Turtle Island Project Ecumenical Retreat: Centering prayer benefits, U.N. reports on Earth abuse concern clergy who vow social action

 

The Turtle Island Project: Centering prayer, jubilation, fighting for the environment, and clergy standing up for social change were all part of ecumenical retreat in northern Michigan

 

(Munising, Michigan) – A Chicago theology professor told northern Michigan clergy, church leaders, and the public “we live in a kyros moment” involving the environment and other social issues during a recent ecumenical retreat sponsored by the Turtle Island Project in Munising.

“We as human beings have not been good stewards of creation,” said Rev. Dr. George Cairns, co-founder and board chair of the Turtle Island Project (TIP). “Native American peoples are the best living teachers of how to respect the environment.”

The environment and the gifts of nature “are not something to simply be consumed,” said Rev. Cairns, research professor theology for the Chicago Theological Seminary and an ordained United Church of Christ minister.

“The children of a generation or two from now are going to face a very very difficult time,” said Cairns of Chesterton, Indiana.

The TIP project promotes respect for the environment and Earth-based cultures like Native Americans, Celts and others.

The TIP plans including national conferences and Native American roundtables providing a platform for American Indians to speak out on issues of concern to themselves or tribes without interference from whites.

Quoting internet research by several environment groups, Cairns said nearly 15,600 species are threatened with extinction and over the past 500 years humans have forced 844 species into extinction with the exception of a few from some of those groups who remain alive only in zoos, preserves and other manmade facilities.

Cairns noted several 2007 United Nations reports stating that almost one-third of the world’s species of animals and plants are expected to be at risk of extinction by climate change within 50 years.

The U.N. studies were reported widely in Europe but received little attention in the U.S. news media. The TIP encourages clergy to become beacons for social change by speaking out about civil rights, environment and other issues.

“The Inconvenient Truth is good news compared to what I read on species extinction,” warned Cairns, referring to the controversial global warming film by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore who shared a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“It’s not that people are evil necessarily – it’s just that there are a lot of us and we are pushing for places to live,” Cairns said.

One person attending the conference noted that the environmental problem is heightened by the fact people are living longer due to new drugs and better healthcare.

Cairns said it can be disheartening for the average person who wants to respect nature but witnesses some countries and corporations causing more pollution in a minute than a human can prevent in a lifetime.

“They are building new coal-fired power plants in China every week,” Cairns said.

 

“What’s going on are there are really huge corporations who are trying to hoist off the environmental responsibility to individuals,” Cairns said.

“We need to treat the Earth like we would treat a beloved spouse or friend,” Cairns said.

An event of the TIP’s Grand Island Grand Island Conference and Retreat Program, “Quest for Harmony: The Contemplation of Nature in the Christian Tradition” was held on Friday, November 9, 2007 at Eden on the Bay Lutheran Church in Munising.

 

Cairns demonstrated “centering prayer” that is a method of silent and contemplative prayer.

Clearing the mind of extraneous thought and choosing a word to help focus thoughts are among ways to silently pray for twenty minutes two times daily.

“There is no wrong way to do centering prayer,” said Cairns, who learned the art from Father Thomas Keating, one of three Trappist monks considered to be the founders of the technique.

 

“Centering prayer helps us develop a deeper intimacy with God,” Cairns said. “We open ourselves to God’s movement within.”

Centering prayer creates a “little more compassion and kindness” Cairns’ said.

All the world’s religions have some form of silent prayer, Cairns said.

The daily silent prayer, Cairns said, enables him to better face the evil in the world and to strive for social change with a clear mind.

“We can’t do this (fight evil) with just our brains,” Cairns said. “It allows one to engage more fully – we are re-empowered for engagement.”

The calming of entering prayer allows people to become a “full human being” and be “more efficient and effective in our lives,” Cairns said. “You free yourself from blinders. It reveals the dark spaces in the heart that restricts what you are doing.”

 

TIP co-founder and director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard said centering prayer revitalizes “individuals like us who spend so much time in our rational brains.”

“You retreat to recharge your batteries to fight another day,” said Hubbard, pastor of Eden on the Bay Lutheran Church in Munising.

Those attending retreat were introduced to “jubilation” a former of chanted prayer or singing that creates unique sounds. During jubilation, people create music through emitting more than one sound or pitch at the same time using a form of humming.

A group of people performing jubilation sometimes creates sounds that no one individual has made because the sound waves collide with each other and the objects in the room, Cairns said.

