CRE Forum Notes for March 28, 2014

CRE Forum Notes for March 28, 2014
The thoughts and plans for the upcoming Earth Day liturgy at Willie Six Creek were discussed. The major
question that came up was “what is the purpose of the liturgy?” Is it education? Repentance? Actual
healing (such as the people from Tri Robinson’s church who gathered and prayed over the land)?
Something else?
A good discussion followed, with several different perspectives. Here are some thoughts that were
*Perhaps we’re not talking about fixing ecological damage at this point, but more about being with the
land and praying with the land. There’s a need for genuine engagement with the land, and not just
using it as a prop. A need for spiritual mutuality.
*It’s also about healing ourselves – our disconnection from the land.
*It’s kind of an experiment at this point. What is it that we want to heal? What results do we want?
Many aspects: sewage, construction waste, exotic invasive plants, bad history/behavior, eco-racism, a
“curse” on the land (as per Blessed Blend’s comments), the Native American removal from these lands?
*Acknowledging that the issues are multi-faceted and complicated, with a need to approach mindfully
and carefully, with an ongoing commitment. We should be careful not to go into a community and
impose what we’re doing on the people who live there, or make assumptions.
*Should we simplify the service this first time around by staying in the university section of the creek
and focusing on ecological damage, rather than getting into some of the other issues? Or choose a
section of Abbo’s Alley to focus on the first time?
*Will this be a one-time liturgy, or an ongoing connection and commitment to the land/creek (through
time spent with the land, prayer, and restoration work)?
*Not sure about the term “healing the land” – seems arrogant, like the religion of power that got us
here in the first place. What we’re doing is really little more than showing up – we need the land to
wake us up.
*When someone is ill, one of the most powerful things is to show we care, show sympathy. If we keep
the land in our hearts, it feels like there’s a certain sentience to the land and it can register that.
*Important to allow the land to speak to us – importance of reciprocity and relationship. To have silent
time and listening, maybe writing?
*Don’t see as much point in going to Abbo’s Alley, where the same kind of abuse would not have been
tolerated in the first place. Eco-racism is a big issue, and there should be a way to address it sensitively,
acknowledging what we do and don’t know about the issues and history.
*Concerned with the possible social dimensions, unintentionally causing harm – if we involve another
community, such as those who live along the creek along Willie Six Road, it’s important to lay
groundwork and build relationships – not just show up in someone’s backyard, so to speak. Would
rather go slowly, do less but do it well. Make sure scale and scope are humble, one step at a time.
*Could working with the fraternities and students in apartments along the creek and raising
consciousness be a goal? Involve them with work of taking care of creek and making a spiritual
connection? This could lead to other things, in time.
*We don’t have the power of healing the land. We can’t presume that of God, in any kind of healing.
(We can always pray and ask, however!)
*We need to pick one goal out of all those we’ve talked about: repentance, advocacy, connection,
silence, etc.
*There are various activities and liturgies that could be part of this process. Maybe the first step is
getting to know the land? Could explore Joanna Macy’s exercises for this, for example, or an Opening
the Book of Nature session. It’s hard to do a Eucharist with the land if you haven’t established a
relationship yet. Should start with relationship and commitment.
*Can we make a commitment to spending time with the land/creek? Perhaps there could be a journal
about it that we all contribute to, or a multi-media book with artwork, music, etc.
*Should we still pursue a service based on the “Mass of the World” this year, or look ahead to next year,
with more planning time?
*”Flash compline” is being done in emergent churches – is this something to which our campus might
*We could involve EarthKeepers and others – there is an emerging interest on campus. Find ways to
invite others in.