Interfaith Summit

Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Vulnerability:

An Interfaith Summit on How to Respond

In the wake of the latest National Climate Assessment and UN report on the projected serious consequences of unchecked climate change, interfaith leaders from the greater Boston area worked with Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) to host an interfaith summit on vulnerability and climate change on the afternoon of March 10th, 2019.

The summit focused on the role of faith communities in helping their community members prepare for future climate impacts such as floods, extreme heat, and severe storms. We shared knowledge on the types of changes we are already seeing and can expect to see in the Northeast, discussed practical ways congregations can prepare themselves and their surrounding community, and discerned together how our spiritual practices could help sustain not only our efforts, but also our souls, hearts, and minds, as we engage in this most critical mission.

The summit agenda and biographies for each speaker can be found below.

For a full recorded video of the summit click here.

Interested in hosting a similar event in your area?
Want to learn how your congregation can help the community prepare for climate impacts?

Contact us!

March 2019 Agenda

1:30-2:00 Registration
2:00-2:20 Welcome, Opening Prayer

  • Welcome Address: Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu
  • Opening prayer: Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas (Episcopal Diocese of Western MA & MA Conference, United Church of Christ)

2:20-2:40 Presentation on Current and Projected Climate Impacts

  • Dr. S. Atyia Martin (All Aces, Inc., former Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston)

2:45-3:40 Panel & Table Discussions on Existing Societal Vulnerabilities & Intersections with Climate Change

  • Reverend Britta Carlson (Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church)
  • Reverend Edwin Johnson (St. Mary’s Episcopal Church)
  • Lisa Owens (City Life/Vida Urbana)
  • Discussion Questions: What issues are you working on in your community? What impacts have you seen already, and how do you envision future impacts affecting your work moving forward?

3:45-4:10 Spiritual Sustenance in Times of Climate Chaos

  • • Reverend Margaret Bullitt Jonas (Episcopal Diocese of Western MA & MA Conference, United Church of Christ)

4:10-4:50 Actions for Congregations:

  • Rev. Don Remick (MA Conference, United Church of Christ)
  • Arlene Magoon (FEMA)
  • Aaron Troncoso & Chester Osborne (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather; Better Future Project)
  • Nancy Smith (Boston Public Health Commission)

4:50-5:00 Break & Transition Time

5:00-5:30 Break-outs on Next Steps for Congregations

  • Each of the presenters in the previous session will host a longer follow-up presentation/discussion with more opportunities for engagement

5:35-5:45 Closing Prayer

  • Rabbi Katy Allen (Jewish Climate Action Network)

5:45-6:00 Mingling, snacks


Rabbi Katy Allen

Rabbi Katy Allen is the co-founder of the Jewish Climate Action Network and President pro-tem of the Massachusetts chapter. She is a board certified chaplain and a former hospital and hospice chaplain, having worked for 10 years at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She serves as an eco-chaplain and the facilitator of the One Earth Collaborative, which is a program of Open Spirit, a multifaith center in Framingham, and she is the founder and rabbi of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds services outdoors all year long. Rabbi Allen writes about matters of Torah and Earth at Formerly, she was a high school science teacher and a writer and editor of science educational materials. She received her ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion, NY, in 2005. She lives in Wayland with her spouse Gabi Mezger, who leads the singing at Ma'yan Tikvah.



Reverend Margaret Bullitt-Jonas 

An Episcopal priest, author, retreat leader, and climate activist, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas serves as Missioner for Creation Care for both the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and Mass. Conference, United Church of Christ. She seeks to inspire and support a wave of religious activism to address the climate crisis, deepen reverence for God’s creation, and create a more just and sustainable society. Margaret has spoken at climate justice rallies, conferences, and public vigils, testified at public hearings about state energy policy, fasted in front of the White House, led prayerful marches and vigils, and taken part in ecumenical and interfaith delegations to urge climate justice. She received the 2016 Steward of God’s Creation award from the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care. 

Reverend Britta Carlson

The Rev. Britta Meiers Carlson is the Pastor Developer of Nuevo Amanecer, a Spanish language ministry in East Boston, Massachusetts. Pastor Britta enjoys working with congregations who are discerning mission in changing neighborhoods. She is particularly interested in how the Christian message speaks to immigrants and how immigrant stories nurture communities of faith. Pastor Britta is a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She lives in East Boston with her husband, Reed and her son, Anthony.





