Southern New England UCC Staff Strike for Climate

9/21/2019

Sioux Wilusz, Executive Assistant to the Connecticut Conference Minister, takes part in the Hartford, CT, action
From Worcester, MA, to Hartford, CT, to New York City members of the Southern New England conferences staff took to the streets on Friday, Sept. 20, for the Global Climate Strike called for by youth.

The offices of the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island conferences were closed in response to a call by the world's youth to disrupt business as usual to support the fight to stop climate change.

Massachusetts Conference Administrative Assistant Karen Methot marched in Worcester, MA, where she says students from Clark University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Holy Cross converged with younger students and many adults in support.

"As each group arrived, from different directions, we cheered," she said. "There were several speakers - one in 8th grade, another in 3rd!  Watching the groups of college students marching and chanting with their signs brought tears to my eyes. Seeing their commitment and solidarity gives me great hope for our future. They are the generation that will bring change."

Connecticut Conference Associate for Innovation Susan Townsley marched in New York City.

"The number of young people who demonstrated was impressive and heartening," she said. "' You’ll die of old age, we’ll die of climate change' read one sign. Too bad our lousy stewardship has forced the young to the streets."

Massachusetts Associate Conference Minister Wendy Vander Hart at a protest in Arlington, MA, with Reebee Girash, who starts as Pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church in Lexington on Oct. 1.


Pam Arifian, Director of the UCC Northeast Environmental Justice Center at Silver Lake, worked with the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network to organize an interfaith prayer vigil in Hartford, CT, prior to the march on the state capitol.

Several Connecticut and Massachusetts Conference staffers attended, including Connecticut Conference Minister Kent Siladi, who said: “People of faith gathered from various traditions to lift up prayers of thanksgiving and concern about planet Earth and our responsibility as stewards of the earth to not only pray but to also take action as a holy responsibility.  With one voice from various faith traditions we reminded ourselves that youth are leading us and we are called to follow.”

In Rhode Island, Christian Education and Youth Ministry Consultant Kristin Putney led a group of youth to a rally at Burnside Park in Providence.

Other staff who did not march in action took their own steps at home. Massachusetts Administrative Assistant Martha Goodman spent time reading “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert while her colleague, Rick Durance, continued reading works be eco-feminist Sallie McFague.