Ed Bacon, new Pando Vice Chair

Ed Bacon at the Pando tree grove.

Ed Bacon, new Pando Vice Chair

By   |  Feb. 21, 2022

Editor’s note: The Pando Board of Directors is delighted to announce that Ed Bacon has accepted its invitation to become Vice Chair. He joins Founding Chair John Cobb at the board’s helm.  

For twenty years, Ed was rector of All Saints, Pasadena, the largest Episcopal Church in the western U.S. and hub of progressive justice and environmental work. He maintains a broad media presence (Oprah has featured him any number of times; Ms. Winfrey named Ed Bacon a “Soul Teacher” on her “SuperSoul 100” list, a collection of “100 awakened leaders who are using their voices to elevate humanity.”)

Ed is author of the influential 8 Habits of Love. He’s been given two honorary doctorates and is an honorary canon of the Episcopal Church. He’s on the board of Ilia Delio’s center, which sits alongside Pando within the broader process-related community.  

We “sat down” with Ed over email for the kind of interview we’d do in person if these were normal times.

PANDO:  Welcome Ed!

ED:  Thank you! These are indeed not normal times. I’m deeply concerned about the state of our planet, the cancers of polarization, unexamined systemic racism and other forms of modern “isms,” and a supremacist, hyper-individualized Christianity that needs profound reform.

Recent news about the megadrought and the fact that we have broken a 1,200-year record for a heated Earth. 

I’m also hopeful and energized because all crises are portals to transformation and healing. Unusual times call for unusual commitment and hope. 

It’s all hands-on deck!  

And I’m offering my hands. 

I have to let you know how grateful and honored we feel. But, why Pando?  I can imagine the number of organizations that would love to have you in a leadership position on their boards. 

Pando Populus for me is a practical and inspirational response to the crises we face. We are creatively radical in that our founder/leader John Cobb thinks in terms of a completely new civilization. Pando Populus is both action oriented and educational. 

That’s a difficult tension. It assumes we can creatively imagine and work to bring about a different world than the one we’ve been born into. 

Indeed, indeed. For me the tension is resolved in inspiration and oneness – the values found in Pando, the tree

One of the million reasons I love the work of Pando Populus is that every project is a sacrament (pardon my theological lingo) of practical and beauty-oriented examples of how the human family can do things differently – that’s action AND education. 

Hope Hendricks-Bacon and John Cobb.

You were the first person to preach from the pulpit about the symbolic power of Pando. I remember a friend having a recording of that first sermon on his iPhone and showing it to me. We were all very excited! 

Pando has been a part of my sermons, PowerPoint presentations, and my daily life ever since John Cobb’s 2014 essay, “One More Thing Before I Go.” The genius is that Pando is both fresh and timeless.

There’s no baggage associated with the symbol of Pando like there is for so many of the traditional symbols connected with the big issues of life. It’s playful.  

And it says everything that really needs to be said. 

In all the current writings about whether the U.S. is headed to a real Civil War or some other form of systemic political violence that endangers life and security, “factionalism” is said to be the best predictor of a civil war-like environment. Where the energy of factionalism rises, the energy of the common good weakens. 

Every time I hear the “myth of the separate self” expressed, I want to send everyone on both a pilgrimage to Pando and to a Pando Populus project where I have personally witnessed transformation, healing, and unity.

What most excites you about the work that Pando the organization is doing?  

Pando Days projects, the Magenta House experience, and our new partnership with the Sisters for Social Service. That covers our joining hands with higher education, K-12 students, the religious community — not to mention the Sustainability Officials Community. (I have many “mosts” in my excitement.)

Your mosts and mine totally overlap.

Speaking of…where most would you like to see things go?   

I hope that in short order we can expand our footprint beyond Los Angeles County. I get very energized when I imagine other parts of the country and world being inspired by our action and education model. 

We need to evolve our already stunning publicity with that end in mind.

I would love to see “Pando faculty” members in all educational institutions. Also, an arm of Pando Populus dedicated to creating partnerships would embody a central value pulsing within us from the start.  

I also want to guarantee that diversity of interests, training, and cultures continues to deepen. 

Thank you, Ed. Pando on! 

I’m all in, brother.  Pando on!

Members of the Pando writing team include Rich Binell, Alexi Caracotsios, Amy Goldberg, Rebecca Schmitt, and Eugene Shirley.