Interfaith Perspectives on the Environment

Large Assembly

On two Sundays, July 20 & 27, The Green Team and the Adult Education Committee is presenting Learning Hours (after the 10 am service) on environmental issues from the perspective of two of the three Abrahamic faiths: Christianity and Islam. A third presentation on Jewish perspectives will take place in October.

On Sunday, July 20 Ameena Jandali, from the Islamic Networks Group (ING) will be exploring the Koranic origins of environmentalism and current challenges for the faith in facing the pressing issues of scarcity and climate change. Founded in 1993, ING, a non-profit based in the Bay Area, is dedicated to educating for cultural literacy and mutual respect.

On Sunday, July 27 Marilyn Matevia, from the Humane Society and Notre Dame De Namur University, will be exploring theological interpretations of environmentalism as rooted in the Bible as well as the emergence of alternative strands of Christian thinking about our relationship with the environment.  Marilyn is a recent PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in ethics and social theory.

Jewish perspectives on the environment will be shared by Rabbi Stephen Pearce, Rabbi emeritus at Emanu-El in San Francisco, on October 19 during the 10 am Learning Hour. (First Church will have returned to it?s two-service schedule in early September.)

The Team has invited Robyn Purchia to engage in a conversation with each of the speakers around some common themes. Robyn is an environmental attorney, a contributor to the Huffington Post, and Director of, a site dedicated to exploring the relationship between religion/spirituality and environmentalism. She became interested in the topic ten years ago while lobbying for forest protection in Arkansas and Mississippi. Robyn was struck by the disinterest many religious groups had in environmental stewardship. In response, she began researching and found that while environmentalism is a tenet of many religions, it is often practiced in varying degrees. EdenKeeper calls out faith-based groups that fail to care for creation, and promotes the many religious organizations that put their faith into positive action for the environment. She hopes people will begin to see protecting the planet as a moral responsibility rather than a political issue.

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