Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Traveling to Stand in Solidarity with Standing Rock

Memorial to Chief Gall who invited
the Episcopal Church onto
Standing Rock
Last week, the Reverend John Floberg, the Episcopal priest serving on the North Dakota side of the Standing Rock reservation, issued a call to clergy across the country to join with him for an action against the proposed Dakota pipeline which crosses sacred Lakota lands, and threatens the water of the Standing Rock reservation.  This week, I will be traveling with over a dozen individuals, both lay and ordained, from the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts to join in this action.

St. Elizabeth's, Wakpala, SD
on Standing Rock
Standing Rock is a place I feel deep connection to.  I have been to the Standing Rock reservation several times.  My friend and mentor, the Rev. Robert Schwarz, served as the Episcopal priest on the South Dakota side of the reservation for a number of years.  Sara and my kids visited him and his wife Jean there, we had a chance to meet the people who lived there, and visited their churches.  Also, in seminary Sara and I had a classmate, Hal Clark, who was from Standing Rock. During our first year, he died suddenly, and dozens of people from the reservation traveled to New York for the funeral, and we hosted many, including the ceremonial drum in our one bedroom apartment for several days.

After the news last week of the escalating actions by officials against the Standing Rock Water Protectors, I was kept awake at night about how to respond from so far away. Hearing of peaceful protesters teargassed, shot with rubber bullets and violently arrested was deeply disturbing. I am aware of both of the environmental and human rights issues at play here - and also feel that this happening to people and a place I feel so connected to there must be a way to participate in taking action.  A colleague reached out to me and said she was interested in going, and Sara and I offered to fund her trip.  I asked my Bishop, Alan Gates, if he would also pay for someone to go if I could recruit them.  He said he would send two people.  It snowballed from there, and my Vestry said they would pay for me to go - so now a large delegation will be traveling from Boston to meet up with almost 400 others in Standing Rock.

Please keep us in prayer this week, and I will update this blog as the journey unfolds. Here is the sermon I preached on Sunday about deciding to go on this trip:


  1. Noah, I'm so proud that you and members of the Massachusetts Episcopal Church are going to join in the protest at Standing Rock. Steve and I will pray for you and all of the others who will be there.

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  3. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.