The Rev. Steve Halsted lit a candle, led a breathing meditation on the four elements (earth, fire, water and air), and passed around a conch shell, inviting participants to listen for a message inside.
One woman said the sound of a rushing ocean encouraged her to “keep going on.”
Another lowered the shell from her ear and said she’d heard: “We’re not there yet.”
The eight men and women sitting in a semi-circle at Raleigh’s Community United Church of Christ fellowship hall paused for a 90-minute “Earth Sabbath” on a recent Tuesday.
The service was conceived by Halsted, who leads this congregation with a long history of fighting for the rights of African-Americans, women and gays. Lately, many of his members had become environmental activists, so he crafted a celebration that would allow them to pause and renew their spiritual connections to the earth.
Yonat Shimron, Religion News Service
Ran November 6, 2012, in The Washington Post