had snow here, and looking out my window I can see the ridges of this hollow
reflecting the morning sun with the brown oak trees and occasional white pines.
It is bitter cold, and a good day to stay inside and reflect on this past year
and prepare for another one.
I remember writing in my first
letter of 2011 that I thought it was going to be a “watershed year, one we
would always remember….” (All past letters are online at www.ecochaplaincy.net) How true that
turned out to be! I was on duty full time as an eco-chaplain at many different
gatherings, camps, protests, marches, meetings, etc., and that could not have
happened without all of your support. Thank-you!
In this past year was a full one
for the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative. With
my Eco-Chaplain hat on, I offered workshops on Sustaining Activism, Self-Care,
and Community Conflict Resolution numerous
times. I helped organizers vent and access feelings in times of high stress to
help promote communication, and was available for many on-the-spot mediations.
I facilitated both organized and ad-hoc “De-escalation Trainings” for dealing
with polarized situations, and offered “Peacekeeping and Nonviolent Direct
Action” trainings too. I co-led interfaith worship services at many gatherings,
and a wake and memorial service for Judy Bonds with Mountain Justice. There
were individual counseling sessions, and a good number of active empathy and listening
sessions. At the end of the March on Blair Mountain I had the great joy of tying
red solidarity string around the wrists of many of yall, which lived on past
the march as a reminder of our strength together as a movement, and so much
more. I still get facebook messages or e mails from people as the red bands
disintegrate or fall off, telling me what it has meant for them, and I love
every single message. I have enjoyed corresponding with people who are
exploring similar ideas, and I look forward to publishing more writing about it
as a field, as well as teaching and expanding this work. I believe that
eco-chaplaincy is a vital new part in the field of pastoral support and active
There is something so potent about
following a calling. It has worked me in many ways. Sometimes I feel I am like the
clay which I throw daily on the wheel, being formed by a calling which is
revealing more and more of its intentions as I go. I have loved creating,
shaping, manifesting eco-chaplaincy, and I am so grateful for all of your
support in forming the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative. Please consider extending
that support into 2012 and donate today! Donations can be made online at http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html or through the mail. I really want to continue this work and need your help.
We began the year in this country
by Occupying Madison, then Blair Mountain, and followed up with Occupying Wall
Street, Your Street, Our Hearts…etc. The
movement goes on and on. I am so impressed with all of the organizers
throughout this region and country who made it through this past year! It was
epic, and I think that the “Protestor” who is the Time Magazine person of the
year includes all of us. Good work!
If you have benefitted from my work as an eco-chaplain in this past
year, and/or if you believe in this work and want it to continue, please donate
toward the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative today http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html.
I will send handmade pottery to
anyone who can donate more than $150, and will send bundles of joy to all of
you who can pitch in. Please consider becoming a monthly donor. If twenty or
more friends can all donate $50/month the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative can survive
All donations are tax-deductible
and can be made online at: http://www.ecochaplaincy.net/donate.html or in the mail to Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative, PO Box 890, Swannanoa, NC 28778.
I look forward to another year of
actively working as an eco-chaplain and growing the Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative.
Happy New Year!
Love and Solidarity,
Sarah Vekasi, M.Div.
PO Box 890
Swannanoa, NC 28778