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News from the Montana Faith & Environment Coalition
August 2019
The MFEC is an interfaith organization bringing together people of faith and scientists from across the state to advocate for faith-led action on climate change.



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“Every created thing is holy. Every blade of grass, grasshopper, child, and element is holy. Ecological degradation, racism, discrimination, hate, and disinterest in working for justice and love each speak to the lack of honoring the interiority of that which stands before me. . . . In order to help people adjust and cope with climate change, which is the most critical concern of our day, I believe we must get in touch with the sacred essence of everything that exists.”

- Sr. Joan Brown, Franciscan nun and Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, excerpted from her recent blog: Diversity, Essence and Communion

Updates from the Coalition

The first-ever Faith, Science and Climate Action conference in October 2018 was the launching point for lots of new activity at the crossroads of faith and environment here in Montana. Many of you attended the conference, and have been part of the continued effort to build a statewide network and movement for faith-based advocacy and education around these issues - thank you for all that you're doing! Here's the most recent update from Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson, our coordinator.

A Big Step Forward: Becoming Montana Interfaith Power and Light

The final session of the FSCA Conference in 2018 was a strategic planning meeting to determine what folks were interested in doing going forward. Six action groups were formed, one of which was a Statewide Steering Committee which committed to becoming the overall umbrella for all the coalition efforts in the future and would take steps to form a nonprofit organization and be formally affiliated with Interfaith Power and Light. This is a very exciting development, because as an IPL affiliate, we will be connected to a national network of people of faith, and will have access to a great depth of resources that we can offer to congregations and local groups across Montana. This committee held a strategic planning retreat in July, 2019 and have adopted a vision and mission statement. The first board meeting will be August, 2019 and we will begin the process of adopting a set of By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation so that we can begin the process of becoming a 501c3. Two members of the committee attended the national Annual Interfaith Power and Light conference in Baltimore this spring and also met with each member of our Montana congressional delegation. A Montana IPL website is also in the works, which we'll share as soon as it's up and running! Look for further updates in the next edition of this newsletter.

Other Exciting Developments

  1. Conference Committee for 2020 – The date for the next FSCA conference is tentatively set for September 25-26, 2020 at The Emerson in Bozeman. Look for a Google survey that will be coming to you in your email as we look for input on themes and content. 

  2. Ritual Grief Group – This group has set aside November 15-17 to offer a ritual grief facilitation training that will empower attendees with the foundational skills to hold ongoing ritual grief circles, taught by Shauna Janz. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to us at for an application. For early bird pricing ($380), please apply by October 1st, 2019. To learn more about Shauna and her work, visit her website at

  3. OpEd and Call to Action – Immediately after the conference, we sent a letter signed by many of the conference attendees, with a contingent that was going to Washington DC to meet with our congressional delegates. This OpEd group has continued to write regular letters to editors and is publishing these letters in various newspapers across the state. Here's one recent letter: Community of Faith: Be light for a sustainable future

  4. Solar Panel Interest Group – has been assisting various churches to make applications for solar panels. Churches as well as individual members have been given grants to get panels installed on their faith buildings and the work continues to grow. 

  5. Climate Action Advocacy has been taken over primarily by the Faith and Climate Action Montana group based in Missoula. They have committed to a regular newsletter and will keep us all abreast of the actions that we can support at the state and federal levels.

How can I join these efforts?

We are working to expand participation around the state with each of these groups, and are also looking for faith communities to partner with the newly forming Montana Interfaith Power and Light. Most of our meetings are conducted using Zoom, so you can attend remotely. A website is being developed that will link all of these groups together . It’s been a little like herding cats, but we have a great sense of accomplishment as the picture of what climate action collaborating between faith groups and scientists is beginning to look like in Montana.

Please consider asking for a presentation about what your congregation can do to decrease its carbon footprint. Or you might be interested in a film screening of Paris to Pittsburgh documentary or another film with your local congregation. Stay tuned for more information and opportunities to join and grow this new Montana Interfaith Power and Light effort in the near future.

Thanks for all you each do every day to repair and lessen the harm we are doing to Earth, our fragile, island home. Remember: There is no Planet B.


The Rev. Connie Campbell-Pearson

Recent Climate & Creation Care Happenings

There's a lot happening around Montana on faith and climate action!

