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Letters by Sarah Vekasi
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January 12, 2010


January 12, 2010

Dearest friends,

            I am writing with pretty big news. Well - big for me. I am engaged to marry a wonderful man named Sage (Robert) Phillips Russo! We met shortly after I moved to West Virginia this summer and decided to announce our intention to marry over Christmas when both of our families were in Maine together.

            I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic and chose to officially pop the question by way of a photo-video I put together. Watch it if you want – all the images are from my journey through the summer into fall and winter. You can see it at:

Sage helped found Mountain Justice five years ago and has worked as an organizer for Christians for the Mountains for the past few years. He too has a pastoral call and is currently a seminary student at Eastern Mennonite University where he will graduate with a MDIV as well in the spring of 2011. I can sing praises about him from sunup ‘til sundown and look forward to y’all meeting him.

We spent this long holiday time soaking each other up and focusing on family time. I had the honor of spending a week with his family over Christmas and then his parent’s drove up to Maine to spend most of a week at the Vekasi household, where we surprised (or sort-of-but-not-really surprised) everyone with our news.  As you can imagine, our days have been filled with planning of all kinds ever since, so a lot of the visiting and chatting I wanted to do while in Maine will have to wait until this spring when I come home again. We left Maine reluctantly on Sunday and arrived at Sage’s home late last night.

We plan to marry on the coast of Maine this summer, July 17th, followed two weeks later by a big potluck bash in West Virginia at the beginning of the Clifftop Appalachian String Festival. Mark your calendars now because you all are invited to West Virginia to help us celebrate our union and dance the night away – August 4th! Anyone out there who has been meaning to visit…this could be your time! We will have more information as we figure it out all at our new webpage (gasp) – www.mywedding.com/sarahandsage. What can I say? We are of the technology age!

Meanwhile, wedding plans aside, I am still deeply involved in the movement to end mountaintop removal and looking forward to offering eco-chaplaincy support throughout the region as much as possible. You may have seen mountaintop removal in the news recently. In the past week several pivotal events have occurred. First of all, the highly respected and peer-reviewed journal Science published a serious article about the long term ecological consequences of mountaintop removal mining and the valley-fill process. Link to the official article info is here: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/327/5962/148 and commentary about why this is so important hit the mainstream media far and wide, for example, the Washington Post article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/07/AR2010010702530.html?hpid=topnews. If any more evidence was needed to end this practice – well, this iced the cake so to speak.

Meanwhile, however, the EPA is beginning to move on the mountaintop mining and valley fill permits, and the agency actually approved one of the largest mine permits on hold – the Hobet 45 Mine in Lincoln County, WV. More information is at http://www.ilovemountains.org/news/647

Please take a moment to contact the White House and ask President Obama to end mountain top removal. He has the power to end Mountaintop Removal altogether and turn around the EPA’s decisions based on this scientific report. His phone number is 202-456-1454. There is a great site with talking points and info at http://www.ilovemountains.org/science/. They are trying to track how many calls are made, so if you have a second to check this site out, please do so.

I hope each of you are well during these times of global crisis and personal journeying. As you can imagine, I had the opportunity to explain my wok situation plenty of times while meeting new future family members over the holidays, and each time I was flooded with gratitude for how much support I have received from each of you, financially, socially, spiritually and physically. Thank you.

Also - I finally posted all of my letters up on my website, so if you want to send someone in my general direction or share the link, you can through http://ecochaplaincy.net/SVLetters.html.


With love and solidarity,




Sarah Vekasi, M.Div.




PO Box 765

Ansted, WV 25812