons along with decades of contamination that threatens the air, land and water of those downstream, including Santa Clara and San Ildefonso Pueblos. My sisters from the Pueblos, Amigos Bravos and Concerned Citizens, who are part of the citizen watch dog group Communities for Clean Water, accompanied me. We met with officials of the Department of Energy, LANL, New Mexico Environment Department and others who said they had no power to address some of our concerns for health of communities and Mother Earth.

The meeting did not meet expectations for clean-up. It was just another event in a hot summer of bad news. Scientists wrote reports about unprecedented heating of the planet. The Arctic Circle will offer ice-free passage to ships in the summer of 2017. We saw historic records of refugees reaching 65 million, a “multiplier effect.” Many people faced droughts, lack of water, destroyed crops and then ensuing civil unrest that set them to flight from their beloved homelands.
Temperatures keep climbing with August capping a 16-month streak of record hot months. September is usually the month of lowest parts per million (ppm) of CO2 because the trees in the Northern Hemisphere are in fullness. However, this September we are at 401 ppm. Katharine Hayhoe, atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech University said that while this shift may not seem significant it marks a threshold. “As a human, though, passing both the 400 ppm and (potentially) the 1°C threshold within such a short time period makes it clear we are already living in a different world. We have blown past targets that were being considered as viable when I entered graduate school. We have significantly reduced the options available to us in the future.”

squash

Zucchini squash. (Joan Brown)

Presidential candidates either spoke little about the crisis or denied the existence of climate change. The prophetic voice of faith leaders did not jar through the silence even with the ink still wet on the papal encyclical “Laudato Sí: On Care of Our Common Home.”
There is much that can lead to depression, even for a person rooted in spiritual practice and realistic hope. So, for a few days I wandered listless and then I decided to write a poem. Sometimes the creative act, which is a prayer in itself, touches the holy and unpredictable voice of mystery freeing the spirit, body and mind to continue our necessary work for all that we are called to Love.
In case you have felt a little depressed and wandering in the past months, I share this poem.

 

 

 

Showing Up
For hours, days, even months
in this high desert place
the storm has been brewing
steeping water in midnight blue-gray bellied clouds
pulsing a life of their own,
tempting, thundering, retreating,
leaving sultry night after night,
breath abated
once again.
One Saturday evening
I walk my usual path.
Clouds hover overhead.
Lightning warns,
pierces, slices a pregnant sky,
slits cloud skin like a watermelon rind-
spits tentative heavy seed drops
that multiply rapidly,
break birth waters into
torrents of rain.
I watch, amazed, expectant, relieved.
The roof leaks drops of water onto the kitchen tile floor.
Mysterious tears flow from some deep place within.
My eyes transfix on the storm outside.
A deluge drowns the garden.
Zucchini cower beneath large umbrella leaves.
Tomatoes, beans, basil, kale, and lettuce
wonder whether to rejoice,
recoil in fear
or run — flee as refugees,
if only they could.
But no place is safe now
from drought or storm
or unprecedented weather events that beat consistently
upon the door of Our Common Home.
There is no new land to escape to.
There is no over there.
There is only here.
There is only this one precious place
where I can
scoop soil in my hands
smell earthy microbial life
squirming by the billions between my fleshy fingers.
There is only one sky where the loud kleer
of the red-shafted flicker announces
her landing on the hummingbird feeder
to feast upon little black ants.
There is only one Garden of Eden
where I a 60 year-old woman can
pluck mint leaves, figs, and plums
to share with my wide-eyed-three-year old friend, Mateo.
I stand in humble wonder.
Wonder at the immensity 2 small degrees temperature rise
makes in our changing climate
and imprints upon our souls.
Sunday dawns fresh breezes.
They breath in and out through my lace bedroom curtains.
I wake, walk, sit amidst
green pulsing vegetables.
My eyes meet the gaze of yellow orange squash blossoms.
Our eyes wink,
nod knowingly—
this morning after.
There will be many more nights, storms and sunrises.
Together
the squash, flickers, ants,
neighbors down the street,
sisters in Bangladesh,
brothers in San Salvador,
and I
will eat the stories of the storms
together.
We will digest the sorrow and beauty
again and again
showing up,
praying,
working.
What else can we do
but
Love the world as deeply as we can?

