The Rev. April Berends

Contributor, Center for Religion and Environment

April Berends grew up splashing in the tributaries of the Plaster Creek (Ken-o-Shae) watershed in West Michigan, and swimming and fishing the waters of the Great Lakes. An Episcopal priest, she is the rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Chattanooga and has served congregations in rural Tennessee, Milwaukee, Miami, and Washington DC. At Grace, a faithful community of citizen ecologists tends a Level 2 urban arboretum, restores native habitat, supports local foodways, and resources local congregations and organizations for the work of creation care, justice and advocacy. April’s background includes community organizing and public health. She is interested in equipping faith communities for action around the intersections of climate change, decolonization, species decline, environmental justice and community care. She has a B.A. in visual art and art history from Calvin College, and an M.Div. from Yale University. In recent years, she has begun to explore the wonders of mycology with her nine-year-old, a budding ecologist who helps to her to notice the connections between decay, resurrection and all living things.

David George Haskell, Ph. D.

Contributor, Center for Religion and Environment

David Haskell is a writer and a biologist. His latest book, Sounds Wild and Broken, explores the story of sound on Earth. Starting with the origins of animal song and traversing the whole arc of Earth history, he illuminates and celebrates the emergence, diversification, and loss of the sounds of our world, including human music and language. The New York Times selected the book as an “Editor’s Choice”. His previous books, The Forest Unseen and The Songs of Trees are acclaimed for their integration of science, poetry, and rich attention to the living world. Among their honors include the National Academies’ Best Book Award, John Burroughs Medal, finalist for Pulitzer Prize, Iris Book Award, Reed Environmental Writing Award, National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature, and runner-up for the PEN E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Haskell received his BA from the University of Oxford and PhD from Cornell University. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, a Guggenheim Fellow, and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, USA. Find him at and on social media @DGHaskell (Twitter), DavidGeorgeHaskell (Instagram and Facebook).

The Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton

Contributor, Center for Religion and Environment

Rachel is an Indigenous ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and Vice-President of the Episcopal Church House of Deputies. As a Shackan First Nation person, she represents the Episcopal Church on the board of the Anglican Indigenous Network. She served on the Episcopal Church delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and also served on the Presiding Bishop's delegation to United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). Rachel has 30 years of experience in cross-cultural communication, specialized ministry, social justice advocacy, and environmental advocacy. She is the founder of Circles of Color, a grassroots community of Episcopalians of color and authentic allies in the Episcopal Church of Western Washington and serves on the board of Paths to Understanding, an organization of interfaith leaders committed to mutual support on issues of social justice.


Rachel is a Board Certified Healthcare Chaplain, endorsed through the Office of the Bishop Suffragan for the Armed Forces and Federal Ministries. With an academic background in cultural anthropology and cross-cultural communication, Rachel specializes in assessment and care plan development for recovery processes related to incidents of community and organizational trauma. As a writer, her work has appeared in the Anglican Theological Review, God Space, Church Foundation Vital Practices, the Living Church, and more. She maintains a reflective commentary blogsite called Greening Spirit ( Rachel is currently the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Everett, WA.


The Rev. Jemonde Taylor

Contributor, Center for Religion and Environment


Since 2012, the Reverend Jemonde Taylor serves as the eleventh rector of the 154-year-old, historically African American Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church, Raleigh, NC. Saint Ambrose is ground zero for environmental racism and injustice. The church began in 1868 in Smokey Hollow, a neighborhood named for noxious gas train smoke from the depot that constantly clouded the air. Currently, the church is in the Walnut Creek Wetland floodplain where Raleigh released raw sewage for 70 years and served as an unofficial garbage-dumping site. The city designated this area for African Americans to live during segregation. The church responded nearly 30 years ago by helping found an environmental non-profit, Partners for Environmental Justice (PEJ) and partnered with Raleigh to create a $2MM environmental education center. Father Taylor is a member of the following environmental and community groups: chair of the Raleigh Stormwater Management Advisory Commission (SMAC), with responsibility for a $12MM budget; treasurer of the Walnut Creek Stakeholders; the Walnut Creek Wetland Community Project; $1MM Walnut Creek Park Expansion Advisory Council; and Duke Cancer Institute Community Advisory Council. Jemonde is part of a five-member research team that received a $400,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to work on a documentary film on Race, Church, and Theological Practices. He is a lecturer in the both the College of Forestry and the College of Engineering at NC State. He also lectures at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He presented at the Kresge Foundation US Water Alliance Conference in Troy, MI. In 2022, he received the School of Theology Award for Service from the University of the South.


Father Taylor holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in robotics and vehicle design from Stanford University. Before entering seminary, he worked as an automotive performance and design engineer for Michelin Tire Company. He earned his M.Div. from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City in 2009. Prior to arriving at Saint Ambrose, he served as a priest at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.