By Rev. Joan Fumetti, Windsor Heights

Youth from First Unitarian Church of Des Moines sharing their statement of being called to climate action on this year’s annual appeal letter.

Something holy happens when our lives escape their narrow bounds and a dedication to the common good takes root in us. Something holy and often surprising.

That’s how it was for a number of us who gathered to help Matt Russell, Iowa IPL’s executive director, get out the year-end appeal inviting support of Iowa IPL. This year’s appeal includes a personal note from young Iowans, inviting all of us to support the work Iowa IPL.

The youth group at First Unitarian Church of Des Moines got started on the appeal letters. Then I joined another group of volunteers to continue the work. Half a dozen Iowa college students had written brief statements about how their faith calls them to take bold and just action on climate change. It was our job to transcribe their words so that each letter included a handwritten statement from this generation now stepping into adulthood in this time of extraordinary challenge and possibility.

We were mostly a group of folks who’d been around for a good number of years and who had been working in a variety of ways to do our part in caring for our common home. We sat together for a of couple hours, transcribing the student’s words, then divided up the remaining letters to finish at home.

I gathered up the completed packets a few days later. What I heard was this experience was surprisingly meaningful to those of us transcribing the words of young climate leaders. With each letter, the process became less secretarial and more prayerful. We were touched by the students’ sincerity as they wrote of how “we can join together in faith and authentic action” and of “caring for the earth to ensure future generations have a home to love”. Their words spoke of empowerment, focus and of a sense of vocation that is deepened in community.

We felt connected to them across the generational years and heartened by the openness of their spirits and the depth of their sense of call. We found ourselves in the role of ally to these sisters and brothers who as the years unfold will be doing the heavy lifting, correcting the trajectory of humankind’s presence on Earth to one that is mutually beneficial to all of creation.

The other thing I heard from my transcriber friends was gratitude. We were grateful for this invitation into partnership with Iowa IPL and thus with these young people, with farmers who are stepping up with on-farm solutions, with those advocating for policies that take the long view in caring for creation. This is a partnership in which we find opportunities that are not pre-formed but that come as a call within us as each morning we count the cost of our arising, and ask, “What is mine to do today?”

It is a holy thing, and often surprising, to see how the pieces fit together when we each do our part. Richard Rohr writes of the Beloved Community as encompassing all of creation. We were touched by a taste of that in our simple, prayerful work. May you taste it too as you receive your annual appeal letter or read one online and discern what is yours to do today.