The following is a recent communication from SUWA, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. I was involved with them in the seeding of conversation as a way to bring faith communities together in support of protecting wilderness. And then they ran with the conversations. I love seeing this, now a year later because of the action it shows and the community that it reveals. It is a story for me that begins with “from simple beginnings….”
United by belief in the spiritual value of wilderness, people from diverse religious traditions have come together in a call to protect Utah’s wild lands. On April 21st, the day before Earth Day, representatives from ten Utah faith and their supporters released an interfaith statement about the spiritual importance of Utah’s wild lands and the need for action to protect these special places.
After a brief news conference, the group delivered copies of the interfaith statement to the offices of Utah Senators Bennett and Hatch along with a letter requesting a meeting to discuss wilderness issues. The same request was sent to the offices of Utah’s Congressmen.
Development of the interfaith statement has been taking shape over the past year through “Faith and the Land” dialogues held in a variety of religious settings. These forums brought together members of the Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Islamic, Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Methodist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ faith communities. More than 230 people took part. Participants discovered that, though their religious practices might vary, they stood on common ground in their respect for creation and the natural world.
Leaders of the project see the development of the interfaith statement as a starting point for communities of faith throughout Utah and the nation to begin a conversation about ways to honor nature and protect America’s redrock wilderness. If you are part of a community of faith and would like to participate in the project, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working together we can preserve Utah’s amazing redrock wilderness!