By Martha Jones Burford
On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Episcopalians, comprising over one fifth of total participants, joined people of other denominations and faiths for Living Waters: an Interfaith Summit sponsored by the Institution for Environmental Negotiation and sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in partnership with Virginia Interfaith Power and Light, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Caretakers of God’s Creation and other organizations. The event took place at the Lewis B. Ginter Botanical Gardens.
During the day, participants from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist and other communities came together to explore challenges facing the Bay. Participants heard from speakers such as Nina Beth Cardin, rabbi and chair of the Chesapeake Covenant Community; the Rev. Dr. J Herbert Nelson II, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness; the Rev. Pat Watkins, Executive Director of UMC’s Caretaker of God’s Creation-General Board of Global Ministries; Kim Coble, deputy advisor on the environment to the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland; and Carl Hershner, director of the Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and a professor in the School of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary.
Topics included moral obligation, historical narrative, scientific theory and current political challenges. The day began and ended with Ceremonies of Blessing of the Waters.
Episcopalians were strong in leadership and as panel members for the event and included Craig Anderson, Robert Faithful, IV, the Hon. Tayloe Murphy, Martha Jones Burford, and others. One Episcopalian, David Lehman, wrote after the event, “What resonated with me the most was the thought that if people of faith are going to bring about change to stop the destruction of our environment, we need to ‘put feet on our faith’ as was done during the civil rights movement…I was left with a personal sense of gratitude that there are many people, from many different backgrounds, who are interested in caring for the earth.”
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