Multiple faith communities met in solidarity over Pope Francis’ ecology encyclical, Laudato Si’, on the evening of September 24, 2015, for the first of a two-part event called “Light the Way: Faiths for Climate Justice.” Organized by community volunteers, the event brought together about 100 people on the shores of Lake Mendota at James Madison Park in Madison, WI. There was music by local musician Clare Norelle, prayer, and presentations by many faith leaders who spoke eloquently about our environment and issued a call to action to protect it. The group assembled, then processed to the State Capitol where Overpass Light Brigade greeted the crowd with their sign, “Light the Way.”
The presentations engaged themes in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ from individuals’ faith traditions. Below is a list of the faith leaders in the order in which they spoke. Links go to presentations posted online.
Rev Thomas Saucier, Pastor, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Parish, Madison
Kermit Hovey, Director of Operations and Development, Care of Creation
Kathy Heskin, Professor Emerita in Theology, Dominican University
Rabbi Renee Bauer, Executive Director, Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice
Huda Alkaff, Founder & Director, Wisconsin Green Muslims
Julia Isaacs, Madison Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends
Rev. Karen Quinlan, Pastor, James Reeb Unitarian Universalist
Rev. Susan Schneider, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran
Ruthie Stewart, Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church
Marcio Sierra, Pastor, Lighthouse Church, Apostolic Network of Global Awakening
Rev. Stephen Umhoefer, Pastor Emeritus, Catholic Diocese of Madison
More photos of the event are posted here.
The second event of “Light The Way: Faiths for Climate Justice” began at sunrise on September 25, 2015. Faith communities gathered on the shores of Lake Monona at the Monona Terrace rooftop for quiet contemplation. This was followed by fellowship at the nearby First United Methodist Church, where short videos on climate justice and livestream of Pope Francis’ historic address to the United Nations were shown. The morning concluded with small-group discussion and brainstorming on how to carry on Pope Francis’ message that “…we have to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”