Guest post by Marlie Whittle, St. Anselm’s Ecology Group in Toronto.
GSS Certification Team
In 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical called Laudato Si: Praise be to You. This encyclical was a call to environmental action from the highest authority of the Catholic Church. Since 2015, many Catholic orders, churches and people have found different ways to respond to this call. I have had the privilege of being on St. Anselm’s Church’s ‘Green Team’ for over a year. We call ourselves St. Anselm’s Ecology Group and in the past three years our team has grown from two parishioners to 13!
At Faith & the Common Good, we were fortunate to receive an Ontario 150 grant. It provided the opportunity for youth of different religions and cultural backgrounds, to create 8 native plant gardens in 3 regions this spring; Ottawa, Halton, and Toronto. Toronto FCG chapter chose 3 faith sites: Shaarei Shomayim Congregation, Manor Road United Church, and the International Muslims Organization of Toronto (IMO).
***French version follows – La version en français suit***
St. John’s Anglican Church South March, is a small, well-maintained limestone church on the periphery of Ottawa, Canada that was first established in 1832. It is located on a large parcel of land and has an adjacent heritage cemetery as well as a newer one. Now it is located in the midst of suburban Kanata. Large sugar maples were planted in the old cemetery many years ago and they help to create a park land that is a peaceful place to walk. Many of the graves are lovingly tended.
Climate change. It’s worse than we thought. That was the message we heard from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Dr. Dianne Saxe, who joined us on three separate occasions over the past months — a June event in Hamilton and September events at Church of the Incarnation in Oakville and the Jaffari Community Centre in Thornhill.
Getting down and Dirty: Manor Road “Messy Church” Youth
As with the First Peoples who inhabit this vast land, native plant species are the originals. This was the theme at the Faith & the Common Good (FCG) and Ontario 150 native garden plaque presentation, “First Peoples, First Plants,” held on September 29, 2017 at Manor Road United Church in Toronto.
Tucker House is one of three youth gardens in Ottawa participating in Faith & The Common Good’s “Growing Community” Garden program funded by Ontario 150 Youth Partnership Program. Tucker House is located in Rockland, ON. This centre focuses on environmental teaching and host Summer Camps for kids and teenagers. Over spring and summer, the kids learned about, created and took care of the gardens. Below is the testimonial of one of the young gardener, Erin Whittingham.
“Climate justice is core to my faith but cycling to church is not just transportation; it’s meditation, the real beginning of my worship,”
- Christine Boyle, United Church Minister, Vancouver Chapter Organizer, and Director of Fossil Free Faith.
In June, over the duration of two weekends, Faith & the Common Good offered faith communities across Canada a challenge: leave the car behind when traveling to worship in favour of a “low carbon” mode...
At Scarboro United Church, on June 4, 2017, the first Sunday of the Faith Commuter Challenge, we celebrated with a Blessings of the Bikes (and equipment) liturgy. We came forward with one representative bike and our Minister, Rev. Lee Spice, led us is seeking blessings over all we do to reduce our environmental footprint.
It can be exhausting to reduce our environmental impact in a society that tells us to consume and has little substantial regard for ecosystems or creatures beside ourselves. Despite the many merits of walking or biking, cars tend to be much more convenient in cities built for single-passenger vehicle transportation.