Related websites:

Stories on U.N. reports prepared by about 400 of the world’s scientists on global environment, global warming, and other issues since June 2007:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/10/25/eaclimate125.xml
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/06/nspecies06.xml
http://www.euractiv.com/en/environment/humans-living-earth-means-warns-un-report/article-167935?Ref=RSS

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN):

http://www.iucnredlist.org/
http://www.iucn.org/themes/ssc/red_list_2004/Extinction_media_brief_2004.pdf

Inconvenient Truth & Al Gore official websites:

http://www.climatecrisis.net/
http://www.algore.com/index.html

Pledge to help:

http://www.algore.com/index-splash.html

Summary of Turtle Island Project websites & TV (video) sites:TIP website:

http://www.turtleislandproject.org

TIP Sacred Places website – Upload your own Sacred Place:

http://www.NorthAmericaSacredPlaces.org

Other sites:

http://groups.msn.com/WhisperingTurtle
https://turtleislandproject.wordpress.com/

Turtle Island TV – Video sites:

(blipTV)

http://turtleislandtv.blip.tv/

(youtube)

http://www.youtube.com/MunisingWhiteHorse

(myspace)

http://www.myspace.com/TurtleIslandProject

Contact Info:

(All have Skype online video calling)

Co-founder/Director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard:

Munising, Michigan

Pastor of Eden on the Bay Lutheran Church in Munising, Michigan; does spiritual work on the Lakota Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota

wk: 906-387-2520

cell: 906-202-0590

Co-founder/President of the Board Rev. Dr. George Cairns:

Chesterton, Indiana

219-395-9347

Research Professor of Practical Theology and Spirituality at Chicago Theological Seminary; ordained minister in the United Church of Christ

Volunteer Media Advisor Greg Peterson:

Negaunee, Michigan

906-475-5068

email:

TurtleIslandProject@charter.net

mail:

Turtle Island Project

Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard

PO Box 360

Munising, MI.

49862

The non-profit Turtle Island Project (TIP) in northern Michigan promotes respect for the environment and Native Americans.

The project was founded in July 2007 and battles exploitation of the environment, racism, and religious imperialism.

The TIP tackles numerous environment and social issues including learning to protect the planet from Earth-based cultures.

Founders are Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard., the pastor of Eden on the Bay Lutheran Church in Munising, Michigan who has worked extensively with the Lakota tribe in South Dakota; and Rev. Dr. George Cairns, United Church of Christ minister, an expert in Celtic spirituality and a research professor of Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary.

