Earlier this year churches across the Kootenays rang their bells in solidarity in response to the release of Pope Francis' climate change encyclical Laudato Si.

Nelson churches team up to talk about climate change

Faith groups have teamed up with the West Kootenay EcoSociety to launch a study of the Pope’s recent encyclical.

Nelson churches and faith groups have teamed up with the West Kootenay EcoSociety to launch a seven-week study of the Pope’s recent encyclical on climate action beginning Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate.

The Cathedral of Mary Immaculate Roman Catholic Parish, St. Saviour’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral, Ascension Lutheran Church, Kootenay Shambhala Meditation Centre, Nelson United Church and Yasodhara Ashram have been working together to organize this community-based event: Sacred Earth, Sacred Trust: An Interfaith Study and Conversation on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si on care for our common home.

This first evening will start with a reception with refreshments, followed by a screening of Pope Francis’ address to the UN in New York from earlier that day on the need for climate action. The evening will conclude with a discussion.

The other six evenings will be on Wednesdays, from Sept. 30 to Nov. 4, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., hosted by various churches and faith groups and rotating among their places of worship.

The discussion and action group will study the six-chapter encyclical, which was released in June, one chapter per week. The group is open to people of all traditions interested in the encyclical and taking action in our community to prevent the climate crisis.

The community is invited to attend one or all sessions.

“Part of what we are celebrating in this discussion of the Pope’s encyclical is that we are a community, and not just a human community but a community of all living things,” said David Boyd, Nelson United Church Minister. “As we celebrate our community, we seek to choose life in all its biodiversity.”

“The climate crisis has awakened the need to recognize our interdependence and to work collaboratively for region-wide and global solutions. What can happen if all of us, no matter what our spiritual tradition, speak with one voice and act together on the unifying principle of concern for the Earth and future generations? Let’s try,” said Swami Lalitananda, president of Yasodhara Ashram.

“Climate change threatens the survival of humans and all creatures on planet Earth,” said Julia Roberts, from the St. Saviour’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral. “This challenge requires a moral and spiritual response, as well as practical action. I’m heartened to see our faith communities come together to pray, meditate, and study this issue.”

“Buddhism teaches that there is no separate self; all beings and the earth itself are completely interdependent,” said the Kootenay Shambhala Meditation Centre’s environmental action coordinator, Candace Batycki.

“In this pivotal year for our climate, the Shambhala Centre is delighted to engage with communities of faith to explore the moral dimensions of the climate crisis, and take action together,”

Further sessions will be held Sept. 30 at Cathedral of Mary Immaculate, Oct. 7 at St. Saviours Pro-Cathedral, Oct. 14 hosted by Yasodhara Ashram, at the Old Church Hall, 602 Kootenay St.; Oct. 21 at Kootenay Shambhala Meditation Centre, 812 Stanley St.; Oct. 28 at Nelson United Church, 602 Silica St.; Nov. 4, hosted by Ascension Lutheran Church, location to be determined.



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