FCG National Newsletter - May 2020
Faith & The Common Good

Our network’s response to COVID-19

As we move deeper into our "new normal", we are finding more creative ways to serve our network and continue to build sustainable communities across Canada. The following are some of the ways the people in our network are contributing.

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Cape Breton: Radio “People’s School”
on Community Leadership

Prof. Tom Urbaniak, who serves as Chair of the Board of Faith & the Common Good, is the director of the Tompkins Institute at Cape Breton University. The Tompkins Institute offers continuing education and demonstration projects in Community Development.

In 1921, Fr. Jimmy Tompkins, a professor at St. Francis Xavier University, started the first “People’s Schools” in eastern Nova Scotia. In dozens of communities that were suffering through poverty and outside control of resources, citizens came together to study – and form – cooperatives, credit unions, new organizations, investment pools, and new structures of local government. Progressive clergy and universities were often facilitators. But the leadership was right in the communities.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the cancellation of an in-person People’s School on Community Leadership, Cape Breton University and CBC Cape Breton decided to work together to develop People’s School segments for radio, which Tom is facilitating. These run every Tuesday and Friday at 4:40 pm Atlantic time. The role of faith communities is often discussed. In one recent episode, Kendra Fry of FCG was a guest to discuss the importance of “third places” (including many faith communities) even in a time of isolation and how they have created many of the valuable networks to get us through this crisis. Segments have also examined ethical leadership, how to coordinate scattered resources in communities, and effective communication in a time of isolation. Links to past People’s School segments can be found here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-36-mainstreet-cape-breton
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Halton-Peel: GSS Halton-Peel is compiling virtual faith and worship services

Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Halton-Peel is one of our Ontario chapters, in partnership with the Halton Environmental Network. To respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are compiling a list of virtual faith and worship services for each Ontario municipality. To date, their list includes Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Halton Hills and Peel (coming soon). GSS Halton Peel is very active on social media sharing resources and interesting articles. Give them a follow on Twitter and on Facebook.

The Virtual Green Audit

We are exploring new tools to help our network continue to build sustainable communities while in isolation. To that end, Building Audit Manager, Stephen Collette has adapted our in-person Green Audit to an online version. This remote consulting service is designed to help faith communities reduce the energy and carbon footprint of their buildings, regardless of where congregations are located in Canada. The Virtual Green Audit also benefits those faith communities who may not be able to afford the Green Audit, or who are located at too great a distance from our expert.

How it works

Like our Green Audit, the Virtual Green Audit arms clients with the information and tools necessary to help make their commercial operations as energy- and cost-efficient as possible.

Guided by our DIY Walkthrough Audit (free download), Stephen will connect with applicants via video conferencing and, with the applicant walking around the building, he will highlight opportunities for energy savings, carbon reductions, water reductions, operational efficiencies, and better bottom line. Once you’ve reviewed the Virtual Green Audit outline, you can email Stephen directly for more information.

Learn More and Register
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Take care of YOU and your community

It feels like there's no escape from the noise and worry – our Twitter feeds vying for our attention with the latest COVID updates. Many of us are working from home with children. Others have lost jobs; still, others are anxious about catching the virus on the job, because work with the public must continue. Some haven’t seen a loved one’s face in months. Some have lost loved ones. In response, we urge you to please have compassion for yourself and others.

We can’t avoid the stress, fear, and grief we are experiencing as our world is turned outside in, upside down, but we also need to create space for ourselves, as best we can, in which to pause; to be quiet, and in that stillness, we might find small alleviation from this collective trauma we are living. How can we do so? Prayer, meditation, sleeping, going on a walk, exercise, keeping a journal, sharing stories, care-mongering, giving thanks are some of the ways that we can gain some peace of mind. Finally, remember to breathe.

We are all in this together.

Here are some resources that our team members have used for self-care during COVID-19.

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