Margaret Bullitt-Jonas '66, an Episcopal priest, author, retreat leader, and a trailblazing climate activist
Margaret Bullitt-Jonas '66 is an Episcopal priest, author, retreat leader, and -- perhaps surprisingly, to some -- a trailblazing climate activist. Her ordination in June of 1988 coincided with climate scientists' first public report on the greenhouse effect, which sparked Margaret to reflect on whether “God could help humanity heal our relationship with Earth.” Margaret committed herself to learn about how the Christian faith connects with loving the earth, an area of study that was novel at the time.
Over the past 25 years, Margaret has helped organize climate justice rallies and marches, led prayer vigils, and testified at public hearings about state energy policy. She was among the first to engage in civil disobedience to protest global warming -- leading to her arrest in 2001 while protesting against drilling in the Arctic National Refuge, and again in 2017 when protesting the West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline. She was active in the grassroots network that supported divestment resolutions from Episcopal dioceses around the country. In 2015, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention voted to divest from fossil fuel holdings and to reinvest in clean energy development.
Currently, Margaret is focusing on helping fellow activists, preachers and everyday people build emotional and spiritual resilience in the face of the climate crisis. She leads spiritually uplifting retreats and is the Missioner for Creation Care for the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ, and the Creation Care Advisor for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. She also co-edited the essay collection, Rooted & Rising, which explores how individuals have found courage and wisdom in the fight to protect our planet. Margaret shares, “There are so many ways we can help and things we can do to make a difference. While climate change is an enormous challenge, we can celebrate that over the past decade the climate justice movement has grown immensely. I am no longer one of the few!"