FCG National Newsletter - December 2020
Faith & The Common Good

20-20 Vision

With 2020 coming to a close, I find myself reflecting on a wish a friend offered on the last day of 2019: “Here's to 20-20 clarity of vision in the new year.”

This year certainly offered Faith & the Common Good ample opportunities to lean into our vision and make certain that we were in alignment with our mission: to harness the power of diverse faith and spiritual groups through education, capacity building, and collective action to build more resilient and sustainable Canadian communities.

Over the year, as I’ve settled into ED leadership, I am continuously inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit, the commitment to service, and the compassion of our team, which includes our staff and contractors, our funders, our partners, our chapters and hubs and diverse faith communities across the country.

I believe our network has a crucial role to play in the recognition of faith-based organizations as critical partners in strengthening communities through results-based climate education and advocacy. As a result, I am deeply committed to telling your stories – the difference you make and the impact you have on your local communities.

As we move into 2021 and explore inclusive models of resiliency, sustainability, and collaboration, I am excited to create systems with our team that contribute to the common good for all. I hope you’ll join us.

Wishing you all blessings of peace and light.

Michelle Singh, Executive Director, Faith & the Common Good

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Project Highlights of 2020

GTHA Energy Benchmarking

You can’t change what you don’t measure. In 2020, our 3-year long Faith Building Energy Benchmarking Program came to an end. This project engaged over 100 faith groups in tracking their electric, gas, and GHG consumption with monthly data from their utility companies.

Diverse religious communities participated in the program including Jewish, Muslim, and numerous Christian denominations. Happily, the changes brought about as a result of this unique program will have a long-lasting effect with over half of the participants committing to continuing to track their energy data in the future and implement necessary improvements.

Three Years of Energy Benchmarking Project Wraps Up

Also, our Ottawa Chapter launched their Energy Benchmarking Program in August.

Faithful Footprints Sustainability Report

With the United Church of Canada (UCC), we produced our first Faithful Footprints Sustainability Report – an initiative that offers grants and support for churches to measure their energy use and reduce their climate pollution, in ways that save money and strengthen congregational renewal (UCC has invested $3 million to reduce GHG 80% by 2050). See the Faithful Footprints website for more.

Community Space, Faith Place

Our two-year study, “No Space for Community,” conducted in partnership with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Nonprofit Network, the City of Toronto, Cardus, and the National Trust for Canada, gathered new data through surveys of existing non-profit and community groups that make use of faith-building space.

“The survey results have made it clear that faith buildings are host to a myriad of groups including a large number of daycares and arts groups who have their offices and performing spaces in faith buildings... If the faith buildings close, what will happen to these groups and the people they bring together?”, says Kendra Fry, project lead.

Visit communityspacefaithplace.org to download the full report and view more resources.

New Projects in 2020: Greening Canadian Mosques

In 2020, we received generous funding from the Olive Tree Foundation to green Canadian mosques in a new partnership with EnviroMuslims. With over one million Muslims in Canada and over 903 mosques, the first phase of this program aims to empower mosque management teams, as well as mosque-goers, in understanding environmental issues and take appropriate action.

Advocacy: GreenFaith International Network
collaboration leading up to March 11 Day of Action

Across all religious and spiritual philosophies, the teachings are clear: we must take care of one another, and of Creation, because the Earth and all beings are sacred. But all life on Earth is now at risk.

That’s why diverse, grassroots people of faith and conscience have come together to demand real solutions and to lead by example. GreenFaith International Network was launched in November, with founding partners in 14 countries, including Faith & the Common. We kicked off with a global TEDx event to mobilize for Sacred People, Sacred Earth – the biggest-ever grassroots, global, multi-faith, COVID-friendly climate action that will take place on March 11. Watch the North American Launch here.

Watch the Sacred People, Sacred Earth International Call to Action video here.

Update from the Board

Finally, join us in extending our deep appreciation to Sr. Janet Speth, who sat on the FCGs Board for six years. We remain grateful for her guidance, insights, and leadership and wish her the very best.

Please also join us in welcoming Brenda Doner from Guelph, Ontario, to our Board. Brenda has worked for over 40 years in the community benefit sector. She has led poverty reduction, food security, and community development projects across Canada, Africa, and in Southeast Asia. Semi-retired, she now works with Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) on a nonprofit law project and on support for workers who help people with law-related problems.

Please note that the FCG office will be closed from December 21rst to January 1rst.

Chag Sameach! Happy Solstice!
Merry Christmas!
Happy Kwanzaa!

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