September 6, 2012 (content updated 9/14/12)
Cooperstown, NY – Concerned that Governor Cuomo could soon authorize the dangerous practice of high-volume hydrofracking, one hundred clergy and lay people recently gathered on the shores of Otsego Lake to share in blessing the waters of New York State. The service, which took place on September 6th at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, brought together people of diverse faiths with a common purpose of preventing the ruination of New York’s water, air and land.

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With the glimmering headwaters of the Susquehanna in the background, clergy representing several faith traditions began with the reading of a resolution signed by over seventy religious leaders urging state and local officials to ban the use of fracking for the extraction of methane gas from shale.

Reverend Craig Schwalenberg, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, opened the service with words of solidarity and hope for “a world in which love reigns over greed, justice rules over apathy, and stewardship wins over destruction.” Seven religious leaders followed, each speaking from the perspective of their individual faiths on the moral imperative for the stewardship of creation and prevention of harm to others. Among them was Reverend Samuel Trumbore, representing Interfaith Impact of New York State, who stressed that profit must not come before people or respect for creation;
and Jim Atwell, a Quaker minister from Fly Creek, who wove science and faith into a poetic account of the primordial planet baptized billions of years ago by water. Paddy Lane, another Quaker, called upon her faith’s history of non-violent civil disobedience to encourage resistance by people of conscience if a decision is made by the governor to permit fracking.

In a moving blend of words, music, and prayer, the service continued with both clergy and lay people coming forward to touch water collected in vessels from the lake. Accompanying the sacrament, all joined in celebrating the life-sustaining resources of upstate New York with varying, spontaneous refrains of “Peace Like a River”. The service concluded with Reverend Mark Montfort, Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Oneonta, sharing Native American words of thanksgiving for the gifts of nature and a prayer for peace.

Text of the Interfaith Resolution on Hydrofracking and letter to elected leaders can be found at .

Clergy or religious organizations who would like to add their name(s) to the resolution can do so by contacting Reverend Craig Schwalenberg at .

Hydrofracking in New York: Reflections from five indiviudals

After the blessing of the waters ceremony by Lake Otsego in Coopertown, NY on September 6, 2012, five individuals answer the following questions:

  1. What does stewardship mean to you?
  2. How would you define the choices before us in New York regarding hydrofracking?
  3. If Andrew Cuomo was standing next to you, what would you ask him?
  4. If he doesn’t listen and hydrofracking starts in New York, what do we do?

Christina Countryman ( talks about the upcoming Chain of Custody Walk about Water from Buffalo to Albany slated for October 8 through 29, 2012. We walk to demonstrate for the health and well being of all communities. No sacificed people! No sacrificed habitat! No sacificed land forms! No sacrificed bodies of water!