“Ocean Psalms” premiers at Yale Conference on Religious Environmentalism

From February 28th to March 2, Yale Divinity School hosted a multi-faith, interdisciplinary conference on religious environmentalism that attracted a host of activists, scholars, theologians, ministers, and artists from around the country.

Ocean Psalms, which had been published just days earlier, was a gift to every participant of this conference, thanks to the Institute of Sacred Music and its director, Prof. Martin Jean. The Institute of Sacred Music also made available its Great Hall on Saturday and Sunday for people to encounter the music, images, and texts of Ocean Psalms. The multimedia CD-ROM ran on a continuous loop on the big screen; the room itself having been transformed into a contemplative space, with many-colored cloths, sand, shells, candles, driftwood, and stones. Conference participants came to the Great Hall to be able to sit quietly, kneel amidst the shells and candles to pray, or simply to watch and listen to Ocean Psalms unfolding.

On Saturday afternoon, Teresa Berger and Lorna Collingridge both participated in a break-out session dedicated to “Water” and presented on Ocean Psalms.

Finally, the Sunday morning Eco-Service Harmonizing Hope included a blessing taken from Ocean Psalms, which the multi-faith congregation sang together. Lorna Collingridge, the composer of the blessing, led the congregation. Accompanying her on his alto saxophone was Grammy-award-winning musician Paul Winter. This “Ocean Blessing” proved a fitting and deeply moving conclusion to the Yale premier of Ocean Psalms.