Episcopal bishops gather in Alaska with focus on indigenous culture, environmental justice https://t.co/R04u9JvgDX— LiberalTexasDem (@LiberalTexasDem) September 23, 2017
By David Paulsen | September 22, 2017
[Episcopal News Service – Fairbanks, Alaska] The bishops of the Episcopal Church are gathered in this small city in the center of Alaska’s northern wilderness for their six-day House of Bishops meeting and to immerse themselves in local examples of creation care and racial reconciliation. There’s no better place than Alaska to discuss themes of environmental and racial justice, Diocese of Alaska Bishop Mark Lattime told Episcopal News Service on Sept. 21 at the midpoint of the meeting’s first day. “Alaska is your lab,” Lattime said. “This is the laboratory to experience that and see that.” Two Native elders, Will Mayo and Steve Ginnis, joined Presiding Bishop Michael Curry in welcoming bishops as they kicked off the first morning at Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Convention Center. Mayo is a past president of the Tanana Chiefs Conference. Ginnis is the executive director of the Fairbanks Native Association. The meeting will feature discussions of how Alaska’s changing culture is having an impact on the environment and on indigenous peoples’ ways of life, and the bishops will travel over the weekend to visit villages and congregations to hear their first-hand stories. “Being here in Alaska and listening to and learning from the people of Alaska … helps the word become flesh for us,” Curry told ENS on Sept. 22 after presentations on Native Alaskan culture and natural resources like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. “For the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and the Gwich’in people, protecting land that is sacred to them from development and oil drilling is not just an abstract idea,” Curry continued. “People’s sacred laws and spiritual lives are at stake. And being here we are experiencing that.” As the bishops take in as much Alaska experience as they can from Sept. 21 to 26, the sheer scale of the state can be daunting.
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