2016 Lenten Series: Caring for the Earth, Our Common Home

It's official. Both NOAA and NASA report that last year, 2015, was the warmest on record, surpassing the previous warmest year of 2014, which itself had surpassed 2013 as the warmest. Are there rational conclusions that can be drawn from this and other findings, or are these simply normal variations outside of human control or activity?

This year's Lenten series will focus on the scientific data and the accompanying moral imperatives that Climate Change is presenting to humanity at this moment of history. Are we humans creating a world inhospitable to life, including our own? If so, what does that call forth from us? While the science of Climate Change is providing an invaluable record of alarming planetary events, it seems inadequate by itself to produce the societal groundswell necessary for us to alter our destructive course and turn towards a sustainable future for all life.

A number of luminaries, from Naomi Klein to Pope Francis, as well as leaders of many wisdom traditions, speak of the necessity for a dual change: change in world-view and a basic change in personal identity. Naomi Klein recommends a movement to the Native American world view which places the human in a tribal way of life, intimately connected to all of nature. As regards change in personal identity, also referenced as a change of heart, a process of grieving what has been and is being lost can lead one to radical change. This involves an inner journey wherein one experiences a connection to all that is.

The 2016 series will call upon the power of art, poetry, music, parable, ceremony, ritual, story and community to supplement the scientific information,thus offering us the chance to become more conscious of Earth's suffering and more compassionate in our responses. We are the first generation in the history of the Universe to be given the scientific Origin Story. Surely, it is no accident that the Story has been given to us at this time of Earth's withering, a time when humanity is being called to undertake a Great Turning. The program will be h on the six successive Sundays of Lent at 4 PM;

  • February 14 The Findings of the Science of Climate Change presentedby Dr. Paul Mayewski, Director of UMO Climate Change Institute
  • February 21 The Native-American Wisdom and Caring for the Earth presented by Sherri Mitchell, JD, member of and legal council to the Penobscot Nation
  • February 28 College of the Atlantic Students report on the Global Climate Change Conference in Paris (UNFCCC COPS/21)
  • March 6 Local Area Poets Respond to Climate Change, including contest for best poem by HS student, moderated by Bec Poole
  • March 13 Laudato Si: Pope Francis' Revolutionary Ecological Encyclical presented by Anne Ferrara, founding member of RFS
  • March 20 Community: the Antidote to Despair, moderator to be announced

Check the RFS calendar for more details