Thursday, September 1, 2016, has been declared a shared World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation by Catholic and Orthodox Christian communities. This year, Pope Francis issued a video invitation to prayer
in which he calls believers and unbelievers alike to work together to care for our common home. In August of 2015, the pope issued a letter declaring Sept. 1 as an annual day of prayer for the care of creation, joining the Orthodox Church, which has been doing so since 1989. Citizens are urged to pray and join a local prayer service, or if no local service is offered, representatives from Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Episcopalian churches will offer an online prayer service at 8am US EDT.
The Science Alliance for Valuing the Environment, an “educational consortium for environmental concerns” affiliated with Lourdes University in Sylvania, OH, will host Dr. Greg Hitzhusen to deliver a lecture on “Spirituality and Sustainability: Hope for All Creation” at the Franciscan Center from 7:30-9:00pm on Tuesday, Sept. 20.
In the words of the organizers, the program will provide various avenues to “remind us of who we are as a part of this living Earth and renew our embodied human selves. Spend time with others pondering, celebrating, and creating your loving connection with Earth.”
Sister Paula Gonzalez, a Sister of Charity in Cincinnati and co-founder of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light (OhIPL), passed into eternal light earlier this month and was mourned and celebrated by friends and loved ones at a green burial on August 2 and a mass at the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse on August 4. Sr. Paula taught biology at Mount St. Joseph University for 15 years before dedicating the last 40 years of her life to environmental education and ministry. Shown here in her solar powered golf cart (which she built; photo credit: Sisters of Charity, Cincinnati), Paula received Green Energy Ohio’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and was honored as a “Woman of the Year” by the Cincinnati Inquirer in 2014. She remains famous for her good spirit and vision for sustainability, and for her energy efficient renovated living and work spaces. An award was made in her honor, The Sister Paula Gonzalez Award, and Sara Ward was the recipient. Paula will be remembered at OhIPL’s Earthkeeping Summit at Ohio State on Sept. 24. For more reflections on Paula’s life and witness, click the links below.
On Saturday, September 24, The School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) will co-host the 2016 Earthkeeping Summit with Ohio Interfaith Power and Light, the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and multiple community and university partners. The Summit provides resources and inspiration for the creation care work of Ohio faith communities, and will be held at the Nationwide 4-H Center on OSU’s Columbus campus. Keynote speaker Dr. Melanie Harris of Texas Christian University will address the Summit’s themes of hope and renewal in environmental justice work, and panels and workshops will follow to highlight current examples of creation care work across Ohio faith communities.
Several sessions during the day will focus on creative modes of understanding earthkeeping such as storytelling, art, and ritual, including a display of the environmental art creations of Shelly Casto’s Columbus-area high school students at the Wexner Center. Ohio native Luke Sulfridge will introduce OHSUN, a solar cooperative program facilitating residential solar installations in Ohio; SENR EEDS graduate Rebecca Mellino will present environmental stewardship resources of Columbus Public Health’s faith community climate change program; and OSU’s Michelle Kaiser and SENR graduate Nick Stanich will facilitate an afternoon workshop on addressing food deserts featuring the sustainable urban food production programs at Franklinton Gardens. More information, schedule, and registration details for the Summit can be found here.