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ED Newsletter- May 2023

Invest in Our Planet

Dear Friends,

Due to technical difficulties, we were unable to send you April’s ED Newsletter. This month we are back with a new and improved template and a lot of great news to share.

Last month, Earth Week celebrations took place globally, centred around the theme of Invest in Our Planet. At the same time, Canada released the 2023 Budget, and although it includes significant investments in renewable energy and electrification, the support allocated to climate solutions is still a fraction of dollars for subsidizing the gas and oil industry. You can read reactions to the budget from experts at Environmental Defence and The Energy Mix.

What does investing in our planet look like to you? Across our network and with our collaborators and partners, we invest our creativity, time, energy, and dollars toward co-creating sustainable, resilient, thriving communities for all. From sustainable gardening practices to reducing our carbon footprint, renewable energy projects, policy, climate justice advocacy, responsible investing, and more, our May updates and upcoming events reflect our commitment.

I encourage you to join us in asking, “What does the Earth ask of us?” (with thanks to Robin Wall Kimmerer) and work together for a better world. We welcome your investment in us to support our mission and the impact we make.

In peace and solidarity…


Michelle Singh, Executive Director




Remembering Dr. John Dorner

Dr. John Dorner

We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. John Dorner, former Ottawa coordinator of FCGs Greening Sacred Spaces Program and member of the Mouvement Laudato Si' Movement - Canada (MLSM Canada) Advisory Circle. John will be remembered for his leadership in faith-based environmentalism, his kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness as a friend, colleague, and mentor. His funeral will be held on May 13 at the Canadian Martyrs Catholic Church in Ottawa.

Faithful Footprints

Our partners, the Ecology Action Centre have launched In Our Power, a series of stories about ordinary people and diverse communities in Atlantic Canada working to create a just transition to a green economy. Enjoy two recent stories about Faithful Footprints program participants, Windsor United Church in Windsor, NS, and How Centennial United in Robert's Arm, NL Reduced Its Carbon Footprint and their work to decarbonize their buildings.

Credit: Ecology Action Centre

United Church of Canada’s Second Sustainability Report


As part of its Faithful Footprints team, we are honoured to have written The United Church of Canada’s second Sustainability Report Deepening Climate Integrity. The report highlights the Church’s commitment to investing in climate, ecological, and social justice, and showcases the incredible work communities of faith are doing across the country. It is a testament to the Church’s dedication, resilience, and creativity in finding solutions to our world's intersecting crises. Stay up to date with the climate action leadership of United Church faith communities through the Faithful Footprints newsletter here. Read other Faithful Footprints inspiring and educational blogs here.

Greening Sacred Spaces — Ottawa

Ottawa Faith Community Capacity Building Program

GSS Ottawa's first Faith Community Capacity Building Program (OFCCBP) project took off in March. Congratulations to Ascension Anglican Church for installing their new water heater.

Photo credit: Monica Seidel.

Trinity United Church, Ottawa, had a significant upgrade this month with its three new heat pumps, made possible by the Ottawa Faith Community Capacity Building microgrant, the United Church Faithful Footprints program, and a generous donation.

EV Chargers

Kanata United Church installed two new electric vehicle chargers. In addition to generous grants from The United Church of Canada Foundation and the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program delivered by Hydro Ottawa, Kanata UC received a loan through Sustainable Capacity Foundation and GSS Ottawa’s Faithfully Green Fund to make this possible. Learn more about the program.

Green Youth Leadership Program

From educating children about fracking (Nazareen Evangelical Church) to hosting a games night using recycled materials for Earth Day (St. Joseph Catholic Church) and improving recycling and compost (Sri Sathya Sai Baba Centre), Green Youth Leaders have been hard at work on their projects! Read more here.

Photo Credit: GSS Ottawa




May 25: The Letter: An Interfaith Conversation on Care for Our Common Home – Mary Ward Centre, Toronto, ON

The Letter: A Message for Our Earth is a recent film that tells the story of a small group of frontline leaders from around the world who journey to Rome to dialogue with Pope Francis. Our collaborative conversation on Care for Our Common Home will feature portions of the film.

