Jim Antal is a denominational leader, climate activist, author and public theologian. He serves as Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. An environmental activist since the first Earth Day, he has preached on the climate crisis since 1988 in over 300 settings and has engaged in non-violent civil disobedience on numerous occasions. Antal’s book, CLIMATE CHURCH, CLIMATE WORLD, now available in a revised and updated 2nd edition, is being studied by hundreds of congregations. It has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, in Christian Century Magazine and by the AAR. Antal is a graduate of Princeton University, Yale Divinity School and Andover Newton Theological School.
From 2006-2018, Antal led the 350 UCC churches in Massachusetts as their Conference Minister and President. Antal wrote and championed three groundbreaking national UCC resolutions: in 2013 the UCC became the first national body to vote to divest from fossil fuel companies; in 2017 the national UCC Synod voted to declare a new moral era in opposition to President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord; in 2019, the UCC national Synod became the first Christian denomination to endorse the Green New Deal.
Antal received the 2019 Steward of Creation award from the National Religious Coalition for Creation Care, joining the Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley and Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, and previous awardees HAH Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Bill McKibben, the Sioux Nation, James Hansen and Wendell Berry. Also in 2019, Antal was honored as recipient of the UCC’s social justice prophet award. In 2017, Yale Divinity School honored him with the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice.
Before leading the UCC in Massachusetts, for 20 years Antal was a local UCC pastor in Shaker Heights, Ohio and Newton, Massachusetts. In the mid-80’s he served as Executive Director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (USA), an interfaith pacifist organization. Antal began his ministry as a chaplain and teacher at several schools, including Northfield Mount Hermon and Phillips Academy Andover.