Rt. Bishop Suffragan Bud Cederholm

Born in Brockton, Mass., on July 1, 1944, Roy F. Cederholm Jr. (known familiarly as Bud) is a graduate of Boston University and completed his seminary studies at Bex- ley Hall Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y. Ordained to the priesthood in 1972 in the Diocese of Massachusetts, he served as associate rector of St. Stephen’s Church in Cohasset, Mass., from 1971 to 1976 and as rector of St. Paul’s Church in White River Junction, Vt., from 1976 to 1989. He was a Christian education consultant in the dioceses of Massachusetts and Vermont and served as the religious education coordinator for the New England dioceses of the Episcopal Church from 1988 to 1991. In the Diocese of Vermont, he was a deputy to the Episcopal Church’s General Convention, served as a rural dean and was the founder and president of the Haven Emergency Shelter. In Massachusetts, he served as president of the Standing Committee, an elected council of advice to the diocesan bishop, and was a member of the diocese’s Leadership Development Institute board and its Clergy Sabbatical Committee. He has been involved with Habitat for Humanity and the Needham Human Rights Committee. He was the rector of Christ Church in Needham from 1989 until his election as bish- op suffragan (assisting bishop) for the Diocese of Massachusetts on Nov. 4, 2000, and completed his tenure at Christ Church in February 2001. Bishop Cederholm was ordained and consecrated a bishop on March 24, 2001, at Trinity Church in Boston.
In September 2003 Bishop Cederholm received an honorary doctoral degree from Bexley Hall. Until his retirement in November 2011, he served alongside the Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Bishop of Massachusetts, and the Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, providing oversight for diocesan congregational development, including clergy and congregation transition ministry, congregational business consultants, leadership development and collaborative ministries, in addition to ministry to clergy fami- lies. His leadership and participation in summer Family Camp made it one of the diocese’s most popular annual events.
A gifted teacher and preacher, Bishop Cederholm continues in retirement as an ac- tive voice and witness for environmental stewardship, and he works passionately to

Reverend Edwin Johnson

Rev. Johnson serves as the Rector of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Dorchester. He is of Costa Rican and Montserratian heritage, is fluent in Spanish and has a deep love and passion for the music, dance, and cuisine of Latin America and the Caribbean. He is an avid salsa dancer and teaches and performs Latin, Brazilian and African Dance with Moves and Vibes dance company. He also enjoys training and participates in weightlifting and fitness competitions. Rev. Johnson serves on the Board of Directors for Breakthrough Greater Boston, an Academic Enrichment program that has recently expanded to Dorchester after over twenty years service in Cambridge. He spends the rest of his time with friends, family, his wife Susan Lenn Johnson and their sons Francisco and Santiago. Susan is a teacher of theology at Matignon High School, a creative liturgist and a lover of winter sports and the outdoors. Francisco is a faithful acolyte at the tender age of 5 and Santiago (2 months) doesn't do very much but makes everyone happy all the same! As a family they spend as much time outside as possible and do all they can for the health of Creation.

Arlene Magoon

Ms. Magoon began her Emergency Management career when she was hired by the NH American Red Cross in 2001 as a Health & Safety Operations Manager. Her first day began on September 11. In the fast-moving days after 9/11, Ms. Magoon quickly learned that without preplanning for donations and volunteers another emergency known as the “disaster within a disaster” can occur. Having successfully coordinated donations and volunteers in that event, Ms. Magoon was later hired by NH State emergency management as a planner for volunteers in all hazards emergency events.

Ms. Magoon began working for FEMA in 2008 where she has been deployed to many disaster locations here in NE and around the country. In each deployment a service delivery plan for long term recovery was developed to identify the unique needs of the communities she served. She has developed many contacts within the States and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters organizations.

After having deployed with FEMA as a voluntary agency liaison for eight years, in 2016 Ms. Magoon took a position with FEMA Region 1 National Preparedness Division. In this position she develops local preparedness messages and actions for schools, faith based, civic organization and vulnerable communities across New England.

Ms. Magoon holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern New Hampshire University with a minor in Operations Management. She has received many awards including 1999 SBA, Woman Advocate of the Year, and National VOAD 2004 Innovations in Disaster Recovery and two-time winner of the regional Toast Master International Humorous Speech contest.

