The Rev. Beth Sherman, Vicar of St. Augustine’s, Kingston, and Kathie Gibson, a St. Augustine’s parishioner, are remarkable examples of what individuals can do for environmental ministry by coming together with others to care for God’s Creation. Recognizing that they, as individuals, could not solve every environmental problem we face, each woman placed great value in identifying meaningful, achievable ways, to protect our environment. Over time, their efforts to reach other environmentally concerned individuals grew and enabled them to implement programs with significant impact.
As Vicar of St. Augustine’s, Beth Sherman also serves as Episcopal Chaplain at the University of Rhode Island. Through this role she involves numerous students in activities that raise their awareness of the importance of environmental stewardship. Kayaking Wood River, hiking in potentially at-risk areas or visits to the Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown on Friday evenings leads students to greater appreciation for the universe as well as awareness of their responsibility to promote ecological concern and action among their peers.
Beth has also committed herself to involving St. Augustine’s parishoners in numerous programs that encourage awareness of how each can help save the environment and work for environmental justice. These include a year-round garden that provides herbs and tomatoes for the local food pantry and a labyrinth on the parish grounds. Although a labyrinth preceded her arrival, she encourages its use and is fond of watching the children from the URI Childcare facility walking it while contemplating where God is leading them to care for the Earth. Additionally, Beth encourages the building and utilizing of compost piles, shows films about the environment and encourages parishioners to petition political leaders to make wise environmental decisions. She is also a strong supporter of efforts toward greater energy efficiency.
Kathie Gibson has always been concerned about the environment, but she seems to have taken this work on full-time after retiring from her teaching career. It was then that she got involved in forming the Rhode Island Chapter of Interfaith Power & Light (RI IPL). Interfaith Power & Light is a national organization whose mission is to inspire and mobilize people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. IPL is also a source of information on worthwhile and effective actions for environmental issues. Check out its website at https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/. Activities of the Rhode Island Chapter can be found on Facebook at RI-Interfaith Power Light.