2020 Prophet of Peace Award

2020 Prophet of Peace Award

Prophet of Peace Award on the Feast of Scholastica

We were reminded in tonight’s reading that everything created by God is full of beauty, splendor and glory. We are likewise reminded that all of God’s creation has been given to us to steward.

The concept of environmental stewardship has its roots in the first story of creation where God gives humans responsibility for all of creation. Humans were created to be responsible for God’s creation. Caring for creation is not an add-on, not a sideline.

Care for God’s creation represents our human relationship to God and God’s creation. It places us directly in a caretaker position in regard to environmental stewardship. We are called to responsible management of human activity affecting the natural environment; we are called ensure the conservation and preservation of natural resources and values for the sake of future generations of humans and all creation.

This evening we honor a man who understands that responsibility—a man who has lived his care for creation with significant and dedicated efforts. Dr. J. Michael Campbell—married to his wife Anne for 40 years, a father of four, a grandfather of three, an Elder in the Presbyterian Church—has been committed to the care of Lake Erie and has modeled sustained community involvement that creates change.

Mike is Professor of Biology at Mercyhurst University, where he has worked since 1984. He received training in Biology at East Stroudsburg State College and earned a PhD degree in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University in 1983. Mike has over three decades of experience in leading undergraduate research-centered field courses in Limnology and Field Ecology, and has mentored students who have become successful environmental scientists.

Mike has been involved in several ecological restoration efforts in Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes, including: authorship of the Rivers Conservation Plan for the Pennsylvania Lake Erie Watershed; research contributing to improved understanding of an outbreak of avian botulism outbreak in Lake Erie; the restoration of American shad fishery; and a co-leadership role with Sr. Pat Lupo in a citizen-based initiative to list and restore Erie’s Presque Isle Bay as a Great Lakes Area of Concern.

Mike helped guide a student effort to complete a campus greenhouse gas emissions inventory at Mercyhurst and worked to advance a demonstration of principles of sustainable agriculture at University properties in Girard and North East, PA. Mike has committed to advance public education on issues related to climate change and environmental justice and wants to serve as a model for students to take personal responsibility and active roles locally in addressing these global problems. His recent co-leadership role of HECA with Sr. Pat has been a wonderful opportunity to make new friends with other great like-minded people in Erie and to support the Environmental Justice Community.

All of this speaks of a man who is faithful to the gifts he has been given—a man who has blessed God, the creator of all, by his efforts to be a good and faithful steward of the creation that has been entrusted to his care. Because of all of this and more, we see in Dr. J. Michael Campbell, a Prophet of Peace: a man of faith and action; a man living the Gospel and being the good news for others; a man who exemplifies the corporate commitment of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie by being a healing presence and prophetic witness for peace and justice by actively addressing the climate crisis and the rights of women and children.

And so, Mike, I invite you to please come forward to receive this award that names you our 2020 Prophet of Peace.

Dr. J. Michael Campbell, you embody the corporate commitment of the Benedict Sisters of Erie as a prophetic witness for peace and justice.

Tonight we extend our annual Prophet of Peace Award to you for sharing your passion for Lake Erie and environmental justice with a generation of students and the broader community.

You model sustained, detailed community involvement that creates change and we acknowledge you for:
• co-founding Hold Erie Coke Accountable (HECA) and empowering citizens to monitor and report pollution from Erie’s Coke plant;
• authoring the Rivers Conservation plan for the Lake Erie Watershed;
• generating and producing campus environmental plans at Mercyhurst University;
• researching an avian botulism outbreak.
• restoring American shad fishery.
• co-leading efforts to revive the health of Presque Isle Bay.

We honor you.
We applaud your life’s work.
We pray for the courage to follow your example.

Sister Anne Wambach, Prioress, and the Benedictine Sisters of Erie

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.