What Christians Can Learn From Standing Rock

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 7:21 pm

What Christians Can Learn From Standing Rock

todd-walkerBy Todd Wynward 10-17-2016 first published at Sojouners

Read the entire article here: https://sojo.net/articles/what-christians-can-learn-standing-rock

 

September 19, 2016

Santa Fe Among State Capitals to Hold Rally on National Moral Day of Action

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 7:00 pm

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Originaly posted by Bread New Mexico Blog @ http://breadnm.blogspot.com/2016/09/santa-fe-among-state-capitals-to-hold.html
Bread New Mexico Blog: Santa Fe Among State Capitals to Hold Rally on National Moral Day of Action

Rev. William Lyons (photo Kay Huggins)

On Monday, September 12, more than 70 people gathered at the Roundhouse in Santa Fe to urge the New Mexico State Legislature, Gov. Susana Martinez and candidates for office to emphasize that our budget is a moral document and should give a priority to the needs of the disenfranchised in communities around the state.

The group in Santa Fe joined coalitions in Boston; Washington, D.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; Springfield, Ill.;Madison, Wis.; Carson City, Nev., and dozens of other state capitals for the National Moral Day of Action to advance a moral public policy agenda that responds to the urgent needs of the poor, people who are ill, children, immigrants, communities of color, and religious minorities.

The groups that gathered on that Monday were all part of fusion coalitions created with the help of Rev. William Barber, founder of the Forward Together Moral Movement and president of the NAACP chapter in North Carolina. Rev. Barber came to Albuquerque in June to help facilitate conversations around the creation of a fusion coalition in New Mexico.

 

 

 

(Photo: Kay Huggins)

Diverse Group of Clergy in Santa Fe
The rally in Santa Fe was sponsored by Interfaith Worker Justice-New Mexico, the New Mexico Conference of Churches (NMCC), New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light and the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-New Mexico. More than two dozen other organizations, including Bread New Mexico, endorsed the event.

 

The rally included a diverse group of clergy from around the state, touching on many of the issues that affect New Mexico. According to Rev. Kay Huggins, interim executive director of the NMCC, the more than 70 people who gathered at the Roundhouse included 40 ordained members of the faith community, representing the United Methodist Church, Disciples of Christ, Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church USA, Metropolitan Community Church, and Mennonite Church.

Rev. William Lyons, Southwest Conference Minister for the United Church of Christ, was the opening speaker. Others who joined in were Rev. Dr. Keith Wilkes of Portales (Democracy and Voting Rights), Rev. Steve Wiard of Taos & Rev. David Rogers of Carlsbad (Poverty and Economic Justice), Rev. Dr. Holly Beaumont of Santa Fe (Workers Rights), Father Richard Murphy of Santa Fe (Education), Rev. Lorelei Kay of Gallup (Healthcare), Rev. Chan Osborn de Anaya of Navajoland & Farmington (Environmental Justice), Rev. Antonio Aja of Santa Fe (Immigrants’ Rights and Xenofobia), Rev. Steve Voris of Carlsbad (Criminal Justice), Rev. Judith Maynard of Albuquerque ( LGBTQ Rights) and Rev. Todd Wynward of Taos (War Mongering and the Military). KRWG TV/FM had a nice write-up ahead of the rally.

 

Faith leaders call on oil and gas to drop opposition to venting and flaring rules

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 6:37 pm

Faith leaders call on oil and gas to drop opposition to venting and flaring rules

Original posted at http://nmpolitics.net/index/2016/09/faith-leaders-call-on-oil-and-gas-to-drop-opposition-to-venting-and-flaring-rules/

Joan Brown, OSFBy Sister Joan Brown | September 7, 2016

COMMENTARY: Dozens of western faith leaders and socially responsible investment firms recently joined together in a letter calling on oil and gas lobby groups to drop their opposition to Bureau of Land Management rules, which aim to reduce natural gas waste on public lands.

