Public Policy and Environmental Action Team Minutes
January 11, 2022
Facilitator: Charles Skold
Minutes: Sarah Braik
Present: Ruth Roemer, Sarah Braik, Mary Linneman, Sam Allen, Meredith Tipton, Dick Farnsworth, Charles Skold, Ralph Cordes, Barbara Ryland, Ted Kannelakis, Kathy Coughlin, Connie Bingham, John Hennessy
The Cathedral of St. Luke sits on unceded Wabanaki territory. We acknowledge that we have benefitted from the exploitation and subjugation of those whom our forebears failed to understand and honor.
We also acknowledge the legacy of colonization embedded within the technology, structures, and ways of thinking we use every day, leaving significant carbon footprints and contributing to changing climates that disproportionately affect indigenous people worldwide.
Let us acknowledge all this, and take collective responsibility to make good use of our meeting time, and to work towards dismantling the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism, to preserve lands and waters for future generations, and to support indigenous sovereignty.
Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you,
Pawnee, Apache, Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of
Other seekers—desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Arab, the Swede, the German, the Eskimo, the Scot,
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought,
Sold, stolen, arriving on the nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am that Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours—your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
This day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
- Diocesan and legislative updates (John Hennessy)
- The Legislature has been in session for one week. Spent more time bickering about masks and the January 6 memorial. Decided to go virtual at least for January. # 1 priority is tribal sovereignty: LD 1626 “An Act Implementing the Recommendations of the Task Force on Changes to the Maine Indian Claims Settlement Implementing Act”. Democrats 95% behind this bill. In-district meetings with Republicans are being scheduled, as well as continuing to seek Governor’s support. Other bills will be prioritized tomorrow by the Maine Council of Churches on issues including environment, criminal justice, gun safety, health, etc., including a genetic engineering bill sponsored by Rep. Zager, who is a physician, and who thinks Maine could become the Silicon Valley of genetic engineering. Washington State is our only rival. The Diocese has sponsored genetic engineering for decades. The Governor will allocate large surplus funds.
- Ongoing matters
- Tribal legislation (Sarah and Ted)
- Public hearing mid-February, though may end up mid-March
- Joint testimony-John will let us know the deadline. Charles and Ruth and Dick will draft written testimony
- Diocesan forum at an Episcopal Church Zoom and in-person participation, on an early February Sunday afternoon-stay tuned
- Tool for taking action on LD 1626
- Some resources on land acknowledgements
- Flyer revision (Charles and Ralph)
- Ralph and Charles have revised the eco-justice flyer and would like comments-Sarah will send it out for comments. It needs to be reduced to one side so that public policy/social justice can be integrated into one two-sided page. There should be one flyer as you can’t separate environmental and social justice. Ralph and Charles asked for help from the Team with priorities. Suggestions included information, theological basis and steps congregants can take on issues such as racial and tribal justice, poverty, social wellness, education. John presented an advocacy course at Bexley Seabury last fall and will do it in the spring. He has a lot of material that we could use. John will send Charles material and then they’ll have a conversation. Ted suggested we include something from the tribes-we should contact Wabanaki Alliance: John Dieffenbacher-Krall. Also include a link to further resources.
- En-ROADS workshop for PPEAT Monday Jan. 17, 6-7:30 PM (Sam Allen)
- Powerful climate solutions simulator-shows us what combinations of solutions will keep us below 2 degrees.
- Sam will schedule subsequent presentations for St. Luke’s
- Bridging the Two Maines update (Sarah)
- This may be in the works at the Diocesan level. Sarah will follow up on it this month. Emily Keniston, our liaison with the Bishop, is on family leave.
- Earth Day worship (Kathy and Ruth)
- No update this month. Kathy will speak with Eleanor and Ruth.
- Diocesan Climate Justice Council (Sarah and Barbara)
- The Council crafted a letter that the Bishop will send out to the parishes declaring a climate emergency and asking each parish to appoint an Earthkeeper. A packet with a handcrafted cross and a letter from the Council with more details will follow the Bishop’s letter.
- PURPLE, a new short documentary from political mediation organization Resetting the Table (RTT) and Emmy Award-winning Transient Pictures, tells the story of everyday Americans with opposing viewpoints addressing their differences head-on. Filmed in a swing region in rural Wisconsin and Iowa, PURPLE models a rare conversation that uplifts and inspires even while going toward the heat of passionate political differences. We have been invited to screen with the congregation as a tool to build greater empathy, critical thinking, and civic skills and dispositions. Resetting the Table provides a Discussion Guide, social media toolkit, and support materials for free. (Mary)
- Mary looked at the 5-minute compilation from the 22-minute film. The conversation in the film was very successful, but in order to do something similar we would need a skilled trained facilitator (they provide facilitator training). The presentation would be an hour and twenty minutes including the 22-minute film. We would need to have a plan to follow up with a specific action plan, and it would be a lot of work. It would require a real commitment. “Social justice is the sum of a million acts of relational justice.”
- Ted recommended the Film the Truth Tellers featuring Robert Shetterly, currently at the Strand in Rockland.
- Planning for the coming year TABLED
- Voter registration and turnout
- Episcopal Election Activators
- April coffee hour display
- Following up on the idea for facilitating conversations across Maine’s north/south divide
- Supporting the Diocesan Climate Justice Council
- Season of Creation
- St. Luke’s Earthkeeper
- Continuing to inform and support the congregation in taking environmental action on both personal and community/state/national levels, especially around climate change
- Action items
- Go to the Tool for taking action on LD 1626 and take at least one action
- Review the ecojustice flyer and make suggestions for shortening it
- Attend Sam Allen’s En-ROADS workshop Monday Jan. 17, 6-7:30 PM
- Next meeting Tuesday February 8, 2022, 6-7 PM