WATERFORD — Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 8, the Waterford Congregational Church will launch a monthly discussion group on to take action on climate change. The groups will meet in the Wilkins House Community Center, next door to the church in Waterford, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Each will involve an expert presentation to better understand the issues involved, a facilitated discussion/working group, and a call to action featuring specific steps that can be taken. The series will be led by the Rev. Doretta Colburn, pastor of WCC, and church trustee Kerry Johnson.

The first session will explore the world view with Dr. Tom Hammett, a Waterford summer resident who is also a Virginia Tech professor of natural resources and environment. He will discuss the impact of climate change across the world with emphasis on the United States and Maine. He will look at impact on the environment, the economy, immigration and other critical issues and what impact they will have on decisions citizens will need to make locally.

The second session, on Tuesday, Nov. 12, will center on spiritual and ethical perspectives on climate change — how do traditions, faith and values inform the role of humans in the care and nurture of the Earth? Then, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, the group will hear about the impacts of climate change from those on the frontlines, such as farmers, environmentalists and fishermen, and how they already are influencing lives.

Further sessions will explore how to encourage more people to get involved in behavioral changes that will impact warming, how to overcome the sense of powerlessness and hopelessness many feel about the challenge of climate change, how to calculate a person’s carbon footprints, how to better preserve wildlife and how to calculate and manage the costs associated with responding to climate change.

Colburn said this series fulfills a long-held dream of hers. “All of my 25-year ministry I’ve wanted to do this, to bring the two — the Church and the environment — together. I have always felt that the Church needs to step up to the plate and focus on what stewardship of the earth really means.” She said the church is extending invitations to neighboring communities and congregations, to environmental groups and to interested citizens.

Johnson, with a background in education and management consulting, said the sessions are designed to be “conversational and highly interactive, and that participants will play active roles in setting agendas for succeeding meetings.” He said the goal is “is to inspire individual and collective action that makes a difference in our efforts to leave the planet in a healthier state than we found it.”

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