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Interfaith Youth event aims to bring Lake Oswego's young people to the forefront of discussions about sustainability

REVIEW PHOTO: SAM STITES - Kristina Peterson, youth director at Christ Church Episcopal Parish, is organizing an interfaith event for youth that focuses on sustainability. It's scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.What does the Bible say about the environment? What do the various faiths have to do with sustainability in Lake Oswego? How do religion and environmental stewardship fit together?

Those are among the questions participants will ponder Saturday, when the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network presents an Interfaith Youth Sustainability Event at the Lake Oswego United Methodist Church (1855 South Shore Blvd.).

The event is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m. Admission is free.

Youth from several Lake Oswego congregations will talk about what their faith says about the environment and sustainability. They'll also discuss the goals they have set for themselves, for their churches and for the faith community to be better stewards of the planet.

The event is being organized by Kristina Peterson, youth director at Christ Church Episcopal Parish, as well as Dorothy Atwood and Lisa Adatto of the LOSN. It aims to help educate the community on how faith fits into the discussion around how to improve sustainability across Lake Oswego.

"The main goal was that this would be a youth-created event where they'd share what their faith says about the environment, and their responsibility for the environment," Peterson said. "We also want to hear about their passion for the environment. We're hoping the leaders of each of these churches come hear their youth talk and have it be a call to action."

Youth scheduled to present at the event include middle and high school students from Christ Church Episcopal Parish, Lake Grove Presbyterian and Lake Oswego United Methodist churches, the Baha'i Center of Lake Oswego and the New Thought Center for Spiritual Living. The event will include a networking session where the audience can interact with the youth, as well as a few presentations from local leaders like City Councilor John LaMotte and Eliot Metzger of the city's Sustainability Advisory Board.

According to Atwood, members of LOSN have identified a need to get more youth involved in the conversation around sustainability in Lake Oswego. After an inaugural interfaith coffee in October, Atwood reached out to Peterson to see if she'd be willing to partner to bring a larger event to fruition. Peterson seized the opportunity, and for the past few months she's been working to make it a reality.

"It's important we bring in youth and hear what they have to say about sustainability and what they'd like to see the adults do," Atwood said. "Kristina was very enthusiastic, and she's taken the reigns. We've continued to support her in that effort."

According to Peterson, who holds a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon, the LOSN's support means the world to her. She's excited to bring youth from all different congregations together to learn from each other and educate community members on how they can be a part of the effort to promote sustainability in Lake Oswego.

For Atwood, it's vital to the cause that younger generations — led by people like Peterson — take up the mantle and attempt to leave the world better than they found it.

"I think it's absolutely imperative to have those voices. The more young people we can get involved helps to ground the entire conversation in a different way," Atwood said. "It's great having us who have been around this issue, mostly retired folks, to say what we think should be done, but really it's those who are going to inherit the Earth who we need to talk about what they want to see happen. It's really powerful to have their lens, their perspective."

Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-479-2375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Interfaith Youth Sustainability Event, presented by Kristina Peterson, youth director at Christ Church Episcopal Parish, and the Lake Oswego Sustainability Network

WHEN: 6:30-8 p.m. Saturday, March 2

WHERE: Lake Oswego United Methodist Church, 1855 South Shore Blvd.

NOTE: Desserts, coffee and tea will be provided


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