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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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Dearest friends,

            We finally 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 resistance.

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 another year.

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,



Eco-Chaplaincy Initiative
Sarah Vekasi, M.Div.
PO Box 890
Swannanoa, NC 28778
304-640-7960 cell