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Posted on Wed, May 5, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

Faith Leaders Urge Senators to Work for Strong Climate Change Legislation

By Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice

“It’s not someone else’s problem! It’s not tomorrow’s issue!” is how Rabbi Bob Levy of Temple Beth Emeth, Ann Arbor described the mandate for people of faith, the broader community, and our political leaders to take action to stop climate change.

Rabbi Levy was speaking at a press conference to release a letter from 143 Michigan faith leaders urging our U.S. Senators to work for strong climate change legislation on Thursday, April 15.

Joining him was Áine Pearson, pastor of Crossroads Tabernacle Church, an Earth-based religious group, emphasized, “Climate change affects every one of us. Rising oceans, melting polar ice and El Nino pay no attention to what God or Gods you believe in or how you think the Earth came to be.” Rev. Don Bromley, Executive Pastor of Vineyard Church added, “We have a responsibility to care for God’s Creation, including humanity.”

The signers, who included Imams, Rabbis, clergy from Earth-based religions, nuns, Protestant and Roman Catholic clergy, and others came from across the state, from large and small cities and rural areas.

The letter they signed addresses the moral responsibility felt by people of faith to care about all the world’s people especially the poorest and most vulnerable, who will be the first affected by climate change. It also stresses that “that taking courageous action to address climate change is crucial to increasing our security, creating more jobs, and defending against serious economic problems that will arise if we fail to act.”

Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice partnered on this project with four other organizations-Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, Voices for Earth Justice, 1Sky and Environment Michigan-which helped gather signatures and set up the press conferences.

Sign on letter text

Dear Senators Levin and Stabenow:

As people of faith from a range of faith communities and traditions, we are writing to express our serious concern for the state of our environment and to urge that you take strong action to reverse the conditions that are leading us into major climatic problems.

We are well aware that the nation faces a number of urgent problems at this moment and that focusing on climate change will take courage and leadership. We believe, however, that taking courageous action to address climate change is crucial to increasing our security, creating more jobs, and defending against serious economic problems that will arise if we fail to act.

Our inefficient use of dirty energy sources like coal and oil is harming human health, polluting our environment, and fueling climate change. What is worse, these impacts are seen the most in areas where the people are least able to adapt to the change. As a nation that contributes heavily to the harmful levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, but has also been a leader in promoting justice in the world, we must take action on a national level to be far more efficient in our energy use and to transition to clean energy sources like wind and solar. The moral responsibility to be good stewards of the earth complements our human desires to provide a safe and healthy world for our own children. It goes to the heart of being a spiritual being and caring about all the world’s people. The climate change already underway and steadily growing worse will make the earth less habitable for human beings, and it will almost certainly affect the poorest and most vulnerable first.

People of faith can no longer be silent or hesitate to speak out. The time to ask Congress to take strong action on federal climate legislation is now. The longer we wait, the deeper the problems grow.

As representatives of the faith community we urge you to support a strong, comprehensive energy and climate bill that will protect human health, provide jobs, and curb climate change. Taking such action is a way to act upon the faith-filled call to treat all people with love and compassion by preserving and protecting the integrity of our earth.

Thank you for what you have already done to protect our planet. We are relying on you to take leadership on these issues that affect us all.

In deep care and concern for the Earth we all share and the people who live on it,

