One of the parts that I enjoy about my ministry at Iowa IPL is the opportunity to hear the stories and experiences of Iowans of faith and conscience. Deep listening is climate action that allows us to learn from those who may not share the same views. It can help us build trust, understanding, and a way to move forward together.
At Iowa IPL, we have the opportunity to hear from a diverse set of supporters in both rural and urban communities. We listen to farmers and faith leaders and grapple with how we can all come together to care for creation and take action.
We listen so that we can empower Iowans of faith and conscience to take bold and just action for the climate crisis that is contextual to their own communities.
Last weekend Elston, Claira, and I were in Cedar Falls on Saturday for Faith in the Prairie where we got to highlight the ministry of Dr. Daryl Smith’s work to restore/reconstruct the tall grass prairie. We got to hear about the way that St. Luke’s Episcopal Church integrates prairie with the Easter Vigil and then we sent participants away with maps to explore the prairies in the surrounding counties. (A big thank you to our other partner, ThreeHouse Collaborative Campus Ministries at UNI.)
We worshiped on Sunday at our board member, Rev. Dr. Belinda Creighton-Smith’s church Faith Temple American Baptist in Waterloo where we were inspired to keep pressing forward and leveling up in our faith through the sermon and the children’s gift of song and dance. We listened and were strengthened.
After worship, we headed down to Washington County with the Diocese of Davenport for a night of lifting up the voices and concerns of farmers of faith where we listened deeply. We are grateful for all who attended and were flexible in some last minute scheduling conflicts, and more so grateful for the honesty and authenticity of those who spoke their truth. I continue to pray and reflect on what we heard, what was shared, and how we can keep finding ways to move forward together in love for creation.
As Elston, Claira, and myself drove home after a full weekend of climate action we sat in silence mulling over the events of the weekend. We listened to each other and now we are doing the work of integrating what we heard into our work.
And moreover, it reminded me again that deep listening is climate action and a way to invite more people into the conversation. It’s a way to learn and grow that can be uncomfortable and liberating.