NRCCC Events

THE 2023 PRAYER BREAKFAST 
OCTOBER 16 AT THE WILLARD HOTEL, WASHINGTON, DC, 10 AM.

Annual Washington Week Events and Prayer Breakfast 2023

Every year since 1999, leaders from religious institutions of America have gathered together to pray for and to invoke blessings and healing upon our nation and the entire world.

Typically, after the breakfast, some participate in other meetings while in Washington. An afternoon meeting was held between EcoAmerica and NRCCC leadership to discuss future collaborations. SEE HERE FOR REPORT.
The following afternoon (Oct. 17), some participated in a meeting with the White House Council on Environmental Quality.  SEE HERE FOR REPORT.

The National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (nrccc.org) held its 22nd Annual Prayer Breakfast on October 16, 1948, at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington, DC. The Christians, Jews, Muslims participants enjoyed congenial breakfast fellowship, listened to inspiring talks, and prayed.

This year’s theme: E Pluribus Unum. While this is our national motto and it appears on the Great Seal of the nation, it also has a deep religious meaning. On the surface this is “out of many, one.” Setting aside our religious and theological differences, we gathered united in our recognition of our common God-created humanity and our responsibility for the Earth as our common home.

Dr. Richard Miller capably Dr. Richard Milleremceed our gathering. Miller is Professor of Theology at Creighton University and head of Planetary Emergency Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.  He is passionate about addressing climate change.

Every participant introduced herself or himself to all of us.

Fred Krueger Alicia KruegerFred Krueger, Founder and Executive Coordinator of NRCCC, gave an overview of the history, purpose, and Interfaith Protocol of NRCCC. Krueger has been suffering a bout of Bell’s Palsy that has paralyzed half his face, limited his vision, and brought fatigue. Nonetheless, Krueger was upbeat and welcoming throughout the breakfast gathering. His daughter, Alicia, ran the registration and welcoming table. She has a new business that recycles farm and industrial waste.
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Opening prayers were led by Allen Johnson, Christians For The Mountains; Rabbi Merele Goldsmith, Jewish Earth Alliance; Marybeth Lorbiecki, Interfaith Oceans.

Allen Johnson     Mirrelle Goldsmith prays    Marybeth Lorbiecki prays

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Lise Van SusterenLise Van Susteren, MD, inspired us with her motivating keynote address. Van Susteren is a private practice forensic psychiatrist living in Bethesda, Maryland. She is founder of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, serves on numerous Boards, and has published on the psychological trauma of climate anxiety and also Covid anxiety. She is the expert witness for the lawsuits by Our Children’s Trust that assert future generations have a constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment.”
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Next on the agenda was recognition of Rev. Owen Owens, Rabbi Warren Stone, and Rev. Gerald Durley as key pioneers of the Religion and Ecology Movement.

Rabbis Fred Dobb and Warren StoneRabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb brought smiles to our faces with storytelling introduction of Rabbi Warren Stone. Dobb is Chair of Coalition on  the Environment and Jewish Life COEJL, and served as the rabbi at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD since 1997. He is the immediate past Chairperson of Maryland/Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light and past President of the Washington Board of Rabbis.
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Rabbi Warren Stone is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Maryland. He has been exceptional in leading his congregation and influencing many others to actively engage climate. He became a Co-chair of NRCCC soon after its founding. Stone read from Psalm 24 and then a short heart-cry message from high school’s students on creation.

Rev. Gerald DurleyRev. Dr. Gerald Durley was unable to participate in this year’s Prayer Breakfast. As a young man, Durley was active in the Civil Rights Movement alongside Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.  Gerald Durley is a passionate, effective advocate addressing climate. He serves as a Board Member of Interfaith Power & Light.

Allen Johnson, Co-founder of Christians For The Mountains, introduced Rev. Owen Owens, Co-Chair of NRCCC, with highlights of his service. One story is how Owens organized the restoration of streams to once again be trout habitat in the Philadelphia area. Owens was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; however, he has continued his exuberance for life and visionary foreword projects.

Rev. Owen OwensRev. Owen Owens spoke with passion on the need for deep repentance during this era of violence, environmental destruction, and division.  We must come together. Owens emphasizes continued turning to God in prayer.

VIDEO        TRANSCRIPT OF SPEECH

Presenting Award to Rich CizikAllen Johnson introduced Rev. Richard Cizik as 2023 “Steward of God’s Creation.”  During his time as VP for Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), Cizik had a change of belief to embrace climate science. After withdrawing from the NAE, Cizik formed the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good and then Evangelicals For Democracy.

Rich CizikA spellbinding storyteller, Rev. Cizik expressed appreciation, then challenged us to courageously look squarely into truth. He emphasized to us, (1) to see clearly so as to cast a vision; (2) form a strategy to care more deeply; (3) go about to fulfill our mission.
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Danna Smith, Founder and Executive Director of the Dogwood Alliance that is based in North Carolina, gave a clear, compelling talk on the importance of forests. The southeast being the largest exporter of wood pellets to fire power European and Asian power plants to meet fossil fuel use to meet climate goals. This claim is false, wrong, and destructive. Smith urged faith communities to petition the cessation of biomass as fuel for power generation and to value forests for aesthetic, ecological, and recreational values.
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Rev. Jim AntalRev. Jim Antal, a leader in the United Church of Christ, climate activist, author, and public theologian, urged us to join together in a unified voice for the future of Earth. Rev. Antal announced a new initiative, “One Home One Future,” as a multi-faith campaign to connect local congregations nationwide in a concerted engagement on meaningful climate solutions.  https://onehomeonefuture.org
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Richard Miller urged all of us to stand for truth, underscoring remarks of previous speakers.  He then called for a time of prayer, inviting participants to pray out loud as they felt led. This powerful prayer time concluded with everyone joining in singing the hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth.”
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Some Photos of the Event

Group
Group photo. (not all present)