Dr. S. Atyia Martin

Dr. S. Atyia Martin has spent the last 16 years in federal and local government within intelligence, homeland security, emergency management, public health preparedness, and ultimately resilience. Prior to her career in public service, she worked in the private sector (for profit and nonprofit) in technology, business development, and administration. She has led many teams and major initiatives to consistently achieve their mission and goals while building the capacity of those around her to grow into their best selves. 

Dr. Martin is currently the CEO & Founder of All Aces, Inc., a social enterprise that provides a range of products and services to put clients and participants in control of difficult conversations and situations. All Aces mission is to activate the power of consciousness and critical thinking to manage the ways our unconscious mind can interfere with personal and organizational resilience. Additionally, she serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Northeastern University's Global Resilience Institute.

Dr. Martin was the first Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Boston as part of 100 Resilient Cities. She led the development and implementation of Boston's first resilience strategy which was the first one in the 100 Resilient Cities network to make racial equity, social justice, and social cohesion the foundation of building resilience across the city. She engaged over 12,000 people across government, community, businesses, and nonprofits to develop Resilient Boston: An Equitable, Connected City. Smart Cities magazine selected Resilient Boston as the best resilience strategy of 2017 and the Center for American Progress featured it in its report A Framework for Local Action on Climate Change.

Lisa Owens

Lisa Owens is the Executive Director of the housing justice organization City Life/Vida Urbana, which builds the power and leadership of working class communities, particularly communities of color, to work for social, racial and economic justice and gender equity. Our principal work is 1) to stop displacement of working class communities now--through what we call “the sword” (community organizing and public pressure) and “the shield” (coordinated legal defense) and 2) to create permanent social ownership of land and housing.

Lisa serves on the boards of several social justice organizations connected to community control of land and housing, including: the Boston based Coalition of Occupied Homes in Foreclosure (which links tenant organizing and anti-foreclosure struggles to a newly created community controlled land trust), Alternatives for Community and Environment, the Resist Foundation, the Right to the City/Homes for All National Alliance, and the Right to the City Boston network.

Reverend Don Remick


Rev. Don Remick is Transitional Interim Conference Minister for the Massachusetts Conference, UCC. Don has served in the Massachusetts Conference for 4 decades. Much of that has happened in the North and South Shore regions where he has served as a bi-vocational and multi-charge pastor in Quincy, youth and family ministries in Weymouth, an Associate Pastor in Beverly, a Solo then Senior Pastor in Hanover, and a part time pastor in Winchester. During those decades he also offered volunteer leadership with our Conference in the area of outdoor ministry, faith formation, and church vision, vitality and development. Don has served on the MACUCC Board of Directors, chairing it twice. Since 2009, Don has ministered to the ministries of Jesus Christ on the Conference Staff as an Associate Conference Minister in the northeast and southeast regions. Beyond the Church, Don has chaired the Northern Massachusetts Long Term Recovery Group (following the Holy Week Floods of 2010 that impacted hundreds of homes). He has also served on the first Board of Directors for CDA; the Center for Collaborative Learning, that seeks to help governments and non-government agencies learn from the local level better ways for peacemaking and human development. For many years, Don also helped lead the Disaster Resource and Response Team for the MAUCC.

Councilor Michelle Wu

Michelle Wu has been a voice for progressive leadership in the City of Boston, and a champion for inclusion and opportunity for all residents. First elected to the Boston City Council in November 2013 at the age of 28 as an At-Large Councilor, Wu is the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. In January 2016, she was elected President of the City Council by her colleagues in a unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as Council President. Today, she serves as the Chair of the Committee on Planning, Development, and Transportation, as well as the Chair of the Committee on Census and Redistricting.

Councilor Wu was the lead sponsor of Boston's Paid Parental Leave ordinance, Healthcare Equity ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, and Communications Access ordinance, guaranteeing translation, interpretation, and assistive technology for access to city services regardless of English language proficiency or communications disability. She also authored the City’s Community Choice Energy authorization order, enabling Boston to switch residents and small businesses to an alternate electricity contract with higher renewable energy content through municipal aggregation. Councilor Wu has advocated for comprehensive and collaborative transportation policies that improve safety and economic opportunity, as well as address the urgent challenges posed by climate change.

Sponsors & Co-Hosts:

The United Methodist Foundation of New England


Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts


Massachusetts Conference UCC - Environmental Ministries Task Team & Disaster Resource and Response Team   


Old South Church in Boston


Jewish Climate Action Network


Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light


The Lush Foundation