Certainly, the task of `greening' can be daunting and often discouraging, especially if you feel like you're a lone voice.
At a workshop on `125 Ways to Green Your Parish' at St. Mary's Kerrisdale, we were fortunate to hear and learn from Dr. Bill Rees, professor at UBC's School of Community and Regional Planning.
Dr. Rees was responsible for coining the term `ecological footprint' and is the co-author (with then PhD student Mathis Wackernagel) of Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing human impact on the earth.
We were thrilled that he was able to be our featured speaker, since as a founding member of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics and a co-investigator in the `Global Integrity Project' he is increasingly in demand on the international speaking circuit.
In addition to Rees' talk, Robert Wild, author of Sacred Presence (reviewed in last month's TOPIC), gave a workshop on earth-centered liturgy, and Ron Monk of BC Hydro presented a session on the actions and lessons learned around `greening' his parish, St. Philip's, Vancouver.
Participants were also able to participate in sessions on `Beating the Bounds,' on environmental activism, on the environment and faith communities and on youth engagement.
The workshop was joined by a group of youth who were at St. Mary's for a 24-hour famine fundraising event.
While one of the goals of the day was to come up with the 125 Ways to Green Your Parish, it was clear during the subsequent discussion that participants were hungry for that information, now! The Task Force heard that plea, and we will be following up on it.
From feedback received, it seems that everyone walked away with new ideas and challenges from the workshops, and a few LED light bulbs to boot!
The Task Force is committed to paying close attention to the feedback and following up on suggestions as to how we can best serve you as you serve your parish. We intend to get back to all parishes before May with an update and new information. Look for a booklet outlining `125 Ways to Green Your Parish' soon.
We want all in the diocese to meet and exceed the Kyoto Protocol through reductions in diocesan, parish, and personal greenhouse gas emissions.
Ecological audits of church buildings - such as those being carried out in the diocese - have been endorsed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
In a report to the General Synod of the Church of England that met last month in London, the archbishop said it is vital for churches to conduct ecological audits "if our voice as a Church is to have integrity."
In the foreward of the report, entitled Sharing God's Planet, Archbishop Williams said Christians have a duty to celebrate and care for every part of God's creation, which is central to what it means to be a Christian.
He acknowledged that our stewardship of the environment to date has not been good. "The earth is ailing and every creature in it, including humankind, is affected, " the report stated. "Two-thirds of the world does not have enough to eat while the other third is trying to lose weight."
The report included practical ideas for the local church to adopt at ground level, from recycling to car-pooling. Among the suggestions made was joining with local environmental groups to hold a "creation care service," and using organic bread and wine at the Eucharist.
For more information
Contact David Dranchuk, Coordinator for Societal Ministry, Email:mailto:ddranchuk@ vancouver.anglican.caor 604-684-6306, ext. 221, or any other Task Force member.