Marshall alumnus links“Faith and the Enviornment” through lecture

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Marshall University ministry UKirk welcomed Robin Blakeman to the Campus Christian Center Tuesday to give a presentation on “Faith and the Environment.”

Blakeman is a Marshall alumnus and was involved in the Presbyterian campus ministry when she attended Marshall in the 1980s. Blakeman currently works as the organizer for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition.

“Thanks, Ellen, for inviting me back home,” Blakeman said to UKirk interim minister Ellen Dawson.

Blakeman showed students OVEC’s website and discussed what the organization’s mission is.

“Our main mission is to support people in communities where there are environmental problems,” Blakeman said.

According to Blakeman, OVEC does not go into a community unless they are invited by people who live there. Blakeman said OVEC helps communities by giving them media attention and lobbying state and national legislatures on their behalf.

Blakeman told students how she ended up with the job she has now.

“In 2000, I found myself at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary,” Blakeman said.

Blakeman said she served a small church in Covington, Ohio for a brief period after she finished seminary.

“It never felt like exactly where I was supposed to be,” Blakeman said.

In 2007, Blakeman moved back to Huntington and began volunteering for OVEC. Blakeman said the first thing she was asked to do was lead a prayer circle. Blakeman showed students a sample of a prayer for West Virginia. Students took turns reading the prayer aloud one sentence at a time.

“Within six months a position opened up,” Blakeman said. Blakeman has worked as an organizer with OVEC since 2008.

“They wanted someone who could be a liaison with the faith community, with the Huntington community,” Blakeman said.

Blakeman said she is from Huntington, but never imagined herself coming back to live and work in the city.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that God doesn’t bring you back home,” Blakeman said.

Blakeman discussed the effects of mountaintop removal from both an environmental and a faith perspective.

“You have to look at it in more of a broad picture and more of a realistic picture,” Blakeman said.

“Realizing the effects of these huge industries is heartbreaking to me,” Dawson said after Blakeman concluded her presentation.

“My prayer is for (my daughter) and for all of you that sometime soon we will choose a wiser path as far as priorities in this state,” Blakeman said.

Lydia Waybright can be contacted at [email protected]

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