Summer Peace Conference 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018 12:00 PM to Sunday, July 22, 2018 12:00 PM

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Since its inception in 2011, the Peace Conference at Rolling Ridge has served as an important platform for healthy dialogue and inspirational hope. Diverse speakers over the years have addressed issues of peace-making, Earth tending, and interfaith reverence.  This year during our 8th Annual Peace Conference, we will look at the spiritual foundations of environmental justice in the Abrahamic faith tradition.  During the Saturday afternoon plenary, interfaith environmental leaders will share about the importance of creation care in their tradition and then discuss the common roots that unite them for action.  Sunday afternoon workshops will delve deeper into Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim eco-spirituality, while also exploring practical opportunities to protect our common planetary home.  During our closing service, we will celebrate our unity through song and prayer..

About the leader(s)

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

Ibrahim has a long history working on environmental policy and has expertise in the public, private, and civic sectors on several affairs including sustainability, technology, community engagement, sports, and new media. His work has influenced many realms of society while he served as the sustainability policy advisor to Mayor Bloomberg and currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection. Part environmentalist and part community organizer, he is a former Outward Bound instructor, helped found the Brooklyn Academy for Science and the Environment, and blended youth organizing and technology while at the Movement Strategy Center. Ibrahim’s unique message can be heard on Al Jazeera, FOX News and ABC News, and his writings can be found in many publications including The Washington Post,, the Muslim Observer, Thought,, and more. His book, "Green Deen, what Islam teaches about protecting the Planet" explores how faith and environmentalism intersect.  He holds numerous awards including the National Urban Fellow (2008), Green for All Fellow (2009), and most recently was named one of the 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in New York City Politics from City & State Magazine (2015). Abdul-Matin holds a BA from the University of Rhode Island and a MPA from CUNY (City University of New York) Baruch College. He is a suffering NY Knicks fan and lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and two sons.

Margaret Bullit-Jonas

Rev. Margaret Bullit-Jonas serves as Missioner for Creation Care in the Episcopal Diocese of Western
Massachusetts and the United Church of Christ, Christ, Massachusetts Conference.  An experienced retreat leader and spiritual director, she is a long-time climate activist dedicated to inspiring a wave of religious activism to
address the climate crisis.  Her most recent book,
Joy of Heaven, To Earth Come Down (2016), is a collection of daily Advent-Christmas meditations on the sacredness of the natural world.  

Norman Comtois

Rev. Norman Comtois, OMI, MA is an ordained Roman Catholic priest and member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.   His experience in Pastoral Counseling, Intentional Eucharistic Communities, and Renewal programs for women religious continues to inform his ministry as a current retreat director. In the year 2000, Father Norm completed an Earth Literacy program at Genesis Farm, Blairstown, New Jersey. Since then he has devoted his interest and education toward developing retreats and courses that bring the Universe Story to life in a spiritually relevant and meaningful way. He also serves as team member and consultant for La Vista Ecological Learning Center. Father Norm encourages those attending his presentations and retreats to ponder the wisdom of their religious traditions in the context of the Story of the Universe.

Judy Kummer

Rabbi Judy Kummer is an environmental activist, teacher and Executive Director of the Jewish Chaplaincy Council of Massachusetts.  A Boston native, she earned a BA from Barnard College in Environmental Studies and Urban Planning and was ordained at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia.  Rabbi Kummer is an avid organic gardener, potter, and hiker.

Fred Small

Hailed by Pete Seeger as "one of America's best songwriters," Fred Small sings songs of conscience in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, and Holly Near.  Powerful, affecting, and inviting, Fred's songs illuminate the goodness and courage of all kinds of people.
Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Rosalie Sorrels, Steve Gillette, Judy Small (no relation), Roy Bailey, the Flirtations, and the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus are among the singers who have interpreted Fred's songs to audiences around the world. 
Fred’s song "The Heart of the Appaloosa" was elected to the All-Time Bluegrass Hit Parade by WAMU Radio in Washington, DC  In 1992, Heart Strings, the nationally touring AIDS-benefit musical, chose Fred's empowering lullaby "Everything Possible" as its grand finale.  In 2000, the National Organization of Men against Sexism (NOMAS) honored Fred for his contributions to gender justice.  In 2017, UU Mass Action presented him with the Ruth Rowan Award for his musical contributions to social justice movements.
Fred has released eight albums: Live at First Parish (Aquifer, 2009), Only Love (Aquifer, 2001), Everything Possible (Flying Fish, 1993), Jaguar (Flying Fish, 1991), I Will Stand Fast (Flying Fish, 1988), No Limit (Rounder, 1985), The Heart of the Appaloosa, 1983) (all Flying Fish and Rounder titles available from, and Love's Gonna Carry Us (Aquifer, 1981).  Fred’s two songbooks, Promises Worth Keeping (1994) and Breaking from the Line (1986) are published by Yellow Moon Press (
Fred Small was born November 6, 1952, in Plainfield, NJ.  Grandnephew of Thomas Hart Benton, the American regionalist painter (and outstanding harmonica player), Fred was playing guitar and singing folk songs by age seven.  After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Yale, Fred earned a law degree and a masters in natural resources policy at the University of Michigan.  He wrote his first song in 1974 on the morning of his first law school examination.  In 1980 Fred left his position as staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation to pursue his career in music full time.
In 1999, Fred was awarded his Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School.  After serving First Church Unitarian in Littleton, MA, and First Parish in Cambridge, MA, in 2015 Fred left parish ministry to devote his energies to climate activism, especially among people of faith.  He is now Minister for Climate Justice at Arlington Street Church, Boston.
Fred has performed throughout the United States as well as in Japan, Australia, England, and Canada.  He has appeared at the Philadelphia, Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Kerrville Folk Festivals, Lunenburg (NS) Folk Harbour Festival, Sidmouth (UK) Folk Arts Festival, National Folk Festival of Australia, Great Hudson River Revival, Great River Traditional Music & Crafts Festival (LaCrosse, WI), Woody Guthrie Tribute (Tulsa, OK), Bread and Roses Labor Heritage Festival (Lawrence, MA), and the Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) rally in New York City.