by Lucy M. Cummings, ED 2013-2019
I have always been deeply humbled by the incredible people of faith and spirit across our network, most of whom are volunteers, who give so much of themselves to build green, resilient communities.
It’s impossible to choose, but a few of the greatest hits for me include the following projects:
Faith Commuter Challenge
In conjunction with the annual Commuter Challenge, we designed and piloted a Faith Commuter Challenge to encourage folks to walk, bike or car share to worship. Participating faith communities were able to measure the calories burned and carbon saved as a result of making low carbon transport choices. I loved the creativity of the many faith communities that participated.
With sacramental chrism oil, bicycle chain oil, holy water and prayers, Anglican Bishop Melissa Skelton blesses cyclist Alan Chor and his "old clunker" of a bike along the Burrard Street bike lane. Photo Dan Toulgoet (2017)
Great Lakes Water Walk
Supporting the Nibi Emosaawdamajig organizing circle for Toronto’s Great Lakes Water Walk was a profound spiritual joy for me. Thousands of people of all backgrounds joined Indigenous Grandmothers, Knowledge Holders and Elders along the shores of Lake Ontario in a day of “walking for the water.” Following Anishinaabe ceremonial protocols, Grandmothers and Elders made water offerings, sang water songs and made petitions for our water to be clean and pure. At the close of the walk, respected Elders Dr. Shirley Williams and Grandmother Josephine Mandamin, led a multi-cultural, multi-faith water blessing of the Great Lakes.
Toronto’s Great Lakes Water Walk Nibi Emosaawdamajig (2017).
Women & Climate Change
Faith & the Common Good hosted numerous environmental programs at the 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions gathering in Toronto, but my favorites focused on women.
I moderated “Spirited Women as Agents of Change on Climate,” where Indigenous, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian panelists shared personal stories of how as grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and sisters, they are motivated and sustained by their faith and values to protect Mother Earth. I also had the great honor to interview renowned author Margaret Atwood who spoke about the impact of climate change on women and the importance of religious communities to get behind fixing the planet.
Lucy and Margaret Atwood at the POWR, 2018.
Whenever I feel myself losing hope, I look to the increasing array of local communities living their climate values. My work at Faith & the Common Good taught me, in the words of Margaret Mead, to never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.