Community Voices - Fr. Robert Cole

Fr. ColeFr. Robert Cole has been Pastor at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Oberlin for 5 years. Born and bred in the Cleveland area, he is glad to be serving several churches in the Cleveland Diocese. Fr. Cole has been a priest for 41 years.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

A: Unique….Period. (laughs)

Q: Would you care to explain that further?

A: It certainly is a very progressive, whether that means liberalism or great pride, or whether it stands out. It certainly is ahead of many communities, whether it is environmental issues or social justice issues.

Q: If you defined “sustainability” for your own life and perhaps for the life of your congregation, how would you do that?

A: Sustainability, I would see it in terms of making healthy actions today that provide for a wholesome tomorrow. To build for the future, to build on what you have, to build a healthy tomorrow for your church or community or organization. Always acting today in light of what’s coming tomorrow.

Q: What actions are you or your congregation that relate to sustainability?

A: We are a church so we are interested in preserving and professing our faith. We are trying to ensure the strength of our community. There has been a Sacred Heart church here for 115 years and want to make sure it’s there for another 215 or 315. We are involved in sustaining our faith community, but that doesn’t mean we don’t feel that we have obligations to the community itself, the wider community than the Catholic community. We have three recycling bins on the property, we encourage people to do that, we encourage them to be environmentally conscious.

Q: Is there anything you would like to tell your fellow community members regarding care for the environment or making sustainable life choices?

A: Are people part of the environment? We should be asking these questions. We can be all concerned about Mother Earth and all that goes with it, but if we are not concerned about taking care of human beings we are missing the point. If we are just saving the planet, we should just blow ourselves to the moon and the planet will be fine and there won’t be any people around and we’ll save the planet. The planet is not as important as the people. Our focus has to be on people. Our concern is life issues, people issues. There is a spark of God in all of us and we need to respect that.

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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton Rapids, Michigan. She is a Bonner Leader, a member of the Interfaith Student Council and a co-leader of Girls in Motion.



Photographer Info: Yvette Chen is a photographer for the Dashboard Project who is interested in the power of media and images. Originally from Princeton Junction, New Jersey, Yvette is a first year student at Oberlin College planning to study sociology and economics. Other than photography, in her spare time, she enjoys cooking and running through Ohio's rural landscapes.

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Guest March 15, 2017

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Anita Peebles
Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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