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ED Newsletter- January 2023

Faith in Action 

Interfaith Partners for Sustainable Communities

Dear friends,

Happy New Year! We hope you took time to rejuvenate during the holidays and are ready for the opportunities and challenges that 2023 will bring.

One of the things that first attracted me to the Faith & the Common Good network was our commitment to interfaith collaboration for sustainability. As the co-chair for the Toronto Steering Committee for World Interfaith Harmony Week, I am especially grateful that FCG is participating in the 13th year celebration of this global initiative. Our 2023 theme is Faith in Action

Consider that "faith" is a verb; it is active (yes, we know the dictionary says it's a noun...we're inviting you to consider another possibility). FCG was founded on the belief that our diverse congregations and spiritual communities can be powerful role models for the common good by the actions they take together. These actions are the foundation for creating sustainable communities. 

Programming for WIHW 2023 ranges from An Interfaith Prayer for Peace & Harmony to Faith Perspectives on Ecological Justice and Conservation to multi-faith dialogue circles, and more.

At this point in time, Faith in Action is especially relevant when it comes to taking action on behalf of the climate and biodiversity. In 2022, two major world conferences were held concerning these interrelated crises: in November, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt followed by the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montréal, last December. From these conferences, it is clear that everyone has a role to play in transforming our communities to be healthier, more resilient and loving spaces.

Read on to learn more about opportunities for you to collaborate with us to protect and enhance the health of all life on our planet. May the wisdom of our spiritual and faith teachings bring us hope and inspire us to do what we are each called to do.

 

In peace and solidarity…

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Michelle Singh, Executive Director


Best of the Year: 2022 FCG Highlights

Over the last 12 months, with our project partners, our network brought our diverse communities closer together with the shared goal of enacting climate action for healthier communities. View our photo album here.


Green Rule Poster Update

Created in 2002, the Green Rule Poster is our most searched for resource. In 2022, we worked on updating it so that it is more relevant to today’s world. We have collected feedback concerning the current quotes and recommendations for new quotes from diverse faith experts and scholars, and currently these are under review. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work on updating and decolonizing this beloved resource.

MLSM Canada

In December, MLSM Canada’s Agnes Richard and Karen Van Loon were in Montréal during the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15. The Faith and Biodiversity UN Coordination Group, with members from many global faith traditions and interfaith organizations, secured the first recognized caucus for faith communities at a UN Biodiversity conference.

MLSM Canada at COP15 Biodiversity Rally, Montreal


Agnes and Laudato Si' Movement colleagues worked with this caucus while at the conference. Conversations ranged from measures to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and the need for a rights-based approach to Indigenous Peoples’ leadership in sustaining biodiversity in Canada and around the world.

About 90% of protected areas established in Canada in the last two decades have resulted from Indigenous partnerships or Indigenous leadership, but long-term funding and support is needed to make this growing movement sustainable. Click for more information on Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas, how to support this movement and How to Be an Ally of Indigenous-led Conservation.

Agnes and Karen reflect on their experiences at COP15 and at parallel events, such as the Indigenous Village hosted by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, in a 5 part blog series. Read the first of theirThinking Nature Positive series here.

Faithful Footprints

The Faithful Footprints program is part of The United Church of Canada’s plan to reduce emissions by 80% by 2030, starting with a focus on its buildings. FCG is the delivery partner for the program. With a public goal of engaging 500 United Church congregations by 2025, the Faithful Footprints grant program has successfully reached more than 300 engagements. 

All participating faith-communities are required to send in photos of their projects and write a final report about what they had accomplished and reflect on their retrofit experience. Many properties send in before and after photos, congregational members working in action, and very detailed program reviews. Some participating properties go the extra mile and create outstanding videos capturing their Faithful Footprints experience. Watch Knox United’s (Glace Bay, NS) Faithful Footprints video and hear more about their program journey.

Read other Faithful Footprints inspiring and educational blogs here
Faithful Footprints Monthly Blogs are published the 2nd Wednesday of every month.
 

Greening Sacred Spaces Ottawa — Green Youth Leadership Program

In December, GSS Ottawa held an 'Engagement Organizing' session for youth leaders, as part of their mentorship program. Through this mentorship, the youth are working on a variety of environmental projects that engage with a diverse range of groups. Projects include educational student activities, clean-ups, and youth engagement.

Greening Sacred Spaces Ottawa — Faithfully Green Fund

The Faithfully Green Fund (FGF) is an investment opportunity that allows anyone to purchase a bond to support green retrofits for faith and spiritual buildings, while getting up to 4% interest. With the goal of raising $2 million in Community Bonds, the intention is to fund 150 projects over the next 10 years, impacting a minimum of 100 Ottawa faith and spiritual groups. As well, faith communities that would like a loan to support their green retrofit are encouraged to apply. Over the past couple of months, FGF had its first few investments. The team is in discussions with several foundations and the FGF appeared on Good Investing’s list of available retail impact investments in Canada.


Opportunities to Engage

World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) – February 1 - 7 Events

The World Interfaith Harmony Week provides a platform—one week in a year—when all interfaith groups and other groups of goodwill can show the world what a powerful movement they are. Learn more about this annual UN observance week.

Sustainability Network / Faith Perspectives on Ecological Justice and Conservation – February 2 ‍ 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET

Faith Perspectives on Ecological

Join a conversation with Canadian faith-based ecological and climate justice professionals who will introduce their work and explore how to expand their efforts and connect with others. Learn about how different faiths in Canada have been working within and across their communities to prioritize and act on environmental concerns. Our ED, Michelle Singh, and Agnes Richard, Program Coordinator, MLSM Canada, will be speakers on this panel discussion. Registration is FREE and will be hosted through Zoom Webinars.

Inspiration at your fingertips

Have you explored our website lately? From guides, greening resources and toolkits such as the Catholic Eco-Investement Accelerator Toolkit and the Greening Canadian Mosques Toolkit to our Greening Sacred Spaces Certification Program and inspiring blogs written by various members of our network, we have the tools you need to take climate action in your community. Visit Faith & the Common Good for more information.

In the News

"Personally, as I have grown in faith, I have seen my concern and love for the environment grow, too"

Youth faith leaders

Young Canadians are at the forefront of climate justice action. Our Communications Manager, Beatrice Ekoko’s latest article in National Observer highlights three youths who derive inspiration for this challenging work from the teachings of their diverse faiths and spiritual practices.

Support faith-based climate action for a more resilient and sustainable Canada. Donate today.

 


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