McKibben: From Sunday School to Sit-Down & Jail


Sunday evening, May 21 --

Please join us to meet Bill McKibben, 

“Sow Seeds of Transformative Leadership”

To register, click here:



If  possible, please come in person -- you'll learn more and sing more heartfully.

Or even if you cannot make it to Philadelphia. to contribute your personal message of hope and honor to the Tribute Book being assembled for this event. -- The Tribute Book goes to press Monday, May 8 -- so register NOW and submit the text of your  tribute TODAY. (It can honor our three honorees, or the work of The Shalom Center, or your own kid who is graduating into a world we need to heal, or ---- as you like).

However you help, you make it possible to advance The Shalom Center’s work in taking on our own new transformative direction.

AND – you get to honor and to learn fom Bill McKibben, Bishop Dwayne Royster, and Sophia Wilansky. We have written about two of them already; here is what drew us in the first place to honor Bill:

Bill McKibben -- world-renowned leader of and of campaigns against the Keystone XL Tar Sands dirty-oil Pipeline  -- is now exploring the next steps to resist the Trumpian feverish insistence on wrecking Mother Earth and subjecting our kids to lead and mercury poisoning.

His road to eco-activism began by teaching Sunday school.  “In my Sunday school class,” he said, “We tended to do a lot of hiking. We always celebrated St. Francis Day. We’d bring in everybody’s pets to get blessed, but also I would make sure that the children brought in representative fauna from the forest—mosquitoes and snakes too—just to make the point that it’s all creation and it’s all blessed.

From there, his life-path led to his creative work first in shaping the world-wide events, and then in leading the opposition to the XL Tar Sands Dirty-Oil Pipeline.

One of the crucial moments in his work was the demonstration in 2011 at the White House against President Obama’s support for the Tar Sands dirtiest-oil Pipeline. As  McKibben wrote, 

“The police, surprised by how many people turned out on the first day of two weeks of protests at the White House, decided to teach us a lesson. As they told our legal team, they wanted to deter anyone else from coming -- and so with our first crew they were… kind of harsh. We spent three days in D.C.’s Central Cell Block…. You lie on a metal rack with no mattress or bedding and sweat in the high heat; the din is incessant; there’s one baloney sandwich with a cup of water every 12 hours.

“ It’s only now, out 12 hours and with a good night’s sleep under my belt, that I’m able to think straight.”

And he wrote poignantly of how his deep respect for Martin Luther King had grown even greater as he realized under what conditions King was able to write the “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

The police miscalculated. The three-day jailing, far from deterring protest,  brought more attention, more energy, and more resistance.  The Tar Sands Pipeline became a national issue. And after years of growing protest, President Obama finally vetoed the Pipeline. But like a hydra with a dozen poisonous heads  --  even though most had been cut off, a few still survived long enough to be revived by President Trump.

Meanwhile, McKibben went forward. He mobilized what became widespread movements, especially on campuses,  to divest from the Carbon Pharaohs. In 2016, he wrote writing transformative planet-defending commitments into the Democratic Party platform as one of  Bernie Sanders’ nominees to the Platform Committee.  He threw his pen and his presence into the People’s Climate March just past.

 Now, after the Climate March, comes the even harder part: Facing the Trump presidency, is “resistance” enough? Is there any way forward? How can we connect the Climate issue to all the others now on the chopping block?  Here is Bill with Aaron Mair, head of the Sierra Club.

So we welcome you to hear Bill’s thoughts about these questions, along with those of Bishop Royster and Sophia Wilansky, at The Shalom Center ‘s “Sowing Seeds of Transformative Leadership” gathering on Sunday evening, May 21. Please register now by clicking here:

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 I look forward to seeing you then – to honor, to learn, to sing, to renew our selves and our commitment to Mother Earth and our grandchildren.

 Shalom, salaam, peace, Earth!  --  Arthur


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