Dr. Amy Acton, best known for leading Ohio’s COVID-19 response in its early days as the director of the Ohio Department of Health, will preach on Sunday at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ Downtown.
Acton, now the leader of Franklin County nonprofit group RAPID 5, said preaching at the church, led by the Rev. Tim Ahrens, is an opportunity for her to indulge in deep thought.
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“Spirituality is a big part of my life,” said Acton, who is Jewish. “I’ve always been curious how people live a life well-lived and what these larger cultural experiences are.”
Acton was tapped to be president and CEO of RAPID 5, which stands for Rivers and Parks + Imagination + Design, in May. The group aims to connect the county’s trail network with five streams.
On Sunday, at services at 9 and 11 a.m., Acton will preach a sermon titled “One Hope” as part of a six-week preaching series at the church called “God’s Good Earth,” Ahrens said. The church, at 444 E. Broad St., is encouraging masks, and everyone is welcome.
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Ahrens hopes people learn from Acton how they can have a part in caring for creation.
“Care of the planet is sort of a big thing for us to handle all by ourselves,” Ahrens said.
But, Acton’s work on the local level can help people break it down, he said.
“We can do some very clear environmental action here and now…. She’s sort of putting it into action where we live,” Ahrens said. “There’s some practical things that RAPID 5 can do to connect us to one another and the earth and it’s huge.”
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For Acton’s part, she said she’s working to find her voice in the environmental justice aspect of her work. She said it’s public health work in disguise and nature has many health benefits.
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The topic of climate change on an international scope can be overwhelming, she said, but the city has the resources to do something big now that can make a difference as it grows.
With RAPID 5, Acton is trying to create a movement that is people- and community-led, she said, and she wants to lift up the people doing the work already, too.
“You ask people to do whatever they can do. … It’s often the little things we all do,” Acton said. “In this case each of us has to look around our world.”
“The world is crying out and it’s hurting, we’re hurting. … I believe nature’s the antidote.”
Dr. Amy Acton
Acton hopes her sermon is a larger call to action to the community, so the opportunity to make an impact isn’t missed, she said.
“Our world is crying out and it’s hurting, we’re hurting,” Acton said. “I believe nature’s the antidote.”