Louisiana Faith Leaders Support Coastal Restoration

04.06.2017 | In Coastal Restoration, Faith

The following letter was recently signed by over 30 faith leaders and delivered to the The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority in support of the 2017 Master Plan.

Dear Members of the CPRA:

The persons who have signed this letter are faith leaders, and we submit this comment on the 2017 Coastal Master Plan of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority because we are children of the One who created us and the planet on which we reside. God calls humans to care for all of creation. The choices we make regarding how we should live on the land and water God gave us for nourishment and nurture do matter.

Through human actions, some of which were well-intended and helpful in the short-term, we have altered the shape of the coast. We have allowed and often exacerbated the destruction of the habitat of people and animals and plants. The Isle de Jean Charles band of the BiloxiChitimacha-Choctaw people have already been displaced because of the erosion of coastal lands. The future of the United Houma Nation is in peril, and some have already had to resettle. Native peoples are not the only marginalized group adversely affected by the loss of coastal land. The cultures and lifeways of people who have traditionally been denied many opportunities have been put at risk by human-caused and human-intensified changes. Now that we know what we are doing, we must stop the destruction and work toward repairing the coastal damage.

Our faith teaches us that it is our task to make the best informed and most ethical decisions we can. We know that some individuals believe their livelihoods will be negatively affected by the actions described in the CPRA master plan. We regret any potential negative impacts on their lives. Yet in the complicated situation where we find ourselves today, negative impacts on humans may be inevitable. The question becomes which actions will benefit the most people and which actions will be the most beneficial for the generations that come after us. We believe that considering everything, it is right for us to engage in this work of restoring and protecting the coast.

Although we can never have the Creator’s knowledge about the processes of nature, humankind has acquired some wisdom through advances in science and through the lived experience of coastal residents about how to protect the coast. Sediment diversions have been proposed since the 1970s. We have delayed for decades, and now, even with federal fasttracking, the permitting process will still take at least two-and-a-half years. The master plan projects that will allow the diversion of some of the river’s sediment should be implemented as soon as possible. The time to proceed is now. The land that is built will be a gift to all Louisianians.

Please accept our thanks for your work on this complex document. We appreciate the efforts of the many people who have contributed to it and the admirable dedication to restoring and protecting the delicate environment of our coastal areas that the document reflects. We will also urge that legislators fulfill their responsibility to foster the common good by making sure this is considered a vital part of the state’s work in 2017 and that needed funds are allocated to it.


Rev. Ellen Blue, Ph.D. 
Clergy, Louisiana Conference,
United Methodist Church 
New Orleans 

Rev. Jim VanderWeele 
Community Church Unitarian Universalist 
New Orleans 

Rabbi Gabriel Greenberg 
Congregation Beth Israel 

Rev. Callie Winn Crawford 
Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church 
New Orleans 

Rabbi Alexis Pinsky 
Congregation Gates of Prayer 

Shawn Moses Anglim 
First Grace UMC 
New Orleans 

Rabbi Todd Silverman  
Touro Synagogue 
New Orleans 

Sister Jane Remson, O.Carm. 
Carmelite NGO 
New Orleans 

Rev. Lisa Fitzpatrick 
APEX Community Advancement, Inc.
APEX Youth Center Believers’ Faith Fellowship 
New Orleans 

Rev. James E. “Jim” Wilson 
Louisiana Conference
United Methodist Church 
New Orleans  

The Reverend Melanie Morel-Ensminger
Unitarian Universalist Community Minister 
New Orleans 

Michael G. Hackett
Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana Metairie 

Rev. Dr. Cory Sparks
Commission on Stewardship of the Environment
Louisiana Interchurch Conference
New Orleans 

The Rev. Dr. Joann M. Garma, ACPE, BCC
Episcopal Diocese of Louisianan, Retired


Bart Everson
Member of New Orleans Lamplight Circle Media Artist
Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development 

The Rev. Dan Krutz
Louisiana Interchurch Conference
Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana
Baton Rouge 

The Rev’d Deacon Priscilla Maumus
Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana

 Catherine M. Townsend 
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Lake Charles 

Mike Robertshaw
First Grace United Methodist Church
New Orleans 

 Rev. Jeff Conner
Parker United Methodist Church
New Orleans 

The Rev. Fred Devall 

The Rev. AJ Heine 
Priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana 

Rev. Glen Schory  
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 

Rev. Dr. Larry Robertson 

Rev. Ronald Unger
Pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church

Rev. Emile Noel
Our Lady of Prompt Succor 

 Luigi Mandile
Parish Administrator
Saint Anna’s Episcopal Church
New Orleans

Congregation of Parker United Methodist Church New Orleans

The Right Rev. William Terry 
Saint Anna’s Episcopal Church 
New Orleans 

 Caring for Creation Committee
Liz Shepard, Chair
Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church
New Orleans