“ANSWERING THE CALL: An Interfaith Gathering for Climate Action”

A Response to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Message

“Climate change is a problem that can no longer be left to future generations.” Pope Francis, speaking at the White House, September 23, 2015

Answering the Call: An Interfaith Gathering for Climate Action will take place on October 12th from 6:30-9 pm at Temple Beth Elohim (10 Bethel Road) in Wellesley. Inspired by the message of Pope Francis in his encyclical letter Laudato Sí: On Care for Our Common Home, people of many faiths will join together in shared appreciation for creation, and with shared determination to take action to protect it. The event kicks-off an interfaith coalition to “answer the call” to act on climate change, and to ensure a clean and equitable energy future in Massachusetts.

Confirmed speakers to date, and their roles in the program:

  • Father Bryan Hehir – keynote speaker – The Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard Kennedy School and the Secretary for Health Care and Social Services in the Archdiocese of Boston
  • Rabbi Joel Sisenwine – welcome – Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Elohim, Wellesley
  • Imam Ismail Fenni – opening prayer/invocation – Imam at the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge
  • Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman – master of ceremonies – Assistant Rabbi for Engagement at Temple Sinai
  • Father Robert VerEecke – “Creation” dance and remarks – Pastor, St. Ignatius of Loyola in Chestnut Hill; Jesuit Artist-in-Residence at Boston College; Director of Boston Liturgical


  • Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas – remarks – Episcopal priest and Missioner for Creation Care in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
  • Mariama White-Hammond – remarks – Minister-in-Training, Bethel AME Church in Jamaica Plain
  • Rev. Fred Small – remarks – Minister of First Parish in Cambridge (UU) and founder of the Creation Coalition
  • Rabbi Rachel Saphire – remarks – Associate Rabbi at Temple Beth Elohim

    Originally conceived of as a small interfaith gathering by members of the Wellesley Village Church, UCC, the event has now grown to include 39 Boston area congregations and faith organizations that have signed on as sponsors and supporters.

    “As a Jesuit priest and pastor of a Jesuit parish (St. Ignatius of Loyola, Chestnut Hill) how could I not answer the call from the first Jesuit Pope to care for our common home?” said Father VerEecke, Jesuit Artist-in-Residence at Boston College for the past 25 years. “I am profoundly moved to be part of this ecumenical event, inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Sí,” VerEecke said.

Monday, October 12th. Sign in at 6:30 pm. Event 7 – 9 pm

Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley

Visiting the US this week, Pope Francis is inspiring people of all faiths to take action to tackle climate change, saying today at the White House, “We have defaulted on a promissory note and now is the time to honor it.” He has called on everyone to respond to the challenge of climate change as an issue of moral imperative and social justice with “a new and universal solidarity.”

At the October 12 event — part service, part forum, and part rally – people will gather to learn:

  • What Pope Francis is telling us about the connection between faith, social justice, and climate change;
  • What the call to action on climate means to people of faith in Massachusetts, and what the practical response looks like in our communities;
  • What we can accomplish together as people of faith that we cannot accomplish alone!

    To be part of this special interfaith event – where messages of hope will be shared, as well as inspiration, and action for healing our world will be offered – please RSVP at www.tbewellesley.org/climate. More information, and a current list of speakers and sponsors can be found on that website or on Facebook.

    DETAILS:Monday, October 12th
    Welcoming Reception & Sign-in: 6:30pm
    Program: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
    Temple Beth Elohim 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley
    Event co-chairs: Amy Benjamin, Temple Beth Elohim and Lise Olney of Unitarian Universalists of Wellesley.