  • Bishop John Schleicher, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lansing, MI
  • Rabbi Norman T. Roman, Temple Kol Ami, West Bloomfield, MI
  • Imam Achmat Salie, American Muslim Diversity Association, Sterling Heights, MI
  • Aura Ahuvia, Rabbinic Student, Reconstructionist Havurah, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Gloria Albrecht, Ph.D., Presbyterian Church (USA), Detroit, MI
  • Mr. William Alt, Assistant Director for Campus Ministry, Holy Trinity Student Parish, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Rev. Gerald Anderson, Pastor, Sharon Lutheran Church, Bessemer, MI
  • Pastor Michael Anton, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Hastings, MI
  • Rev. John Baumgartner, United Church of Christ, Grand Ledge, MI
  • Shirley Bechill, Clerk of Green Pastures Quarterly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends, Alma, MI
  • Dr. Patricia Benson, OP, Faculty, Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, MI
  • Rev. Kathryn Bert, UU Church of Greater Lansing, Lansing, MI
  • Rev. Gretchen Bingea, Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Pastor John Boley, Mt. Pleasant First UMC, Mt. Pleasant, MI
  • Pastor Don Bromley, Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor, MI
  • Associate Pastor Denese S. Brown, Faith Assembly, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Rev. David Bullock, President, Greenation, Detroit, MI
  • Cassie Cammann, Clerk, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
  • Rev. Lori Carey, Senior Pastor, Trinity Lutheran Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Melanie Carey, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Paul L. Carson, Chair, Earth Advocacy Committee, Dixboro United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Sister Paula Cathcart, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Detroit, MI
  • Susan Clemmer, Clerk, Pine River Friends Montly Meeting
  • Paul Clemmons, Chair, Kalamazoo Interfaith Coalition for Peace and Justice, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Rev. James Cochran, United Methodist Church (Ret.), Ypsilanti, MI
  • Rev. Coqui Conkey, Interim Pastor, Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev.Wayne Conner, Pastor, Kalamazoo First Presbyterian, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Rev. Susannah Crolius, Pastor, Webster United Church of Christ, Webster, MI
  • Edward S. Davidson, VP for Social Action, Temple Beth Emeth, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Terri DeFilippo, Friends of The Light Peace and Social Concerns Clerk, Traverse City, MI
  • Rabbi Lisa Delson, Temple Beth Emeth, Ann Arbor
  • Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt, United Methodist Church, Retired
  • Rabbi Robert Dobrusin, Beth Israel Congregation, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Maymette Dolberry, Brown Chapel AME, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Karen Donahue, RSM, Sisters of Mercy, Detroit, MI
  • Mark Donovan, Co-Clerk, Kalamazoo Friends Meeting (Quakers)
  • Rev. James Eisele, Grand Ledge, MI
  • Eric Engel, Co-Convener, Environment and Social Concerns Committee, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
  • Rev. Lawrence W. Farris, First Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Susan Fisher, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Friend Laura Franseen, Friends of the Light Quaker Meeting, Traverse City, MI
  • Rev. Cathy Freeman, Dixboro United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Sarah Friesen-Carper, Peace Lutheran Church, Charlotte, MI
  • Erin Fry, Director, Points of Light, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Peggy Garrigues-Cortelyou, Fostoria & West Deerfield United Methodist Churches, Fostoria, MI
  • Rev. Gail R. Geisenhainer, First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor
  • Rev. Dr. Brewster H. Gere, First Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Mary Fran Gilleran, IHM, Monroe, MI
  • Sue Ellen Glover, Director of Christian Education, First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor (American Baptist), Ann Arbor, MI
  • Lowell Godfrey, Clergy, Sanctuary of the Stones
  • Rev. Chris Grapentine, Northside Community Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Carolyn Grapentine, Mission Outreach Chair, Northside Community Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Roderick Green, Pastor, New Life Baptist Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Pastor Irvin W. Green, Memorial Christian Church (DOC), Ann Arbor
  • Rev. Reid Hamilton, Chaplain, Canterbury House, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Barbara Hansen, OP, CoPromoter for Justice, Dominican Sisters Grand Rapids
  • Rev. Robert Hastings, United Methodist (Ret.), Sagninaw, MI
  • Max Heirich, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
  • Rev. Robert Henderson, Senior Druid, Shining Lakes Grove, ADF (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Joyce Ann Hertzig, OP, Leadership Team, Dominican Sisters~Grand Rapids
  • Rev. John Hice, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Royal Oak
  • Fran E. Holly, Friends of the Light Meeting, Traverse City, MI
  • Rev. Tracy Huffman, Pastor, West Side United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. David Hurst, United Methodist, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Edie Hurst, Chair, Earth Advocacy Committee, First United Methodist Church of Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Rev. Renee Jackson, Pastor, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Sister Mary Janowiak, Earth Advocate, Dominican Sisters, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Ms Mary Jellema, 14th Street Christian Reformed Church, Holland, MI
  • Sr. Virginia Jones, Kalamazoo, MI
  • Deborah Katz, President, Temple Beth Emeth Board of Trustees, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Robert Keefer, Crossroads Tabernacle Church - ATC, Tecumseh, MI
