150 People from many faith traditions participated in “Prayers for the Planet” to pray and organize for more sustainable climate

Clergy, women religious and lay people read prayers and positions that their denominations and religions have taken to express the need for action to care for the world’s environment. Many leaders mentioned Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on climate change and poverty, Laudato Si’.


Rev. Frank Rivas, Sr. Celeste Wobeter, ND, and Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ listen while Fr. Vitalis Anyanike, of Holy Name Catholic quoted Pope Francis and told of the growing deserts he has seen when he flies into East Africa


The front lawn of First United Methodist Church served as a grounding place for people of all faith traditions, to gather, connect, and pray for the upcoming Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December. (COP21/CMP11).


Dawn Stsaszko of the Buddhist Community of Omaha, Rev. Cynthia Lindenmeyer of First UMC and Rev. Kim Morrow of IPL all participated with prayers and information about climate change

Participants were encouraged to sign a petition of care and concern about the environment which ask the U.S. representative going to the Conference to take a leading role in setting aggressive standards for reducing emissions.  Over 500 people have already signed the petition from the Omaha Metro area. OTOC has copies of the petition if you would like to circulate one to your friends and family and you can sign electronically on the home page of OTOC. The 150 plus attendees received specific suggestions on what they could do right now.

Sr. Celeste Wobeter of the Notre Dame Sisters spoke about the challenge that Pope Francis made to all of us to honor creation











A coalition of groups helped plan and facilitate this event. The OTOC Environmental Action Team and the Eco Team from First United Methodist were key leaders in putting this worship service together. Music was provided by McArthur Trenching with songs about the local environment, including “Headwaters” and “Ogallala Aquifer.”

Dr Syed Mohiuddin, President of the American Islamic Society in Omaha represented the Muslim community

Educational tables were available to inform people about The Big Garden, OTOC, First United Methodist’s Eco Team, and more. OPPD had a table to encourage people to save energy with Cool Smart, a way to save energy, city wide, during high air conditioning use. Read about this program on the OPPD website under Environment, then Environmental Programs, then Cool Smart.

This was a great multi-faith event that inspired and informed. All were blessed with a beautiful day, great prayers from many faith traditions, children playing in the background, and a community of people who want the world to be a much better place for everyone.

OPPD’s staff came out and OTOC leaders encouraged those present to sign up for OPPD’s AC management programs that allows OPPD to reduce the peak amount of energy needed on the hottest days.

By Tim Fickenscher, First United Methodist Church