The church that United Methodist Pastor Morris V. Fleischer serves in directly in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
His office window is the lowest on the left of this painting by artist Robert Tuckwiller.

Pastor Fleischer wrote recently with an update on a post shared August 2020, “Sometimes it feels that we’re kind of an “island” and the rest of the world is whizzing by while we endure the continual ravaging of our beautiful mountains.  We continue to throw legal brief after legal brief at the problem in hopes that one will finally “stick.”  I’ve attached a copy of a letter and a press release regarding some of current advocacy efforts by environmental groups engaged in defeating the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  It has been quite unfortunate that the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has not done its job of protecting our streams and forests.  We have documented hundreds of violations (slope erosion, stream sedimentation, etc.) but none have resulted in anything more than a “slap on the hand” of the investment company, EQT, who is responsible for the project.

Needless to say, it is difficult to not simply throw in the towel given the political forces that we are pushing back against.  I will say that locally, we have folks on both sides of the political aisle working against the pipeline.  Neighbors are attempting to help neighbors, regardless of political preference, so that is a hopeful sign.  If outsiders could see the damage being done, surely there would be more of an outcry against this use of imminent domain laws for the purpose of private corporate profit.

I have attached a painting done by artist Robert Tuckwiller who lives in here in Newport.  Because of his anti-pipeline stance, he has given us permission to share it as freely and broadly as possible.  The pipeline itself would cross State Route 42 about thirty-five yards north of our church which is featured in the painting.  My office window is the lowest on the left.  Below is a prayer from the Native American tradition that I have found especially representative of our current situation.”

Other updates can be seen at Appalachians Against Pipelines

Earth Prayer

To the Great Spirit,
Give us hearts to understand:
never to take from creation’s beauty more than we give;
never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
never to deny giving our hands for the building of earth’s beauty;
never to take from her what we cannot use.

Give us hearts to understand:
That to destroy earth’s music is to create confusion;
that to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
that to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;
that as we care for her she will care for us.

We have forgotten who we are.
We have sought only our own security.
We have exploited simply for our own ends.
We have distorted our knowledge.
We have abused our power.

Great Spirit, whose dry lands thirst,
help us to find the way to refresh your lands.

Great Spirit, whose waters are choked with debris and pollution,
help us to find the way to cleanse your waters.

Great Spirit, whose beautiful earth grows ugly with misuse,
help us to find the way to restore beauty to your handiwork.

Great Spirit, whose creatures are being destroyed,
Help us to find a way to replenish them.

Great Spirit, whose gifts to us are being lost in selfishness and corruption,
help us to find the way to restore our humanity.

Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
whose breath gives life to the world, hear me;
I need your strength and wisdom.

May I walk in Beauty. 

Morris V. Fleischer (He/His/Him)
Pastor Newport-Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church 
Newport, VA  24128