My name is Nikkeya Berryhill. Although I am originally from the Midwest–most recently from Milwaukee, WI, I am currently living in Berkeley, CA where I am finishing my MDiv at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. This fall, I will begin my vicarship at Salt & Light Lutheran Church in Portland, OR. This vicarship placement will give me the opportunity to learn and do community organizing while witnessing the ins and outs of being a pastor.
I am an empathetic, creative, kind, fun, imaginative, and open person with a spirit geared towards growth and wellness for all people. I am on the journey to become a pastor because I want to help people see God at work in their lives and I want to witness God at work in the lives of others. I enjoy painting, writing, singing, dreaming, imagining, creating, studying, reading, being outside, drinking coffee, and being with people.
I applied to join the EcoFaith Practicum because of my desire to learn community organizing skills around climate change. I see how climate change disproportionately affects people of color and how zoning laws and policies contribute to this. I want to use community organizing tools to make policy change in areas most-affected by climate change. I also know that the church needs to be a forerunner in this movement towards restoring the planet. I hope that through working with EcoFaith, I will gain the skills to be able to affect change in big ways.
Current Engagement with The Practices
Currently, I engage in writing liturgies that seek to Restore Balance and Access Spiritual Power. These involve looking at ways that God is present in our lives. The words and rituals creatively help us to see how we are connected to God, the earth, and to one another, while also looking at ways we have neglected these relationships and our oneness.
I am looking forward to the practices to Develop Relationships, Discover Our Stories, and Act Together. This building of relationships through story and action is valuable because these are tools I want to develop as a pastor and organizer. I would also like to reflect on ways power is used and shift this power towards policy change for climate justice.
I would like to engage in a congregational campaign that addresses policies affecting those who are unhoused. In Berkeley, people are constantly displaced-being kicked off of their encampments by police. I would like to work with churches that address the issues behind these displacements–including unemployment, systemic racism, ecological racism, and poverty.
I am also interested in creative ways to bring eco-justice practices to faith communities. I would like to create church services and rituals that draw our attention to the climate and the systemic injustices related to it, renounce our complicity in these systems, and work towards transformation.