Catholic Church of Montreal > News > Topics > Green Church > Churches get on board

Churches join ecumenical green movement

St CharlesAn enthusiastic environmental movement is spreading rapidly through Christian churches in the Montreal region. 

The Green Church Program began as a pilot project in 2006 with six congregations of the United Church. In 2009, the Green Church Committee opened the environmental project to include other Christian denominations. 

One year later, Green Church is a national program, offered in both French and English, by the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. Close to 30 church communities—Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant—have joined the Green Church Program, and the number continues to rise. 

This year, the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism plans to launch the EcoFaith program for faith traditions other than Christianity.

Green Church suggests easy and practical ways for church communities to reduce their carbon footprint: recycling, installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, programming thermostats, etc.  

However, it does more than offer suggestions on how churches can lower electricity bills. It helps communities understand how being ecologically responsible helps them to live God's plan for humankind: to be stewards of creation. 

In that light, Green Church offers theological resources for building Christian awareness on environmentalism, biblical reflections and even environmentally themed homilies. 

Church communities are urged to develop a green spirituality and to integrate the concept of taking care of creation in their liturgies and other prayer moments. It also offers free weekly messages that can be published free of charge on environmentalism from a faith perspective.

Green Church also encourages congregations to reach beyond their walls by building relationships with local environmental groups and participating in local awareness-raising campaigns and actions.

The program does not oblige church communities to adopt set ecological practices. Each is free to adopt practices based on their interest and means. The projects they undertake vary: ecological forums, community gardens, insulation projects, composting, Eco-fairs, etc.  

Any faith community, including parishes, congregations and monasteries, as well as ministry sites, schools and community centres linked to a church, can join the Green Church Program. 

Becoming a member requires three simple steps:  

1. Set up a committee to support the project. 

2. Note the current ecological practices of the church community.

3. Write an article for the Green Church website about these ecological practices.

Once church communities are admitted as members, they are encouraged to:

1. Write an environmental policy for the church community.

2. Draw up an action plan for the gradual implementation of new practices.

3. Communicate their actions to the greater community.

A start-up toolkit is available online. 

Learn more about the Green Church Program at www.GreenChurch.ca
 

by Laura Ieraci

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