Speakers include:

  • Kehkashan Basu, United Nations Human Rights Champion; Founder & President of Green Hope Foundation
  • Noah MacDonald, Canon Lawyer with the Archdiocese of Toronto
  • Emilio Rodriguez, Policy Analyst at Citizens for Public Justice
  • Yusra Shafi, COP27 Youth Delegate
  • Roop Singh Sidhu, President of EcoSikh Canada



June 2-4: Care for Our Common Home Retreat – Jericho House, Wainfleet, ON

Jericho House is hosting Response to the Cry of the Poor Retreat. This is an opportunity for kindred spirits from multiple faith and non-faith traditions to explore how to befriend the ecological crises and its challenges. For more information and to register, please contact either Br. Bill Carrothers or Sr. Jacquie Keefe, at [email protected].

July 9-15: Encounter World’s Religions Discovery Week – Toronto, ON


August 14-18: Parliament of the World’s Religions – Chicago, IL


Better Buildings Ottawa Benchmarking and Auditing Program

The City of Ottawa's Better Buildings Program helps faith communities benchmark their energy and water consumption. The program is seeking new participants. Apply today.




Greening Sacred Spaces Certification Program


Developed in 2011, the Greening Sacred Spaces Certification program motivates, recognizes, and celebrates those faith communities that demonstrate commitment to caring for the environment through action. It has three levels to deepen your commitment: Light Green, Medium Green, and Deep Green. Whether you are just getting started or ready for the next level of greening, the GSS Certification program is an excellent way to engage your faith community in stewardship right at your place of worship. It is an opportunity to showcase what you have accomplished together.

GSS Ottawa is Hiring

Greening Sacred Spaces Ottawa is hiring a youth intern for a 6-month contract beginning this summer. The ideal candidate is Ottawa-based and excited about community-based environmental engagement and action, with experience in or willingness to learn about communications, green buildings, and outdoor greening.




The free EnviroMuslims Bootcamp supports organizations led by or serving the Canadian Muslim community that want to incorporate sustainability into their programming. In addition to peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, participants will receive $1,500 to help cover 50% of the cost related to actions to be more environmentally friendly.

Prince Edward Island – Heat Pumps Initiative

As part of the Government of PEI’s Net Zero Initiative, incorporated PEI places of worship that use their facilities to host community events or provide rentals in winter months are eligible for funding assistance to cover 100% of heat pump installation costs up to a maximum of $20,000. This assistance is provided jointly by the Department of Environment, Energy, and Climate Action. Applications are now open for the 2023/24 period.

Ontario Region

Deadline: June 14, 2023 The Ontario Trillium Foundation has grants for capital projects, such as equipment, building a new space, or completing renovations, retrofits, or repairs. Faith communities “may be eligible if they provide direct programs and services to the broader community at large which are not religious activities and do not include a requirement to participate in any dimensions of faith.”


Hydro Ottawa is distributing funding for Electric Vehicle charging stations – up to 50% of costs or $5000/charger.



Our Board member, Memona Hossain, has written two articles concerning Islam and climate change. These pieces are geared both for the Muslim community, as well as the wider faith community to reflect and look at practical ways of engaging.

Memona also took part in two podcasts

The Ottawa Diocese Anglican Newspaper included GSS Ottawa and FCG in their Crosstalk section, regarding Ascension Anglican’s recent greening projects.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church talked about its “carbon fast” with CBC’s Ottawa Morning and discussed their pollinator garden project, made possible in part by GSS Ottawa.

The Catholic Register has a piece that includes comments from MLSM Canada's Agnes Richard, concerning how churches should respond to the latest news in the IPCC 6th Synthesis Report.

In Blogs

Faith communities across the country are stepping up and taking action to address the climate crisis. Read all about it on our blogs and get inspired.

Keep exploring our website!

Launched last year, the Catholic Eco-Investment Accelerator Toolkit helps faith communities in Canada discern how best to divest their organizations from investments in the fossil fuel industry. From the Greening Canadian Mosques Toolkit to our gardening resourcescase studies, and helpful building audits, we have the tools you need to take climate action in your community. Visit our Faith & the Common Good website for more information.

Invest in Spirited Climate Action: Great Canadian Giving Challenge

Starting June 1st and throughout the month, Faith & the Common Good will be participating in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge and we need your support!

What is the Great Canadian Giving Challenge?

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is CanadaHelps month-long contest to help charities fundraise during the slow summer months when donations tend to decline. Every dollar donated to FCG is an entry for a chance to win $20,000. The more we raise, the greater our chances of winning.

Invest in Us!

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

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