The Massachusetts Conference of UCC, in collaboration with the Connecticut and Rhode Island Conferences, recently hosted Super Saturday, a day-long conference offering worship and workshops on various faith-based topics. Super Saturday gives participants the option to attend up to three workshops during the day, in addition to the morning and afternoon worships and lunch. This makes for a busy but productive day.
Of the many workshops and activities available, I chose to go to the Climate Change Resonance Circle Workshop, which focused on addressing the difficulties and concerns that many of us carry as we face the crisis of global warming. The workshop was led by Pam Arifian, Director of the Northeast Regional Environmental Justice Center at Silver Lake. Pam explains, “in this workshop, we practiced the tools of storytelling and resonance to help us come to terms with the shared emotional challenge of climate uncertainty. Utilizing these tools to externalize that emotional weight can help us to experience some relief from the weight of the fear and uncertainty and build supportive community to enable us to face the challenge of the climate crisis with courage.”
The workshop was well-attended, which was itself a clear testament to the widespread alarm about climate change. We each had a chance to share and to hear from others about our personal reasons for opting to be present at this resonance circle. Many expressed fears for the futures of their children and grandchildren, and the generations to come. Some even admitted to feelings of guilt and responsibility for their roles, however passive or small, in contributing to the disaster.
Hearing from so many others who view climate change as a worrisome issue was helpful for me personally in recognizing that nobody must face it alone. The passion that was voiced for creating a safe and clean planet for us all and for future generations was a refreshing reminder that there are many people who believe things need to change. I found this a much-need reassurance not to give up hope that this problem is solvable and to continue doing my part in the fight for climate justice.
In the second workshop I attended, I was exposed to another way of cultivating hope in the face of not only climate change, but many other issues our society faces. The Just Peace Players performed a play at this workshop entitled “Extra! Extra! Learn All About It”, a series of short skits and dialogues addressing matters frequently seen in today’s headlines. Through sharing stories and feelings about these topics, the Just Peace Players exemplified that people of faith are not alone in their concerns. By performing conversations about current events and topics, they provided an approach to dealing with these problems which was new to me, but effective and engaging. It echoed for me the first workshop’s message that with issues as large as today’s, nobody is alone in facing or coping with them. The key is to bring individuals who share concerns together in order to begin changing them.
The next Super Saturday will be held in Framingham, MA on October 5, 2019. Watch for registration to open. Workshop proposals may be submitted now through May 2019.
Grace O’Connor is a UConn student assisting the Connecticut Conference with ministry program support as an intern through the Urban Semester program.
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