Hobart and William Smith Colleges hosted a multi-faith panel in response to Pope Francis’s encyclical, “Laudato Si,” which served as a call to action for sustainable environmentalism.
Titled “Caring for Our Common Home,” the Monday, April 18 conversation brought together religious leaders from the Geneva and HWS communities to discuss the message of the encyclical as it pertains to the local region. The panel discussion took place at 7:30 p.m. in the L. Thomas Melly ’52 Lobby of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts.
Those on the panel included the Rt. Rev. Prince G. Singh, who serves as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester and HWS Trustee; Rabbi Anne Landowne, of Temple Beth-El in Geneva; and Associate Professor of Religious Studies Etin Anwar. The event was a collaborative effort of the Office for Spiritual Engagement, Intercultural Affairs and the Office of Sustainability.
HWS Chaplain Maurice Charles, who moderated the panel, reflected that the coalition of campus initiatives allows for deeper engagement regarding issues of the environment and sustainability.
“The goal is for us to engage this important call to action from Pope Francis to the Catholic community to take our stewardship of the Earth, and by extension one another seriously, drawing on the best insights of our own traditions,” Charles says. “Too often Christianity, at least, has taught an instrumental view of creation, with human beings at the top of the hierarchy. A more holistic approach to our relationship with the larger environment is necessary for our survival and mutual flourishing.”
The discussion also provided an introspective exploration into the human role of responsibility in environmentalism, especially as it intersects with issues of social justice, income equality and improving quality of life for all people.
“I think we can all expect to learn more about one another’s traditions and to be surprised by new thinking and energy that emerges from interdisciplinary conversations,” Charles says.