Climate Revival festival to be held on Middlebury’s town green
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County Interfaith Climate Action Network (ICAN) will host a Climate Revival on Saturday, Oct. 3, from noon to 3 p.m. on the Middlebury town green and at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
“We hope this interfaith festival emboldens our efforts to care for creation,” said the Rev. Daniel Cooperrider, pastor at the Weybridge Congregational Church and convener of the new group. “We are adapting elements of a classic religious tent revival meeting toward stirring people to deepen their commitment to earth stewardship.”
The Climate Revival features a sustainable foods potluck lunch on the town green with activities for all ages followed by a service of music, singing, art, poetry, prayer, meditation, reflection, witness, testimony and an “alter (the future) call.”
“The word ‘revival’ evokes a restoration to life, consciousness, vigor and strength,” explained Cooperrider. “This could be timely for those who may feel overwhelmed by or doubtful of the climate crisis.”
The revival is a local reflection of the concerns spotlighted inthe historic People’s Climate March one year ago in New York City. It has been planned to coincide with related local events, including the CROP Walk to fight hunger on Sunday, Oct. 4, and climate justice talks at Middlebury College over the same weekend.
“We hope people will see the important connection between food justice and climate action,” said the Rev. Barnaby Feder, minister at Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society where food justice has been a focus. “CVUUS looks forward to contributing to the revival’s food potluck in coordination with the Addison County Relocalization Network, which also supports sustainable food solutions and justice.”
Anyone is welcome to participate in the revival. People may contribute potluck items, join the opening drumming circle and procession, visit displays, sing, share their “alter (the future) call,” or submit a favorite spiritual quote about the environment that they would like to see posted on the town green.
Speakers for the revival include local clergy, faith group members, activists and the Rev. Jim Antal of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ (UCC) who led the UCC’s movement to divest its endowment of investments in fossil fuels.
“Jim Antal speaks powerfully to our moral imperative to take action on climate change,” said Fran Putnam, a member of Middlebury Friends Meeting who called on Addison County faith communities to form a coalition to address climate change collaboratively. “I was inspired to take action after hearing Jim at last fall’s Vermont Interfaith Power & Light Conference and sharing there with others who had just participated in the People’s Climate March like me.”
The Addison County Interfaith Climate Action Network gathered in the spring to collaborate on initiatives, such as a Climate Revival and a community interfaith solar project. It spent its early monthly meetings getting to know what various faith groups were doing and wanted to do in response to climate change. It includes representatives from the Weybridge Congregational Church, the Congregational Church of Middlebury, Middlebury United Methodist Church, East Middlebury United Methodist Church, Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society, Middlebury Friends Meeting (Quakers), St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and others.
The Addison County Interfaith Climate Action Network has been working on its initiatives with support from the Middlebury Area Clergy Association, Vermont Interfaith Power & Light, Middlebury College Sunday Night Group and Addison County Relocalization Network.
“Perhaps your faith community has something like a Green Team or Earth Care Committee or perhaps you sense a call to connect your faith to action around environmental issues,” said Cooperrider. “Consider joining with us as we mobilize religiously-inspired response to the issues of climate and environment that define our times.”
To learn more, submit a quote or to be added to the Addison County Interfaith Climate Action Network, contact the Rev. Daniel Cooperrider at [email protected]. The group has been meeting the second Thursdays of the month at 8 a.m. at Weybridge Congregational Church.