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About yoopernewsman

I am a news reporter, writer and investigative journalist and began my career about 40 years ago as a young teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during the middle of high school. I'm a news reporter, writer & investigative journalist specializing in street news, plus Indigenous, civil rights & environment reporting. Currently volunteer media advisor for numerous American Indian & environment related nonprofits that include the Navajo Lutheran Mission in Rock Point, AZ & its executive director Rev. Dr. Lynn Hubbard, the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute (CTI) in Marquette, MI & its many projects founded by Rev. Jon Magnuson, Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI, Celtic Christianity Today (CCT) founded by Rev. Dr. George Cairns, the Turtle Island Project founded by pastors Hubbard & Cairns. In its third summer, the CTI Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project & its volunteers built a16-foot geodesic dome solar-powered greenhouse that was built in this summer at the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) in an effort to restore native species plants to northern Michigan. It's located at the tribe's Natural Resources Department north of L'Anse along Lake Superior. During the summer of 2010, Zaagkii Project teens built & painted 25 beautiful reliquaries that are boxes made from pine & cedar that are used to store seeds for planting & included samples of Native American medicine including sweetgrass, cedar, sage & tobacco. From April-June 2009, I promoted the EarthKeeper Tree Project that planted 12,000 trees across northern Michigan. Co-edited "Unafraid," the second book by Author Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek, MI that was printed in May 2009 based on her father's handwritten sermons she found in shoebox. I edited numerous videos for nonprofit CCT. Began career 35 years ago as teenager in Augusta, GA after moving south during middle of high school. I was co-coordinator of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by local media who didn't report anything positive about the music icon. Mr. Terence Dicks was the other co-coordinator & most recently served as chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission and serves on the Georgia Clients Council. Mr. Brown taught us to "fight the good fight" by battling all forms of racism & evil while not uttering a bad word about those who try to block justice, respect, fairness & kindness to all. As a child, I lived in the Harbert, Michigan home built by late poet Carl Sandburg, where the legendary author penned some of his greatest works including his Chicago works & Lincoln papers. The four-story home had a sundeck on the top & a cool walk-in safe in the basement. The neighborhood (Birchwood) has numerous cottages used for other purposes by Sandburg like the milk house where they milked goats. My parents remodeled fourth floor of the home that stands atop the Lake Michigan sand dunes/bluffs. They found items that belonged to Mr. Sandburg concealed in the walls including prescription bottles with his name, reading glasses, & a small, thin metal stamp with his name. I've worked for dozens of newspapers & radio & TV stations in GA & MI. I'm volunteer media advisor for several interfaith environmental projects involving Native Americans across Upper Peninsula of MI including the Turtle Island Project, The Zaagkii Project, the Interfaith Earth Healing Initiative, EarthKeeper Initiative & the Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project. The Zaagkii Wings & Seeds Project restores bee & butterfly habitat to help pollination of plants following death of billions of bees. Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth & Marquette teens built butterfly houses, planted/distributed 26,000 native plants to help pollinators. The Earth Healing Initiative assisted EPA Great Lakes 2008 Earth Day Challenge. EHI helped organize interfaith participation across eight states for the 100 plus recycling projects (April 2008) involving recycling millions of pounds of electronic waste & proper disposal of millions of pills/pharmaceuticals. EPA goals were exceeded by 500%. Under an EPA grant, EHI provided free media services for the cities/groups/tribes including videos & press releases. The EarthKeeper environment projects include an annual Earth Day Clean Sweep (2005-2007) at 24 free drop-off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan that collected over 370 tons of household hazardous waste. The 2007 EarthKeeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep collected over one ton of drugs plus $500,000 in narcotics in only three hours. Some 2,000 residents participated & many brought in pharmaceuticals for their family, friends & neighbors. In 2006, 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones & other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons & vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project teaches teens to respect nature & themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to remote lakes & streams in northern Michigan to plant/care for wild rice. The teens test water quality to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. The Turtle Island Project was co-founded in July 2007 by Rev. Lynn Hubbard of Rock Point, AR (Ex. Dir. of the Navajo Lutheran Mission) & Rev. Dr. George Cairns of Chesterton, IN, United Church of Christ minister & research professor for the Chicago Theological Seminary. TIP promotes respect for culture & heritage of indigenous peoples like American Indians. TIP is a platform for American Indians to be heard unedited by whites. Rev. Hubbard says whites don't have the knowledge or right to speak on behalf of Native Americans. I specialize in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops & courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the books "Illusions" & "Jonathon Livingston Seagull." Love to fish, hunt, camp & skydive. Belong to Delta Chi national fraternity. I was active in Junior Achievement, band played cornet. With my dear friend, the Rev. Terence A. Dicks, we were the co-coordinators of the 1986 original James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta, GA, where the Godfather of Soul was always trashed by the local media who found no reasons to print or report anything positive about the music icon. I am honored to help the human rights activist Terence Dicks - with some of his projects including the nonprofit Georgia Center for Children and Education - and the economic initiative he founded titled "Claiming A Street Named King." I am the volunteer media advisor for several environmental projects across Michigan's Upper Peninsula including EarthKeeper II - an Initiative of the nonprofit Cedar Tree Institute in Marquette, MI. EarthKeepers II is an Interfaith Energy Conservation and Community Garden Initiative across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Goals: Restore Native Plants and Protect the Great Lakes from Toxins like Airborne Mercury in cooperation with the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, 10 faith traditions and Native American tribes like the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Previously known as the Earth Keeper Initiative - that project included many environmental projects including an annual Earth Day Clean sweep at two dozen free drop off sites across a 400 mile area of northern Michigan. The target of the 2007 Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep are all kinds of medicines. In 2006, some 10,000 people dropped off over 320 tons of old/broken computers, cell phones and other electronic waste, all of which was recycled. In 2005, residents turned in 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The Manoomin (Wild Rice) Project taught at-risk teens (just sentenced in juvenile court) to respect nature and themselves by having American Indian guides escort them to very remote lakes and streams in northern Michigan to plant and care for wild rice. The teens conducted water quality and other tests to determine the best conditions for the once native grain to survive. I have always specialized in civil rights, outdoor, environmental, cops and courts reporting thanks to my late mentor Jay Mann (Jan Tillman Hutchens), an investigative reporter in Augusta, who lived by the book "Illusions."
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One Response to Turtle Island Project Ecumenical Retreat: Centering prayer benefits, U.N. reports on Earth abuse concern clergy who vow social action

  1. ruben says:

    Wonderful blog with many useful posts. Needs a lot of attention to it. I hope many other readers come join and pass their comments. I like your presentation of texts with images, makes it more readable unlike other blogs where its a bit boring to read with texts only.

    “Centering prayer helps us develop a deeper intimacy with God,” Cairns said. “We open ourselves to God’s movement within.” — That is in deed so true.

    🙂 Ruben

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