  • In June, the Montana Synod of the ELCA passed a Climate change Resolution! This resolution is one of the first of its kind in the ELCA, and commits the synod to partnering with ecumenical advocacy groups such as Montana Interfaith Power and Light, as well as establishing a Climate Change and Creation Care Task Force that will develop recommended actions for the synod administration and member congregations. Thank you to Rev. Eric Huseth and Rev. John Lund for drafting the resolution and advocating for its adoption.
  • Will Wright, a member of the Montana IPL steering committee, is one of the main authors of an amicus brief in the Juliana vs. United States case. From Will:

    "In Juliana v. United States, twenty-one children are collectively suing the federal government on the basis that they are being denied their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property because the executive branch is making decisions that lock the economy into a fossil fuel regime and thus destabilize a healthy climate. The Trump administration asked the Juliana case to be dismissed partly on the grounds that the Constitution contains nothing about a right to a stable climate. In preparing our amicus curiae "friend of the court" brief, I worked with Dr. Mark Fiege and one other scholar, and we argued that an intergenerational right to environmental stability was an implicit for Americans from the time of the Revolutionary and Founding era to the present. In June 2019, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard opening arguments from both sides to decide whether or not to proceed to a full trial--if a favorable ruling is secured, the Juliana case holds the potential to become the Brown v. Board of the climate justice movement. "  Read more about the case HERE and read the Brief for 78 environmental historians and other amicus briefs in the case.
  • Dr. Lori Byron of Hardin took part in a Pecha Kucha night in Bozeman in April, where participants have the challenge of communicating an idea using a presentation that is 20 slides long, with only 20 seconds per slide. Lori's topic was Climate Change, Health and Divestment - check it out HERE.
  • Dr. Byron also has also helped lead the creation of a new group, Montana Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate. This group recently published an OpEd in 4 of the newspapers in Montana about the recent US Call to Action for climate, health, and equity: read it HERE.
  • Earlier this summer, Angela's Piazza in Billings installed solar panels! More about the story, from Sister Pat Funderhide:

    Angela’s Piazza is a drop-in center dedicated to the support, education and empowerment of women. Our mission is to provide an environment where women can come to learn to live safer, better lives free from addictions and violence by discovering self-confidence, courage and hope through domestic violence programs and programs that encourage spiritual and emotional healing. 

    What do the solar panels have to do with this?  Everything!! We share a common home – the Planet Earth.  Right now it is obvious that our “home” is suffering and is calling out for change.  All people rich and poor can see this with the increase in the number and violence of our storms.  It is a concern for all, but since the poor will feel the effects the most, it is especially daunting.  We must all begin to change our patterns of living in order to hopefully stop, or at least lessen these effects.

    Angela’s Piazza has done some workshops on the environment to inform the women coming to Angela’s Piazza of this crisis.  One of our groups is Eco-Angela. The group reads, discusses and at times promotes some activities to help educate and support people who are concerned. So why the solar panels?  Because we can. We are grateful to WinPower West, Knife River, Earth Works Excavation, Pacific Steel, PAR Electrical Contractors and Lesman Iron Works for digging the hole, the steel pipe and mount.  Alpha Graphics is donating the sign which is mounted in the middle. We are excitedly awaiting the completion. This will be another opportunity to educate on “renewable energy”.

Know of other good news items? Let us know so we can include it in the next newsletter.

A number of faith-based facilities in Montana have installed solar recently, such as Angela's Piazza and St. James Episcopal Church in Lewistown, pictured here.

Resources, Articles & Good News Items

Videos & Podcasts

Food, Agriculture & Climate Change Resources
This was a topic of particular interest among folks who attended the conference. Here are some recent books and articles.

Good News Items

Climate momentum here in Montana:

Further afield:

Upcoming Events


Take part in the Global Climate Strike on September 20 and week of action, Sept 20-27! Events are happening all over the world, including in Montana: here are a few ways to take part.

  • Gallatin Valley Climate Strike, March and Rally: Join the Global #ClimateStrike on September 20th in Bozeman, when participants will march, demand the city and state declare a climate emergency and make climate action a top priority, listen to motivating speakers, and have fun with live music and stories.  The event is being organized by Sunrise Movement Gallatin County, and many other environmental and social justice organizations, school kids, parents, grandparents, and all who care about a livable future.  Montana Faith & Environment Coalition member Will Wright is an organizer, with the Rev. Valerie Webster and Pastor Jody Devitt will be speaking at the event.  Our hope is to come together to stop climate change and create a better, greener, and more inclusive economy and a better future for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

  • Planning is also in progress for events in Missoula on September 20, as well as activities through the week of Sept 21-28. Bookmark this site and check back for further details coming soon.

  • Organize a strike, rally, or other solidarity actions in your community! Ideas can be found on the global climate strike website.
  • Learn more about the student climate strike movement and how it got started in this web documentary.
Learn about clean energy in Montana and how you can be part of the transition to a clean energy future at these upcoming events in local communities:
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