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The Social Infrastructure of Beautiful Gathering

La Monastere at St Jax
La Monastere performs at St. Jax Anglican, photo Natalie Bull

We’re back, exploring the adaptive reuse and co-use (congregation still present) of faith buildings in Canada and the United States. Funded by the Metcalf Foundations’ Leading and Learning Fund, representatives of Artsbuild Ontario, The Toronto Arts Council, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, and Faith & the Common Good finished up our journey in Montreal.

Day two in Montreal (see day one in the last blog) led us to ;St. Jax Anglican and Bourgie Hall at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, a former United Church.

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Manifesto of Youth at World Youth Day 2019

Ecological Conversion in Action: Manifesto of Youth at World Youth Day 2019 for the Care of the Common Home

Catholic youth meeting in January in Panama City, Panama, for World Youth Day, produced a manifesto, and launched the “Laudato Si’ Generation”, a new network of young Catholics committed to care for our common home.

“We, young Catholics from World Youth Day in Panama, would like to raise our hearts and minds in praise, joy and gratitude for the beautiful gift of our beloved “sister Mother Earth” in the lovely words of St Francis. At the same time we are painfully aware, as Pope Francis reminded us, that “our common home is falling into serious disrepair” (Laudato Si’61). Convinced that “all of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation” (LS 14), we call on everyone, ourselves first, to act with urgency to protect our planet and the poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Read the full manifesto here

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Native Flowers for our Local Bees!

Native Pollinator Plants Being Transported to their New Location

This past summer, the Ottawa Chapter of Faith & the Common Good collaborated with a new environmental effort: the Wild Pollinator Partners (WPP) network. This new initiative in Eastern Ontario was created to share information, resources and experience on native pollinators and it also has the goal to help liaise between local groups such as teachers, researchers, NGO’s and local residents. WPP saw a need to support and promote the important pollination benefits that native bees and other native species of insects provide to the local ecology. They realized that many people were not aware that wild bees, which are mostly solitary bees, are key to local pollination in both cities and the countryside. The belief that we are dependent solely on European Honeybees (an introduced species) to do all pollination is false. However Honeybees compete for the same nectar and pollen as our native species so it is crucial to provide native wildflower habitat to ensure the health of local populations of pollinators.

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How the Arts Thrive in Montreal Faith Buildings

St James United MontrealThe Leading and Learning team (this time with the sub-in of the amazing Erika Hennebury) headed back out on the road in late November, this time headed for Montreal. As you might remember Toronto Arts Council, Artsbuild Ontario, Faith & the Common Good and Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre have been supported by the Metcalf Foundation to explore models for the arts and faith to cohabitate. This is the fourth blog post in the series, so please feel free to go back and have a look at what we discovered in Philadelphia and New York.

In Montreal, we started our journey with St. James United and their Executive Director (an unusual title in church land, but one that I heartily approve of) Dianne Ellison and Reverend Arlen Bonnar. The church was built in 1888 on Sainte Catherine Street and is a part of the Quartier des Spectacles. It’s a National Historic Site of Canada and sees about 40,000 tourists per year.

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On the path to social and environmental justice

Lorene DiCorpo recalls growing up in Sudbury many decades ago, and how, daily, she could smell and taste the sulphur dioxide in the air emitted by the neighboring mining company, Inco Nickel. On cloudy days the sky would be tinged with yellow.  It was well known that miners developed emphysema and asthma and that the land had been reduced to non-fertile clay.  “As a child, I thought this was just the way things were,” she says.

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Celebrating a Solar Sanctuary

St Paul United Edmonton
Toward a Solar Sanctuary: St. Paul’s United Church, Edmonton
(Click on the photo above to view the video.)

2018 could easily be described as the year climate came home to roost. BC wildfires so extensive that cities across the country were blanketed in smog. Heat-related deaths in both Montreal and Ottawa. And a landmark scientific report imploring urgent action within 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate change.

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Global Warming of 1.5°C—People of faith share an urgent call to protect life

climate pilgrimsThe United Nations COP 24 climate change negotiations in Poland (Dec. 2-15) ended in overtime on Saturday.  While some progress was made, the Paris Agreement rulebook adopted by countries does not respond with the urgency outlined in the Global Warming of 1.5°C Report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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Togetherness: As the weather gets wildly worse, ensure your survival by learning to love your neighbour

St James Town steering committee
St James Town local "Lighthouse Project" Steering Committee. Toronto, ON

Delighted to share some Toronto West End insights  about our extreme weather resilience hub project. Our Lighthouse Project is piloting how to create inclusive, community-driven extreme weather preparation hubs in Toronto, Hamilton & Brampton.

This excerpt is from Katrina Onstad's “Togetherness: As the weather gets wildly worse, ensure your survival by learning to love your neighbour” (Toronto West End Phoenix, November 2018, www.westendphoenix.com/november-2018-toronto-of-the-future)

Toronto is particularly susceptible to extreme weather disasters simply because it’s booming: the more concrete the city, the hotter the city. The urban heat-island effect is caused by tightly packed buildings and paved surfaces boxing in the heat. And when the rain comes, the lack of green spaces and growing number of impermeable surfaces mean there’s nowhere for water to go but into our ancient, overloaded pipes.

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