Laurel  Dykstra
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Salal + Cedar equips Christians to respond to climate emergency –I hope you’ve heard of us, we’re the church that meets outside. Our community was chosen to receive care+share funds in 2018 and 2019. As a new ministry project that serves the whole diocese rather than a single parish these funds have been a huge benefit to us.

We have a small but growing donor base and we aren’t sponsored by a parish. In recent years ¼ to 1/2 of our revenue has come from non-diocesan grants. Virtually all of those are project-specific, so funds are intended for tasks or concrete purchases, like native plants or transporting kids to go to camp, they do not cover staff hours. It seems like some funders forget that you can’t have quality programs without people.

care+share funds made sure that my hours were covered and that our education, conservation and climate justice activities had the supplies we needed. In 2018, our education events included: a film screening,  a book launch, and two “Wild Church” experiences for kids; our conservation work focused on a habitat restoration project on Coleman Creek located on the property of St. Clement, North Vancouver; and our climate justice work included a 200 strong Faith Day of Action on Burnaby Mountain in support of Tsleil Waututh members and Watch House Keepers in opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion projects. For people new to justice work, seeing our banner and a friendly face made public demonstrations seem like a place where they belonged. We attended more than 20 events in 2018, including a number of events initiated and led by Indigenous people.

In 2019, we decided to shift our focus a bit to a smaller number of higher impact events. These included a musical showcase and fundraiser for the Indigenous land defenders at Unisto’ten Camp and the Tiny House Warriors on Secwepemc territory. Our work party and project celebration on Coleman Creek included parishioners, girl guides, neighbours and Salal + Cedar members planting ferns and hanging bird houses. Over the course of the year we held a community-led retreat and workshop series exploring the relationship between our ecological values and what we do with money. In October we spent an intensive week hosting a group of students from Villanova University in an ecological justice learning experience.

Salal + Cedar was chosen for care+share because our work on ecological justice matched up with the diocesan strategic priority “Caring for God’s Earth” and that is something I am really proud of. care+share is not a grant but a giving stream; it represents support that comes from all around the diocese and it is based on our common values. We don’t have to be geographically near a project to participate meaningfully in its ministry. Over the past number of years I have seen care+share infuse life into a range of important projects like Street Outreach Ministry, Sycamore Commons and the Mobile Care Unit.

In 2017, when we applied to the care+share program one of the desired outcomes that we identified was “increased credibility with Indigenous groups.” At the close of 2019, we are pleased to work alongside the Wild Salmon Defenders and the Kwekwecnewtxw Watch House Keepers. We have made medicines with two Indigenous herbalists, and have learned from leaders caring for their territories in Turtle Valley, Sutikahl and Nlaka'pamux. So it makes us particularly happy to endorse both the care+share giving model but also the 2020/2021 recipients, Urban Aboriginal Ministry (UAM). I know that with support from around the diocese they will do amazing work for vulnerable Indigenous people in the city.  

IMAGES Six from 2018-2019  

Photos Laurel Dykstra