  • Rev. Jim Kellermann, Central United Methodist Church, Waterford, MI
  • Rev. Justin J. Kelly, SJ, University of Detroit-Mercy, Detroit, MI
  • Mike and Carmen Kelly, Faith and Social Concerns convenors, Detroit Friends Meeting, Detroit, MI
  • Ada Kidd, Peace and Justice Coordinator, Edgewood United Church of Christ, Okemos, MI
  • Rev. David E. Kidd, Pastor, United Methodist, Okemos, MI
  • Rev. Susan King, Associate Minister, Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Kathleen Laritz, Program Director, Jewel Heart Tibetan Buddhist Center, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rabbi Robert Levy, Temple Beth Emeth, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Barbara Lewis-Lakin, Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Chelsea, Chelsea, MI
  • The Rev. David M. Lillvis, Trinity Episcopal Church, Three Rivers, MI
  • Julie Lyons Bricker, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light-Director, Royal Oak, MI
  • Rev. Robert Malloy, Pastoral Director, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Detroit, MI
  • Rabbi Nathan Martin, University of Michigan Hillel, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Sandy Maxim, St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Wyoming MI
  • Rev. Judith May, United Methodist, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
  • Rev. Judith Mayo, United Methodist, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Toni McNamara, Director of Christian Service, St. Joseph Parish, South Lyon, MI
  • Rev. Barb McRae, 1st Presbyterian Church, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Carol Meyer-Niedzwiecki, Co-Clerk, Kalamazoo Friends Meeting
  • Rev. Rey Mondragon, Associate Pastor, Ypsilanti First United Methodist Church, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Pastor Susan Morley, Holy Island Church, Kalkaska, MI
  • Rev. Charles Morris, Pastor, St. Elizabeth Church, Wyandotte
  • Pastor Duke Morrow, Divine Word Presbyterian, Canton, MI
  • Rev. Kari Nicewander, Edgewood United Church of Christ, East Lansing, MI
  • Rev. John Nowlan, Archdiocese of Detroit, Oak Park, MI
  • Rev. Gus Nussdorfer, Retired PC(USA), Brighton, MI
  • Sister Margaret O’Flynn, OP, Adrian, MI
  • Rev. Dale Ostema, United Methodist, Traverse City, MI
  • Rev. Louise Ott, United Methodist, Saginaw, MI
  • Pastor Ruth Overdier, Lutheran, Traverse City, MI
  • Rev. John E. Park, Preacher and Pastor, Dixboro United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Margy Patchin, Peaceworker, Friends of the Light Quaker Meeting, Traverse City
  • Rev. Douglas Paterson, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Becky Payne, Red Cedar Friends Meeting Representative to the Lansing Area Peace Education Center, East Lansing, MI
  • Rev. Rich Peacock, Retired United Methodist Pastor, Sterling Heights, MI
  • Rev. C. Áine Pearson, Crossroads Tabernacle Church, Tecumseh, MI
  • The Rev. Joseph A. Perez, United Methodist, Adrian, MI
  • Reverend Kenneth W. Phifer, Minister Emeritus of First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor
  • Cindy Pletz, chair, Doorkeeper Committee, Church of the Good Shepherd, UCC, Ann Arbor MI
  • Rev. Roger Pohl, United Church of Christ, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Sister Gloria Rivera, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Monroe, MI
  • Amy Rosenberg, Temple Beth Emeth, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Robert Roth, First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Hartmut Sagolla, Program Co-Director, Jewel Heart Dharma Center, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Amy Saunders, Co-Convenor, Environment and Social Concerns Committee, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Roland Schaedig, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Ypsilanti, MI
  • Rev. Nancy Shaffer, First Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Dr. Judy Shipman, First Presbyterian Church, Saline, MI
  • Rev. Stacey Simpson-Duke, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Paul Simpson-Duke, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rabbi Arnie Sleutelberg, Reform, Lake Orion, MI
  • Br Jerry Smith, Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Detroit, MI
  • Rev. Laura Speiran, Deacon, First United Methodist Church, Saline, MI
  • Sr. Janet Stankowski, OP, Adrian Dominican Sister, Roseville, MI
  • Rev. Eric A. Stone, United Methodist, Essexville, MI
  • Rev. Krehl Stringer, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, St. Joseph, MI
  • Rev. Joe Summers, Pastor, The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Rev. Haju Sunim, Resident Priest, Ann Arbor Zen Buddhist Temple, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Gloria Tweadey, Unitarian Universalist Church of Farmington, Social Action Committee Chair, Farmington Hills, MI
  • Rev. Stanley Ulman, Pastor, St. Mary of the Hills, Rochester Hills, MI
  • Rev. Paul Versluis, Shalom Community Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Margaret Walden, Clerk Detroit Friends Meeting, Detroit, MI
  • Imam Dawud Walid, Executive Director, Council of American-Islamic Relations-MI, Southfield, MI
  • Chuck Warpehoski, Co-Director, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Bryan Weinert, Environmental Stewardship Team, Zion Lutheran, Ann Arbor
  • Dwight Wilson, Former General Secretary, Friends General Conference; currently Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
  • Kim Winchell, Diaconal Minister, N/W Lower MI Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Freeland, MI
  • Karen Woollams, Chair, Social Action Committee, Calvary United Methodist Church, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Jan Wright, Chair, Climate Change Group, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Pastor Bill Wylie-Kellerman, St. Peters Episcopal, Detroit, MI
  • The Rev. Chris Yaw, Episcopal, Southfield, MI
  • Lauren Zinn, Interfaith Coordinator for Inclusive Judaism Coalition, Ann Arbor, MI

* Affiliations for identification purposes only.