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Episcopal Vermont Rises for Water Justice

Episcopal Vermont rises for Water Justice!

Congregations offer global conference, guidance from local experts 

This article was updated on March 14, 2017, at 2:10 PM with an additional location to attend the event!

Water. How can something so crucial to survival be so easily taken for granted? With a sharp focus on the need for faithful response to access, droughts, pollution, rising tides, and flooding, Trinity Institute of New York will be hosting “Water Justice” a global conference for individuals, congregations, and the larger faith community. Additionally, three Vermont Episcopal parishes will be live-streaming the event locally. All are welcome to attend the webcasts on Thursday, March 23, and Friday, March 24, 2017, at the following locations:

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 2 Cherry Street, Burlington, VT
Register online at or call (802) 864-0471.

St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 16 Bradley Avenue, Brattleboro, VT
Please call (802) 254-6048 to register or obtain additional information.

St. John’s in the Mountains, 1944 Mountain Rd., Stowe. Please call (802) 253-7578 to register or obtain additional information.

St. James Episcopal Church, 2 St James Place, Woodstock, VT
Please call (802) 457-1727 to register or obtain additional information.

Water Justice offers a deeper appreciation for water as a sacred gift, a thorough understanding of the relationship between water justice and climate change, and actionable guidance for those seeking to make a difference.

In addition to the webcasts, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul will be presenting (live) the following panel of experts on Thursday from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in the Cathedral Parish Hall:

Rebekah Weber, Lake Champlain Lakekeeper | The Conservation Law Foundation
Weber advocates clean water and partners with community groups to address challenges throughout the watershed. Prior to CLF, Weber was a Fulbright-Clinton fellow in Nepal where she focused on food and water policy. Previously, Weber served as an AmeriCorps member collaborating with watershed groups in northern Vermont and worked for U.S. Senator Leahy on agricultural and environmental policy. Weber holds an M.A. degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont Law School and an M.S. in conservation biology from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She resides in Burlington.

James Ehlers, Executive Director | Lake Champlain International
Ehlers has been the Executive Director at LCI for more than a decade. He holds over 20 years of experience with water quality and conservation issues.

– or –

Juliana Dixon, Program Director | Lake Champlain International
Dixon was raised in rural Northern California on woods and waters. With a passion for ensuring access to the same natural childhood for all children, she has came to LCI seeking to preserve and protect the watershed of Lake Champlain.  Dixon holds a B.S. in Environmental Science, and an M.S. in Sustainable Agricultural Development. She has worked on a local food systems campaign, promoting a Land Trust, as a developer for a Forest School, and as a Park Ranger at Sand Bar.

Marty Illick | Lewis Creek Association/LaPlatte Watershed Partnership
Illick has been working with the Lewis Creek Association since its inception in 1990, and other Vermont environmental initiatives since 1975. She is a research and development consultant in the organic agriculture and food industry, a board member of the Charlotte Land Trust, Addison County RiverWatch Collaborative, LaPlatte Watershed Partnership, and a commissioner of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. Illick works with manufacturing businesses and nonprofits that promote socially and environmentally sound services and products, and communities to promote ecologically based community planning and citizen activism. Illick’s academic studies include cultural anthropology, sociology, nutrition science, and food product development.

Representative James McCollough | Chittenden 2, Williston: House committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources, Vice Chair. McCollough was born in Burlington, Vermont, on July 14, 1945, and has been a lifelong resident of Williston. He was educated at UVM, Burlington, Vermont where he received a B.S. in Agriculture, 1972. McCollough is married to Lucille B. Pugh, and they have three daughters and four grandchildren. He is a member of F&AM North Star #12; Justice of the Peace; Green Mountain Athletic Club; Green Mountain Bicycle Club; Green Mountain Club; Vermont Mountain Bike Advocates; Vermont Natural Resources Council; Vermont Coverts; Vermont Woodlands Association; Williston Historical Society; Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition. He has also served as Member of the House: 2003-2004 (Clerk, House Transportation), 2005-2006, 2007- 2008, 2009-2010, 2011- 2012 (Vice Chair, Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources), 2013-2014.

Speakers at this year’s global conference include:

Senator Barbara Boxer is a national leader on environmental protection who served in the House of Representatives for 10 years before becoming a U.S. Senator in 1993. After four terms as a California senator, she stepped down in 2017 and continues to advocate for environmental justice. Her numerous efforts to create a cleaner, healthier environment and address the threats of climate change include fighting to remove arsenic from drinking water and authoring an amendment to ensure that drinking water standards protect children. She is the author of several books, includingThe Art of Tough: Fearlessly Facing Politics and Life.

Maude Barlow is a political activist, author, policy critic and a former United Nations Senior Advisor on Water. She also chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch and is a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council. She has been featured in several documentaries about water and is the author or coauthor of sixteen books, including Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water.

Winston Halapua is the Archbishop and Primate of the Diocese of Polynesia and Aotearoa New Zealand, responsible for a number of New Zealand-based Samoan, Tongan, Indo-Fijian and Fijian congregations. The author of Waves of God’s Embrace, an exploration of the people of Polynesisa and their profound connection with the ocean, he has also published works in the areas of sociology, ecology and theology.

Katharine Hayhoe, PhD, is a climate scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, part of the Department of Interior’s South-Central Climate Science Center. Together with her husband, pastor and bestselling author Andrew Farley, she wrote A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, which addresses many long-held misconceptions about global warming.

Christiania Peppard, PhD, is an expert on the ethics of fresh water and problems of climate change, social justice and sustainability; a public intellectual; and a public/social media educator. Dr. Peppard is the author of Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and the Global Water Crisis (2014); co-editor of two volumes, including Just Sustainability: Ecology, Technology and Resource Extraction; and the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles on environmental ethics in an era of economic globalization. Her public media work includes venues such as TED-Ed, The New Republic, Public Radio International, The Washingon Post, MSNBC and

Thabo Makgoba is the Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa. He has served as the chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, and in that role convened a global gathering of bishops in 2015. He also attended the UN’s climate talks in Paris as a Global Climate Ambassador of the ACT Alliance, which is an international ecumenical grouping of churches and faith-based organizations concerned with development.

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