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October 7, 2014
A big thanks to BPFNA members Katy Friggle-Norton (who is also on the BPFNA Board) and Kate Fields who did a great job organizing BPFNA involvement in the People’s Climate March, which happened on Sunday, September 21 in New York City. Below you will find a report about the event from Katy Friggle-Norton.
By Katy Friggle-Norton
We walked behind the bold red Baptist Peace Fellowship banner, which provided a space for us to gather and to keep up with each other during the march. We were in New York City, a few of many, walking in the People’s Climate March -- 11 from Central Baptist, Wayne (although 4 were waylaid), Dick Myers and 2 others from Immanuel Baptist, Rochester, the 2 Stuarts from New Hampshire, and David Follett from Royersford Baptist (PA). Then, in the middle of the march of 400,000 people, Glenn Gall from Peace Community Church, Oberlin found us!
The Central Baptist group was let off nearly 30 blocks from the multi-faith gathering, so we got see to some of the crowd as we were making our way to meet the other BPFNA folks. Someone compared it to Mardi Gras, which captures the raucous, excited, and purposeful spirit of the people. I saw stilt-walkers and beekeepers, brass bands and drummers, song leaders and union leaders, and people of all ages -- families, elders, and many young adults. There was joy, anger, and grief in the air as well as commitment, solidarity, and passion.
The multi-faith service was difficult to hear over the crowd, although I recognized Rabbi Arthur Waskow’s voice reading his Invocation of the Universal Unity. Our small group was surrounded by Lutherans in bright green T-shirts, who had a great song leader. The fervor of his booming, resonant voice called us to join in singing -- We are Marching in the Light of God and This Little Light of Mine. When we outpaced the Lutherans, we caught up to the Hari Krishnas singing their repetitive chant and to Buddhist monks in rich orange robes. Later we found ourselves in conversation with a good-sized group from Riverside Church – celebrating the arrival of their new pastor, Rev. Amy Butler, and reminding them of their connection to BPFNA.
We walked along Central Park, by Lincoln Center, the Museum of Natural History, and Times Square -- quite a tour of New York City. We walked on the hard surfaces of street and sidewalk that beat my feet while my heart was singing, singing with wonder at the diverse community that had come together, singing with hope.
The march served its purpose: to inspire and bring together people who care about the future of our home planet / God's Creation. At the Tuesday UN Climate Summit, a number of world leaders remarked about their amazement at this great march. It was good!
Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner speaking at the Climate Summit