Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Beloved Community: DAPL Actions

Beloved Community,

Tens of thousands of us have stood behind the Great Sioux Nation against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). President Obama rightfully declared that a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required to test the safety of a pipeline that would cross a river providing water to 28 million people.

Now, a president with no mandate has signed executive actions to advance approval of the Dakota Access Pipelines, meaning that tribal leaders will not be consulted on issues that affect them directly. As people of faith and citizens in a democracy, it is our responsibility to speak out against this action for what it is: sinful. It is sinful and illegal to once again disregard the sovereignty and Treaty Rights of Native Americans.
Flickr: Dark Sevier

Our Indigenous neighbors have asked people of faith to speak against the greed of the President and his fossil-fuel infused cabinet. Here’s how:

Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to support the full environmental review currently underway for DAPL. Remind them that your faith calls you to be careful with creation, protect future generations, and demand justice for Indigenous peoples. Submit a quick comment here.

Call the United State Capitol switchboard and leave a message for your senators: 202-224-3121 *Especially if you live in RED states or districts*

• If you are near Seattle, come to next week’s City Council Meeting on Wed, February 1 from 9:30 to 12:30. An ordinance will be discussed that would divest $3 billion of Seattle’s money from Wells Fargo to end the city’s relationship with one of the major banks funding the DAPL.

We can do this with love and respect for all God’s children as we say NO to theft of Native sacred lands, our water supply, and our children’s inheritance,

 Jessie Dye
 Program and Outreach Director
 Earth Ministry and Washington Interfaith Power & Light

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beloved Community: Compassion and Resistance

Beloved Community,

Flickr: Mumu Matryoshka
We are living through a challenging week. We Americans are standing directly in the path of history and the moral arc of the universe. Everything we do – and don’t do – will make a difference. How do we navigate this very dangerous passage, being true to our faith and to our one and only planet? In deep discernment in the weeks after the election, Earth Ministry has committed to two values that we affirm in our decisions and actions in the times ahead: compassion and resistance. 

The Golden Rule has iterations in all faiths – the requirement to love our neighbors is a deeply-held religious value. Unfortunately, our neighbor can be a bully and a thief or someone who cheers on bullies and thieves. Our neighbor can condone hate crimes, make racist comments, and denigrate women. Yet as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said:

“Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.”

Compassion – in the Buddhist sense – is love combined with wisdom and non-attachment. Compassion isn’t weakness, it is strength beyond measure. It is a positive and powerful force against darkness. Compassion flowed through the Civil Rights Movement, because non-violence requires that we respond to evil with peace. MLK also reminded us that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” The faith community is uniquely positioned to model this kind of meaningful response.

Yet we must also resist evil when we see it. Resistance is the ability to set clear limits on the way we and others are treated, and on decisions that affect us all.

Resistance means standing up for justice, speaking out for equality, and putting our faith into action. Resistance has a strategic purpose in protecting our neighbors, our communities, and our common home from harm. It is extremely powerful when carried out in community, though it requires honesty and courage.

We are entering a period when our outspoken and compassionate resistance may have an historic, even evolutionary effect. Our greatest strength as a faith community lies in our deep commitment to care for each other as a way to honor the Creator of life. At Earth Ministry we know that the faith community is up to the challenge of our times.

To begin this profound undertaking, we invite you to gather with Earth Ministry at the Seattle Womxn’s March on Saturday, January 21 at 10am in Judkins Park.

March Start Location: Judkins Park, 2150 S Norman St, Seattle, 98144
10am Start time - arrive, find Earth Ministry (we will try to be at the south end of the park near S. Judkins Street between 21st and 22nd Avenues South.)
10:30 rally/speakers begin
11:00 groups begin marching
End Location: Seattle Center, 400 Broad St, Seattle 98109
Route Length: 3.6 miles

March with us and thousands of others in compassionate resistance to the ugliness taking root in our highest public offices. We are better than this, and our love for each other, our country, and all of creation will see us through. See you on Saturday!

LeeAnne Beres
Executive Director

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Beloved Community: Two Pieces of REALLY Good News!

Dear Fabulous Friends of Faith,

Great news! Today, the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced that he is rejecting the aquatic lease permit for the Longview coal export terminal because the company refused to provide basic information about its finances after the bankruptcy of the previous owner, Arch Coal.

For many years Earth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light – with your help – has been fighting proposals to ship coal mined in Montana and Wyoming through Northwest’s deep-water ports to be burned in Asia. Thanks to today’s decision, we are one step closer to defeating the last of six fossil fuel export projects proposed in the Northwest. Good work, team faith!

And speaking of excellent news, Lummi Nation applauded Commissioner Goldmark and the Department of Natural Resources for honoring the tribe’s request to protect the lands of Xwe’chi’eXen, Cherry Point, by adding 45 acres of aquatic lands to the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. Lummi was determined to protect this area permanently as it has been their ancestral home and traditional fishing area for millennia. 

In May – through the advocacy led by Lummi Nation and supported by Earth Ministry on behalf of the faith community – the US Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for a coal export terminal at Cherry Point. Today’s decision by Commissioner Goldmark to place these acres into an aquatic reserve will  protect the area marine habitat and keep future fossil fuel proposals away.

In this dark time of the year and state of our democracy, let this news be a reminder that you can make a difference. The faith community is an important part of the rich partnership that led to these victories. We are grateful to our Native neighbors, to Commissioner Goldmark, and to each of you who contributed to this success in so many ways.  

With gratitude and joy in 2017,
The Earth Ministry/WAIPL team