Robin Meyers preaching in the pulpit of Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in 2015./Photo by Rick Bolin - Wikipedia

Reverend to talk spiritual defiance, climate change at 39th Roger Williams Symposium

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By Alysen Boston

The word resistance is often associated with the election of President Donald Trump, but the Rev. Robin Meyers began preaching that spiritual life is its own act of defiance well before the 2016 election. 

Meyers, who has been a minister at the Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for 35 years, will be the headliner for the Common Ministry at Washington State University’s 39th Roger Williams Symposium in Pullman. 

The symposium kicks off Saturday with Meyers’ talk “Spiritual Defiance,” which is based on a lecture series he originally gave in 2013 at Yale Divinity School, from 7-8 p.m. at the Community Congregational United Church of Christ, 525 NE Campus St. 

“It’s about what things spiritual people should be pushing back against, how it is they should identify ways in which the dominant culture oppresses people and harms people and excludes people and figure out ways to resist that and push back against it,” he said.

Meyers will give a sermon, “Original Blessing,” at Community Congregational at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. At 2 p.m., he will host the film “American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel,” which discusses Mayflower Congregational, at St. James Episcopal Church, 1410 NE Stadium Way.

“Mayflower was the first church really to do same-sex weddings, we’re the first solar powered church, the first publicly declared sanctuary church,” Meyers said. “If I can do the work I’ve done at Mayflower in a state as conservative as Oklahoma, it really can be done anywhere.”

To cap off the symposium, Meyers will deliver the lecture, “Climate Change as a Moral Imperative,” at noon Monday in Room 308 at WSU’s Bryan Hall. The talk is sponsored by the Thomas Foley Institute. 

“Fighting global climate change is something we have to do morally, not because we agree with the science or it’s a cool thing to do, but because it’s morally bankrupt to participate in your own extinction,” Meyers said. “We’re not allowed to destroy the gift we’ve been given.”

First held in 1978, the Roger Williams Symposium is named after a British theologian who preached about religious freedom, separation of church and state, and the freedom of conscience, Common Ministry Director Emi Dickens said in an email. 

The symposium events are free, and students, clergy and community members are invited to attend. 

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About Alysen Boston

Alysen Boston is a writer from Baltimore living in Pullman, Washington. She has a bachelor of arts in communication with a specialization in multimedia journalism from Washington State University. She works as an events coordinator for Paradise Creek Brewery and is a former reporter and editor at the Daily Evergreen and the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. She can be contacted at To read her articles and editorials, visit, or

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