What a day! Three Unitarian Universalist young adult ministers were among 16 religious leaders arrested in West Roxbury, Boston, in a multi-faith, non-violent occupation of the Spectra Energy fracked gas pipeline construction site on Wednesday, May 25, 2016:

  • Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, Leadership Development Associate for Youth and Young Adults of Color for the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), community minister with First Parish in Cambridge, Steering Committee member of Diverse Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries, member of the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice
  • Rev. Heather Concannon, Assistant Minister of Youth and Families at the Unitarian Universalist Area Church at First Parish in Sherborn, MA, member of the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice
  • Rev. Rebecca Froom, Minister of United First Parish Church, Quincy, Massachussetts

All three ministers serve as Board members of Unitarian Universalist Community Cooperatives; Rev. Nguyen and Rev. Concannon are co-founders of the organization.

Five other UU ministers also participated in this non-violent direct action to stop construction:

  • Rev. Martha Niebanck, Minister Emerita of First Parish in Brookline
  • Rev. John Gibbons, Senior Minister of the First Parish in Bedford
  • Rev. Fred Small, Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church and Director of Faith Outreach for Climate XChange
  • Rev. Anne Bancroft, Minister of West Roxbury’s Theodore Parker Church
  • Rev. Rali Weaver, Minister of the First Church and Parish Dedham

This protest against the West Roxbury Spectra Energy pipeline expansion — organized by Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman of Temple Sinai in Brookline —  is one of many that have occurred since construction resumed in mid-April.

A March 14, 2016, UU World article explains: 

The West Roxbury Lateral (WRL) is part of a 1,100-mile pipeline being built by Spectra Energy of Houston, Texas, and its subsidiary, Algonquin Gas Transmission in Waltham, Massachusetts, to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania. Slightly over five miles long, the WRL will begin in the town of Westwood, run through Dedham, where it will pass near a soccer field, and continue into West Roxbury, where it will pass near an active blasting quarry. A related metering and regulating station is also being built near the quarry, according to Resist the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, an organization fighting the WRL.
— UU World, 3/14/2016, “UUs fight to stop Boston-area gas pipeline

When asked why she took action and risked arrest on Wednesday, Rev. Heather Concannon responded, “I chose to participate because my faith calls me to align my actions with my beliefs– and I believe that it is immoral to be building new fossil fuel infrastructure when we know how devastating and deadly fossil fuels are for our planet and for the most vulnerable people on it. I chose to participate because there is moral power in faith-based resistance to oppressive structures, and because there is power in choosing to be a part of something greater than myself”.

Here are three things that you can do to support the brave faith activists resisting the West Roxbury Lateral:

  1. Donate to support UU Mass Action grow a climate justice network among area congregations  
  2. Sign or Share this pledge for clergy and faith leaders to take spirited, joyful direct action for climate justice and the halt of new fossil fuel infrastructure: http://www.clergyclimateaction.org/
  3. Stay up to speed by following these social media accounts: Resist the West Roxbury Pipeline on Facebook and Twitter, UUs Resisting the West Roxbury Pipeline (Facebook), UU Mass Action on Facebook and Twitter