Pagosa Unitarian Universalists to consider ‘Earth Day and Our Spiritual Connection’

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By Joan Ward | Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

On Sunday, April 17, at 10:30 a.m., the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship service will highlight Earth Day, April 22, and what it means spiritually. The service will be in person and on Zoom.

Joan Ward will explore how we connect science to spiritual practice through meditations and action. She will discuss the work of the UU ministry for the Earth, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) at the United Nations and the UUA Green Sanctuary Program in the campaign Create Climate Justice.

Ward will describe the Just Transition Alliance, based on the principle that a healthy economy and a clean environment can and should co-exist. In local context, she will report on the work of the Pagosa Wetlands Partners, as provided by Bob LeCour, and the event downtown on April 23 to celebrate Earth Day.

For meditation, Ward will provide readings from the chapter “Learning the Grammar of Animacy” in the book “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The author is a scientist, decorated professor and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. She is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment.

The grammar of animacy in the Potawatomi language are the words that describe “the life that pulses through all things, through pines and nuthatches and mushrooms.” 

Kimmerer states that in her language: “… we use the same words to address the living world as we use for our family. Because they are our family.”

She states, “In Potawatomi 101, rocks are animate, as are mountains and water and fire and places. Beings that are imbued with spirit, our sacred medicines, our songs, drums and even stories, are all animate.”

Kimmerer notes that in English, wording makes things objects. When a “tree is not a who, but an it, we make the maple an object; we put a barrier between us, absolving ourselves of moral responsibility and opening the door to exploitation.” One of her students realized “speaking English, thinking in English, somehow gives us permission to disrespect nature …”

Depending on the current recommendations concerning COVID and the comfort level of those in attendance, please be prepared to wear a well-fitting mask while in the building. Social distancing will be encouraged and to that end, the maximum capacity of the fellowship has been reduced to 25.

To join by Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86176360552, meeting ID: 861 7636 0552, phone: (346) 248-7799.

Our fellowship, based on its seven principles, offers each individual support in their unique spiritual path and an opportunity to participate in social and environmental action. We welcome diversity and invite everyone to share in our faith community.

The Pagosa UU Fellowship is located in Greenbrier Plaza, 301 N. Pagosa Blvd., Unit B-15, which is on the north side of the building. It faces Greenbrier Drive.

For more information about the fellowship, please see www.pagosauu.org.