The Massachusetts Conference has hired a Climate Justice Intern – possibly the first of his kind in the country – to work on environmental organizing over the next six months.
Patrick Cage, a recent Yale University graduate, began last week in a position being funded through contributions to the annual Friends of the Conference offering, which supports projects that are not funded through the Conference’s regular budget.
“Patrick may be the first Climate Intern serving in a denominational setting in the country,” said Conference Minister & President Jim Antal.
Cage will focus on a variety of tasks related to environmental justice, including writing posts for the Annual Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast, working on the climate pages of the Massachusetts Conference website, surveying MACUCC churches to find out about environmental and climate initiatives such as fossil fuel divestment or solar panel installation, and to make contact with churches that are near any proposed fossil fuel pipelines.
Antal said he is thrilled to have Cage on board.
“It’s not every day that a gifted about-to-graduate-from-Yale 23-year-old looks you in the eye and says ‘I want to work for you,’” he said. “But that’s what happened in November after I spoke at a conference at Yale. Not only that, but when it turns out that he’s UCC and an environmental studies major with a concentration in religion and the environment, what more could you ask for?”
Cage is from San Diego, California, where he grew up in a United Church of Christ congregation.
“I could not have been more thrilled, and a little shocked, when I got the offer from Jim Antal to become Climate Justice Intern,” he said. “Helping folks in the church connect faith to caring for our planet is something I feel passionate about, and perhaps even called to.”
Cage said his love for the environment began with camping trips as a child, and grew in high school as he became passionate about climate change.
“It finally clicked about two years ago that everything I had learned growing up in the UCC connected with protecting the environment and with addressing climate change,” he said. “It happened when I started learning in classes that social justice and ecological health are never really separate.”
Read Cage’s blog post, The Epiphany of Climate Justice
Cage will be contacting churches asking for environmental justice contacts; he would love to hear from anyone interested in the issue at firstname.lastname@example.org
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