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Future Ready: Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre retrofits with Faithful Footprints Grant

The Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre is an accredited theological college located one mile east of Beausejour, Manitoba that offers cross-cultural learning and Indigenous ministry training, as well as a peaceful place on the land for retreats, meetings and gatherings. Its vision is to create a place where First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and Christian spiritual beliefs are respected, shared, and understood.  

Previously known as the Dr. Jessie Saulteaux Resource Centre, amalgamated with the Francis Sandy Theological Centre (originally located in southern Ontario) in 2011, becoming the United Church of Canada’s national theological college for training Indigenous peoples for leadership in their church and communities. 

The Centre pictures its future as one that is growing with the need for training people for ministry in the Indigenous Church, and hopes to provide a retreat space for cross cultural youth, Prairie Jubliee, Mamawe Ota Askihk/Sharing Life Together Here on Earth events, sweat lodge ceremonies and much more. 


Receiving a Faithful Footprints Grant


“It’s a very good program. It was easy to go through the application and there was a lot of support—it was really worthwhile.”

- Robert Smith, Keeper of the Centre

With the aspiration to continue serving as a place for learning, training, and gathering, the comfortableness and the operational needs of the building space are important factors to consider. Past upgrades to the buildings include replacing light bulbs and fixtures and installing low-flush toilets. Robert Smith, the Keeper of the Centre, looks after and suggests improvements to the Centre’s buildings and surroundings. In 2018, after hearing about the Faithful Footprints program through a regional United Church of Canada gathering, Robert took initiative in looking further into the grant. 

“What attracted me to the program was the funding […] to help the Centre be more environmentally friendly, reduce our greenhouse gas and carbon footprint, and reduce our hydroelectric bill in the future,” he said. 

From there, Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre decided to continue their greening efforts with the support of a building retrofit. A tour and assessment of the Centre with Faithful Footprints Building Grants Manager, Stephen Collette, helped the Centre decide which upgrades would be most beneficial to their building. The Centre began retrofitting projects in 2019, and completed the rest of its renovations during the pandemic, while it was not hosting guests. 

With the funding they received from the Faithful Footprints program, the Centre was able to replace all of their overhead lights with LEDs, invested in high-efficiency baseboard heaters in their office and lodges, and replaced their fridge and freezer. A year following these projects, Sandy-Saulteaux reduced its electricity usage by 22.1%, and energy costs by 9.5%.




Faithful Footprints Program

The United Church of Canada (UCCan) Faithful Footprints program offers inspiration, tools, and grants to help its faith-communities reduce their carbon footprint. With the Church’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 80% by 2030, this one of a kind program offers up to $30,000 in grants towards energy conservation and renewable energy projects (conditions apply).

Faith & the Common Good is the delivery partner for UCCans Faithful Footprints program.  To date, we have engaged over 300 congregations, camps, and buildings across the country. Your participation in the program puts your faith into action and helps the Church reach its target.

Kalen Taylor is the Prairies Regional Support Coordinator for Faithful Footprints and can be reached at [email protected]

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