 

For faithful citizens, support of the BLM rules is a matter of stewardship of creation and care for our brothers, sisters and future generations. Each year, $330 million worth of natural gas is wasted from venting, flaring, and leaks from equipment on public and tribal lands throughout the West. Furthermore, no royalties are assessed on the wasted gas, which amounts to tens of millions dollars more in lost revenue for Western States.

Many Western states are facing budget crises, too. Oil and gas revenue-based states like New Mexico, Wyoming, and North Dakota have cut vital social programs, decreased public education funding, and proposed tax hikes to fill their budget deficits after oil and gas commodity prices plunged over the past year.

One solution is to look to the tens of millions of dollars in available revenue by simply reducing natural gas waste on public lands.

It is our moral responsibility and duty to cultivate and conserve the gifts of God’s creation in a sustainable way – including natural gas. We must ensure our future generations can continue to benefit from God’s abundant gifts while protecting health.

Our letter comes on the heels of a ground-breaking NASA study, which found oil and gas facilities were a significant contributor of emissions that have resulted in a methane cloud the size of Delaware hovering over the Four Corners region. Of the 250 individual sources NASA evaluated, just 10 percent were responsible for more than 50 percent of all the observed emissions in the San Juan Basin. Most of these were oil and gas facilities.

The good news is this is an easy and cheap problem to solve. We have low-cost technology that cuts natural gas waste for oil and gas operators for pennies on the dollar. That’s why we are encouraging the oil and gas lobby groups to join us in supporting the BLM natural gas waste rule, rather than working against those of us who live in the West.

The Right Reverend David E. Bailey of Episcopal Bishop for the Navajoland Area Mission has underscored the importance of acting to cut natural gas waste and pollution from tribal lands.

“We all have a moral obligation to be responsible in protecting the land, air, and water, and that includes oil and gas companies that operate on tribal lands in New Mexico,” said Rv. Bailey. “As people, God gifts us with human intelligence and wisdom to create a world that can be shared by future generations. This includes common sense rules to cut methane waste from oil and gas operations and help ensure that we are good stewards of our natural resources and the health of the Navajo people.”

We encourage western oil and gas stakeholders to work with us and support the BLM’s natural gas waste rule. It’s in the interest of preserving God’s gift of clean air, better stewardship of our public tax dollars, and ensuring the long-term health of both the oil and gas industry and our Western economies and tribal communities.

Sister Joan Brown is executive director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light.

A World Food Day Weekend, October 15-16, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joan @ 6:14 pm

wfdlogoA World Food Day Weekend, October 15-16, 2016

One Earth, One Home, One Table

Annual Sustainability Meal

St. Thomas of Canterbury Church, 425 University Blvd. NE, ABQ Saturday, October 15, 6 p.m. The Action Corps (formerly Oxfam Action Corps) hosts annual sustainability and food sovereignty meal. The evening event features home cooked meal using locally sourced ingredients. Contact KChavez@salud.unm.edu to volunteer.

Interfaith Service

First Unitarian Church, 3701 Carlisle Blvd. NE, ABQ Sunday, October 16, 3-4:30 p.m.

Join people of all faith traditions in commemorating Food Day. An interfaith service of prayer linking food, climate change, immigration and economic justice will feature scripture readings, reflections, music and dance from the Sikh, Baha’i, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Native American and other communities. The prayer will lead people to make a commitment to address hunger, climate change, immigration and economic justice through direct service or policy advocacy. The Sikh community of Albuquerque will provide Langar or a meal served to close the service. Those who would like to be part of a pick-up choir led by David Poole or sacred dance group led by Keri Sutter for the service, please come at 1:00 to prepare. All are welcome to participate!
Co-sponsored by NM Interfaith Hunger Coalition, NM Interfaith Power and Light. For more information contact: Joan Brown,osf, info@nm-ipl.org or Carlos Navarro nminterfaithhungercoalition@gmail.com

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