Speaker Series to focus on the intersections of faith and climate change

February 22, 2022

What: The fifth annual James Sawers Jr. Speaker Series presented by the Charleston Interreligious Council (www.CICouncil.org).

Headlined by Drs. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, senior Lecturers and Research Scholars at Yale University and co-directors of the Forum on Religion, the series of presentations will focus on the intersections of religion and the environmental crisis. In addition to the keynote address on the growing movements of religion in ecology, it will explore the effect of climate change in the lowcountry, the work of local activists, and how faith leaders and communities are responding to the crisis. The series of free lectures and workshops are open to the public and will be held March 3-5, 2022 at locations around downtown Charleston.

Why: The 2022 speaker series, named for the late Dr. James Sawers Jr., who served as president for the Christian-Jewish Council of Greater Charleston, was created to explore issues in contemporary American religion. Dr. Sawers, an ordained minister and scientist, was particularly interested in the intersection of Science and Religion.

Who: All events are free and open to the public. Those of all or no faith and/or religious background are welcome to attend to be part of the conversation. Registration for the Thursday, March 3 Keynote Address and meal is required: bit.ly/faithandclimatechs. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the growing movements of religion and ecology, the effects of climate change on marginalized communities in the lowcountry, the work of local activists and of faith leaders.

In addition to the Keynote Speakers, we will hear from local activists and faith leaders, including Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation, Omar Muhammed, director of Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities (LAMC), recently named one of 12 Black Leaders you should know by the Post and Courier, Alecia Brewster, Program Director of SC Interfaith Power and Light and Sustaining Way, and Regina Scott Saunders, founder of Destiny Community Café, a pay what you can café in North Charleston.

Where: The James Sawers Jr. Interfaith Speaker Series includes four events:

A Conversation with Students on “Cosmovision and Ecology”

Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 2 p.m.

Stern Center Garden, 71 George Street) Charleston, SC 29424

This gathering of speakers and students offers the opportunity for youth to engage with, share ideas and plan with our visiting scholars. A light vegetarian snack will be offered.

Keynote Address “The Integration of Ecospirituality and Ecojustice”

Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 6:30pm

Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, 342 Meeting Street, Charleston, SC 29403

Registration required bit.ly/faithandclimatechs

The call for environmental justice for communities adversely affected by pollution and climate change is rising. At the same time ecospirituality is showing us how we are part of a living Earth community. This talk explores these growing movements in religion and ecology.

A light meal will be offered following the keynote by ReGina Scott Saunders, Soul Food Chef and founder of Destiny Community Café. Registration is required: bit.ly/faithandclimatechs

A Panel Discussion on “Interfaith, Ecojustice and Local Community Activism”

Friday, March 4, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.

Arnold Hall, Jewish Studies Bldg., 1st Floor, 96 Wentworth St, Charleston, SC 29424

This panel discussion will focus on local activists weighing in on the climate crisis, how it is affecting marginalized communities in the lowcountry and ways their organizations and communities are responding to it.

Speakers include:

John Grim, Co-Director, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology,

Alecia Brewster, SC Interfaith Power and Light and Poor People’s Campaign,

Omar Muhammad, Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities,

Regina Saunders, Destiny Community Café and

Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (via Zoom).

Moderated by Dr. Breanna Keegan, College of Charleston Department of Religious Studies

A Panel Discussion “Leaders Coming Together to Combat Climate Change”

Saturday, March 5, 2022 at 10 a.m.

Unitarian Church in Charleston, 4 Archdale Street, Charleston, SC 29401

During this panel discussion, participants will hear from leaders representing different faith traditions discuss how their faith has brought them and sustains their work towards climate initiatives in Charleston.

Invited Speakers include:

Jeremy Rutledge, Circular Congregational Church

Herbert Fraser-Rahim, Al-Jami Ar Rasheed Mosque

Heather Mann, Indigo Sangha

Rebecca Hinds, Unitarian Church in Charleston

Moderator: Elijah Siegler, College of Charleston Department of Religious Studies

The Keynote Address and Panel Discussions will all be in-person, and virtually by clicking the Zoom link: bit.ly/climateandfaith.

Please visit www.cicouncil.org/events for more information. For questions about the speaker series, contact Dena Moses at 901-277-9755 or [email protected]


About Charleston Interreligious Council

Charleston Interreligious Council seeks to build bridges of understanding to promote sensitivity, tolerance, respect and fellowship among religious groups. It fulfills this mission by developing, presenting and/or sponsoring educational programs to promote intra- and inter-religious dialogue; conducting, sponsoring and/or supporting inter-religious events, service-oriented projects and activities; increasing public awareness of inter-religious issues and shared concerns. Formerly known as Christian-Jewish Council of Greater Charleston, Charleston Interreligious Council works to provide educational opportunities that reflect its mission and goals. For more information, visit www.cicouncil.org.