Upcoming Events

Listening to the Cry of the Earth: Union’s Response to the Climate Crisis

April 22, 2021 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Zoom Webinar
Benjamin Stegbauer


Join us on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, at 6:00 pm EST for Listening to the Cry of the Earth: Union’s Response to the Climate CrisisAs part of Union Theological Seminary declaring a Climate Emergency, the greater Union community has committed to undergoing a democratic Community Assembly to determine and enact a Climate Mobilization Action Plan.


This expert panel serves as an opportunity for students, faculty, and alum participants of the Assembly as well as the greater Union community to hear from esteemed experts in the fields of Curriculum, Facilities, Eco-Justice, and other adjacent fields. The panel will ask and explore how Union, as an institution, as a community, as a member of the Morningside Heights community, and as a Seminary can better hear the Cry of the Earth?

Our Expert Panel will include:

Karenna Gore

Karenna Gore is the founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) at Union Theological Seminary. CEE bridges the worlds of religion, academia, policy and culture to discern and pursue the changes that are necessary to stop ecological destruction and create a society that values the long-term health of the whole. She is also an ex officio member of the faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.

rev. abby mohaupt

The rev. abby mohaupt is GreenFaith’s Director of Education & Training. abby previously coordinated GreenFaith’s and Drew Theological School’s Green Seminary Initiative, and she coordinates GreenFaith’s relationships with seminaries across the US, as well as the GreenFaith Fellowship. She holds a Masters of Divinity and Masters of Theology degrees from McCormick Theological Seminary, is a PhD candidate at Drew Theological School, is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and lives in Texas.

Rev. Pamela Cooper White

Rev. Pamela Cooper White, PhD bio and portrait (attached): The Rev. Pamela Cooper-White, PhD is Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion at Union.  She has long been an advocate for climate justice, especially as climate change disproportionately impacts women and communities of color.  She was an original faculty signer for Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta onto the Green Seminary Initiative, presented to Union’s Center for Earth Ethics on the topic of psychological causes of climate change denial, and participated with faculty and students in the October 2019 Climate Strike and march in New York City.  She is excited about Union’s declaration of a climate emergency, and plans to become a certified member of Green Seminary Initative, which represents best practices for ecojustice education and advocacy.

Rev. Dawrell Rich

Reverend Dawrell Rich is a pastor-teacher, public speaker, and community builder. He holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture, Master of Infrastructure Planning and Master of Divinity. Currently, he is completing a Ph.D. in the area of religion and society. His research focuses on the role of the church in environmental justice and community development. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Association for the Sociology of Religion, and a Senior Fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program. He is also a United States Green Building Council Scholar. Most recently, he was awarded the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award from Drew University.

Owl (Steven Dennison-Smith)

Son of William Alfred Smith, Esquire, who spent his early childhood in the Ramapo mountains and grandson of Ira Smith, professor and educator from Hillburn, NY and one of first from Ramapough community to receive an advanced university degree. Steven D. Smith received his bachelor of arts in political science from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of California at Berkeley. Mr. Smith has traveled and lived extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean including Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, Guyana and Ecuador. Steven Smith is a member of several bar associations including the United States Supreme Court bar of attorneys. Mr. Smith has assisted indigenous Navajo (Diné), Tohono O’odham, Guyanese villagers, and Ramapough with major environmental issues in national courts and before Congress and the United Nations.

Geoff Brown

Geoff Brown directs government relations activities for The Pew Charitable Trusts’ domestic environmental campaigns, which have ranged from preserving our nation’s public lands to promoting clean energy policies and improving the ability of communities to cope with flooding and sea-level rise.  He also has been involved with many of Pew’s oceans and international campaigns. Previously, he was the legislative director for the National Environmental Trust and spent 10 years working in the U.S. Senate on a range of environment, energy, and economic development issues.

Geoff lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC and holds a master’s degree in resource policy and behavior from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Yale University.

This picture is from almost the last day of the Obama administration.  I am on the grounds of the White House with the Obama’s dogs Sunny and Bo.


Petra Thombs

Petra is the Executive Director of the Ramapough Lenape Community Center in Mahwah, New Jersey, operated by the Ramapough Mountain Indians, Inc. a 501-c3 organization. She is in preliminary Fellowship with the UUA, and will be ordained in May. Petra has been an advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples and nations. A graduate from Union Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, having majored in Church History, her focus is largely addressing the Doctrine of Discovery as it has fostered racism and extreme marginalization for Indigenous communities globally. 

​Prior to coming to Union, Petra retired from her career in the NYC Dept of Education. A lifelong poet, she writes about historical, cultural, religious, and personal experiences, expressing the perspectives of marginalized communities. Petra is married to Bernard, has two adult sons, Benjamin and Matthew, and a cat named Esteban.