Radical Hope

The Worship & Arts Council welcomes the Reverend Fred Small to the pulpit this Sunday.

Any contemplation of global climate change, its frightening consequences, and the tardiness and timidity of nations in response is necessarily a meditation on hope. When the earth and its people are in such distress, where do we find hope?

About Reverend Fred Small

Cited by Bill McKibben as “one of the true stalwarts in the fight against climate change” and “one of the key figures in the religious environmental surge,” Rev. Fred Small is Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church, Boston (http://ascboston.org/).

A Unitarian Universalist parish minister for nearly two decades, Fred is also a singer-songwriter and environmental lawyer.  In 2015 he left parish ministry to devote his energies to creation care and climate advocacy.

Educated at Yale (BA 1974) and the University of Michigan (JD and MS in Natural Resources 1978), Fred served as a staff attorney for the Conservation Law Foundation.  In 1980, Fred left CLF to tour internationally as a folksinger and songwriter, releasing seven albums over two decades (http://rounder.com/). Pete Seeger called him “one of America’s best songwriters.”  In 1999, Fred earned his MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister, and began serving First Church Unitarian in Littleton, Massachusetts. In 2008, he was called by First Parish in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

One of the first to engage in civil disobedience to draw attention to climate change, Rev. Small was arrested with 21 others in prayer outside the US Department of Energy in Washington, DC, in May 2001.  In 2007, he was one of the lead organizers of the Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue from Northampton to Boston, Massachusetts.  In 2016, he was twice arrested with other faith leaders in nonviolent civil disobedience protesting construction of Spectra Energy’s fracked gas pipeline in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

In 2007, Grist Magazine named Rev. Small one of 15 Green Religious Leaders worldwide (http://www.grist.org/news/maindish/2007/07/24/religious/).  In the July 26, 2015, issue of Boston Globe Magazine, Bill McKibben highlighted Rev. Small’s leadership in religious climate activism (https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2015/07/25/what-religion-can-teach-climate-scientists/LAZYZ6DBVHr1THqvWFXffO/story.html#).  In 2017, UU Mass Action honored him with the Ruth Rowan Award for his musical contributions to social justice movements.

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