New England Yearly Meeting

A community of Quakers and Quaker meetings across New England.

New England Friends join regional faith groups to call for marine monument

Apr 29, 2016
Frederick Weiss, Presiding Clerk

On behalf of Friends in New England, Presiding Clerk Frederick Weiss and Secretary Noah Baker Merrill have signed this letter from Creation Justice Ministries asking for permanent protection of recently discovered canyons and seamounts near the New England coast.

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Secretary Sally Jewell
US Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240

April 15, 2016

Dear President Obama and Secretary Jewell,

The first Genesis creation story begins with the vast chaotic waters, out of which all life emerged. Today, the ocean continues to inspire a great sense of mystery, awe, and promise. With modern subaquatic cameras, we are finally getting an inkling of what wonders God has created underwater. Up until very recently, most of us did not know that only 100 miles off the New England coastline, under the Atlantic Ocean, we have canyons as deep as the Grand Canyon and mounts nearly as high as the Rockies, which are highly biodiverse areas in the Atlantic.

As a matter of faithful stewardship of God’s gifts, we believe it is a moral imperative to shelter this underwater modern “Noah’s ark” from potential harm. The coral canyons and seamounts have rare cold-water corals more than a thousand years old. Scientists are continuing to identify new species in this area, which are proving to be some of God’s most exotic and wondrous creatures.

Likewise, these undersea treasures are integral to the historical heritage of tribes native to this region. Long before the advent of industrial activity in these waters, these tribes exercised wise stewardship of God’s ocean gifts. We owe it to future generations to maintain these God-given gifts with the same level of care these tribes have demonstrated over many centuries.

By caring for creation, we honor our Creator. God’s underwater creation merits our reverence. By designating these special areas as national monuments, we improve the chances our communities can get to know, love, and be good stewards of these beautiful, unique, and biodiverse areas. These special places deserve permanent protection so they can thrive for generations to come.

We ask that you use your authority under the Antiquities Act to designate New England’s Coral Canyons and Seamounts as the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

With hope,

Rev. Kent Siladi
Conference Minister, Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ
Hartford, CT

Sister Nancy Audette
Chairwoman, Mercy Ecology Ministry Board of Trustees, Sisters of Mercy Northeast
West Hartford, CT

Rev. Thomas Carr
Pastor, Second Baptist Suffield
Co-Founder, Inter-religious Eco-Justice Network of Connecticut Suffield, CT

Rev. Laura Everett
Executive Director, Massachusetts Council of Churches
Boston, MA

The Rev. Jim Antal
Conference Minister and President, Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
Framingham, MA

The Rt. Rev. James Hazelwood, Bishop
New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Worcester, MA

The Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm
Bishop Suffragan, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts
Boston, MA

Fritz Weiss, Presiding Clerk
Noah Baker Merrill, Secretary
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)
Worcester, MA

The Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Ph.D
Missioner for Creation Care, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts
Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ

Rev. Robert Mark
Pastor, Church of the Covenant
Presbytery of Boston Coordinator, Presbyterian Church (USA) Eco-Stewards Program
Boston, MA

Cindy Kohlmann
Resource Presbyter, Presbyteries of Boston and Northern New England
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Marlborough, MA

Phoebe Morad
National Program Coordinator, Lutherans Restoring Creation
Boston, MA

The Rt. Rev. Stephen T. Lane Bishop 
Episcopal Diocese of Maine
Portland, ME

The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfield
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire
Concord, NH

Rev. Dr. Mary Westfall
Pastor, Community Church of Durham
Chair, Eco-Justice Committee, New Hampshire Council of Churches
Durham, NH

Rev. Dr. Don Anderson
Executive Director, Rhode Island State Council of Churches
Providence, RI

Barbara Scott
Chair, Board of Directors, Rhode Island State Council of Churches
Bristol, RI

The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, DD SOSc
Bishop, The Diocese of Rhode Island
Providence, RI

Rev. Barbara J. Libby
Interim Conference Minister, Rhode Island Conference of the United Church of Christ
Pawtucket, RI

Rev. Dr. Tom Wiles
Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island
Exeter, RI

The Rev. Dr. Anita Louise Schell Rector, Emmanuel Church
President, Interfaith Power and Light of Rhode Island
Newport, RI

Carol DeAngelo, SC, MSW, MDiv
Director of Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation
Sisters of Charity of New York
Bronx, NY

The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Vermont
Burlington, VT

New England Yearly Meeting of Friends

901 Pleasant Street, Worcester, MA 01602

(508) 754-6760 - [email protected]