As promised in my last post, I asked my church (Lincoln Street Methodist) two days ago to endorse the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PCEF) initiative. Some folks thought yes. Others had some questions and reservations. 

Sigh. A yes is always so pleasing. 

But I’m using Ecofaith’s seven practices to take this in stride and keep moving forward.
People’s need for more discussion fills my own (huge) need to become more skilled at dialogue, not just about PCEF, but more broadly, about putting faith into action. 

1). Access spiritual power: I prayed during writing, and before delivering, my message (sermon) to my church on Earth Sunday.

2.)  Develop relationships:  I talked after the service with two fellow congregants who were not comfortable with endorsing PCEF as a church at this point. My key job was to listen.

One person wasn’t sure about the idea of using faith as a basis for any political stance, PCEF or otherwise (cited this being an instrument of abuse and oppression, both now and historically). Another felt great about PCEF, but objected to being asked to make a decision during a worship service. Valuable conversations that  taught me a lot, and deepened my relationships with two people I’ve known for years.

3.)  Discover our stories:  I told a vulnerable story in my Earth Sunday message of how I came out as a Christian earlier this year at a public, very secular TriMet meeting. (Actually, I still feel vulnerable about it as I write this. Fodder for a future blog-post.)

4.) Mentor one another: I do this weekly with Scott Shurtleff, my friend and Ecofaith co-chair on the PCEF initiative. I always come away with a boost of encouragement, hope and energy. The same is true for when I meet with Robyn Hartwig (director of Ecofatith) for co-mentoring. Without this kind of support, I wouldn’t have had the courage to ask my church to endorse PCEF. Note: I’m interested in co-mentoring with more Ecofaith folks too; let me know if you’d like to meet for a one-to-one.

5.) Take action: Done. ?. My next action is to plan an after-church forum on PCEF with my minister and lay-leader, to address questions people had, and look again at whether Lincoln Street Methodist would like to endorse PCEF.

6.)|  Reflecting on my actions: I could have prepared better for our Earth Sunday service. Though I’d given people plenty of advance notice that we’d consider endorsing the PCEF initiative during the service, I’d given little thought to certain details of the service. I  think the congregation would have needed more time on the PCEF question, whether or not we’d had the Scripture lesson properly printed out, I had practiced using our new microphone, and so forth. But regardless, I’ll prepare better in future.

7.) Restore balance: Sunday evening I went to the 6 p.m. Jazz Worship service at Augustana Lutheran with my husband Thor and two close friends. Ahhh. Rev. Mark Knutson’s message on the hugeness of God’s love for us and Marilyn Keller’s heartful singing lifted me up. I sat in the pew close to Thor, my body humming with energy.

Then we four went to dinner at nearby Petisco. I had a French 75 cocktail and some astoundingly good potato-leek soup. We talked passionately – mostly about things other than PCEF (balance! I mustn’t become a PCEF bore). In other instances, I’d restore balance by being silly with my five year old housemate Isla, or dancing or running. I’ve got to say, I really love Practice 7.


I’m attaching a song we sang at Lincoln Street Methodist on Earth Sunday. I like to write new lyrics for old hymns. Perhaps you, like me, seek a new paradigm of peace and justice rather than might and militarism. ?

Thanks and blessings,

Alison Wiley
New Battle Hymn of the Republic
lyrics by Alison Wiley

G —— / C     G  /  —– Em /  Am   D   G

Verse 1
Our eyes have seen the glory of a new paradigm:
Caring for our earth and neighbors are wed in space and time
The poor are equal to the rich and dear in Jesus’ eyes
God’s truth is marching on!

Chorus      G —  /  C  G  / —- Em  / Am  D  G

Glory, glory hallelujah x 3
God’s truth is marching on!

Verse 2

We have seen Christ in the faces of frightened refugees
From torture, war and genocide our fellow humans flee
In the spirit of our Savior, let us help them to be free
God’s truth is marching on!

Verse 3

We love not worldly powers or principalities
Nor the tried-and-failed model of mere charity
Jesus called for transformation with ringing clarity
God’s truth is marching on!

Verse 4

Our earth is warming, ev’ry day another species dies
Let us labor for our climate to be quickly stabilized
Oh be swift, our God, to guide our deeds, and make us brave and wise
God’s truth is marching on!

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