Friday, December 10, 2010

Pumpkin Puree Canning Workshop: You loved it!

Dec 2nd-

We gathered together (15 of us) at Westdale United Church to cut up pumpkin and make puree.
What fun! Thanks to Loueen for the donation of the pumpkin as well as the kitchen space. Thanks to Jan for helping us run the workshop!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Greening Sacred Spaces 101 comes to Halton

Greening Sacred Spaces/Environment Hamilton


Interfaith Development Education Association (IDEA) Burlington, KAIROS Ecumenical Justice Initiatives (Burlington Chapter) and East Plains United Church


Greening Sacred Spaces 101

By the end of the workshop, participants will feel a sense of renewed commitment, support, and focus for greening their sacred space and community.

Come out to this 3 hour long, interactive workshop to learn about :

green team development and action (starting and maintaining one)
greening your building (energy efficiency and solar).

Hear from local community members and spiritual leaders who are already actively greening their faith homes and get inspired!

Light refreshments will be served.

When: Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Where: East Plains United Church
375 Plains rd East North side at Dovercourt Ave

Time: 1-4pm

For more information, contact Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko, Project Facilitator
905 549 0900


Photos will be uploaded soon!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Energy and Resources Audit/Solar assessment workshop

Saturday, October 16, 2010

“Energy and Resource Assessments for Faith Buildings” Including “How to Make Solar Power Work for Your Faith Building”

Presented by Green Venture, in cooperation with Environment Hamilton at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church 1107 MAIN ST W., HAMILTON

Green Venture’s Energy Services team demonstrated the following:

1. A Walkthrough Energy Audit for Grace Lutheran church and adjoined hall

2. A Solar Assessment of Grace Lutheran, in potential preparation for solar photovoltaics and a FIT application

The workshop will consist of the following:
1. A walk through of the building, conducted by Green venture’s Certified Energy Advisor and institutional/commercial audit specialist, Will Klassen, reporting the various upgrades already made by the church and areas for improvement.
2. A presentation of the findings, in a slide show format.

3. A solar assessment walk through, conducted by Green Venture’s Certified Energy Advisor and solar specialist, Ken Baigent.

4. A presentation of the solar findings in a slide show format. 5. Q&A

Canning with Kids

October 14th, 2010

Canning with Kehila Jewish Community Day School

Monday, October 4, 2010

What I did this weekend

Saturday 02: KAIROS Walking We Make the Way
I gave two workshops at the KAIROS conference at St Mary Retreat in Ancaster. They were based on the Green Rule (Do unto the Earth as we would have it do unto us). We made our own posters based on the Christian teachings to be as stewards of the earth and to take care of creation.

On Sunday, I was invited to give a sermon at Melrose United Church in Hamilton. It was really fun.
My presentation was based on Horton the Elephants message; that in order to save a world we need everybody ("no matter how small!") on board!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Canning Workshops

We continue to offer canning workshops at various faith group locations. So far, we've offered 3 workshops (sour cherry jam and preserved pears) and have plans for two more in the upcoming month. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Food and Faith

Greening Sacred Spaces/Environment Hamilton and Hughson St. Baptist Church present


Food as a moral movement. Growing veggies on faith home grounds Grace Lutheran's straw bale project, Highland Baptist Community Garden, Westdale United etc. Growing food in community -Hill St. Park community garden (faith group collaborative). Eating locally (Environment Hamilton). Gardens for newcomers (Hughson St Baptist church). Good Food Box. Fruit tree picking project. Canning and preserving, (Environment Hamilton). Sacred Heart's farmer's market and more!

Come out and learn from community leaders about what area faith communities are doing to help create food security for all people.

Visit booths and displays, enjoy light refreshments. All welcome!

When? Wednesday September 22nd
Where? Hughson St Baptist Church
383 Hughson Street N. Hamilton

Event starts at 7pm-9pm

Contact Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko at for more information or to register

Get to Worship Without Your Car

Traveling green is an important way we can be stewards of our planet.

Over the weekend of September 17, 18, 19th, Greening Sacred Spaces Hamilton invites people of all faiths to travel to worship that Friday, Saturday, and Sunday on foot, by bike, by public transit or carpool.

Your faith group will be competing against other Hamilton faith groups for a chance to win a prize for your place of worship.
The groups with the highest percentage of participants get the prizes.

Be part of the fun while promoting active transportation. Register your place of worship to participate and promote active transportation by emailing Beatrice at or by calling Environment Hamilton at 905 549 0900.
Once you register participants from your group can join your team.

Let’s celebrate 'a greener way to worship' together!

Challenge requirement-We will need to know the number of people who attended the service and the number of people who took the challenge in order to calculate a percentage.
Great prizes:
Green Venture has contributed the following as prizes:

Green Raincatcher 400,
a certificate for a 10% discount on a Green Venture commercial/institutional energy audit
4 x $25 coupons towards a Green Venture residential Ontario Home Energy Savings Program energy audit.

We are seeking donations of more prizes so if you have any leads please send them on to me!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fund-raising Vegetable garden tour

Sunday August 29th 10am to 4pm-This fund raiser for Project Harvest, a food sustainability project in Guatemala includes environmental and social justice concerns with local food and gardening all in one.
It's a must see.
Contact Rita for details at

Saturday, August 7, 2010

No More Making Nice

We’re Hot as Hell and We’re Not Going to Take It Any More
Three Steps to Establish a Politics of Global Warming
By Bill McKibben

Try to fit these facts together:

* According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the planet has just come through the warmest decade, the warmest 12 months, the warmest six months, and the warmest April, May, and June on record.

* A “staggering” new study from Canadian researchers has shown that warmer seawater has reduced phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain, by 40% since 1950.

* Nine nations have so far set their all-time temperature records in 2010, including Russia (111 degrees), Niger (118), Sudan (121), Saudi Arabia and Iraq (126 apiece), and Pakistan, which also set the new all-time Asia record in May: a hair under 130 degrees. I can turn my oven to 130 degrees.

* And then, in late July, the U.S. Senate decided to do exactly nothing about climate change. They didn’t do less than they could have -- they did nothing, preserving a perfect two-decade bipartisan record of no action. Senate majority leader Harry Reid decided not even to schedule a vote on legislation that would have capped carbon emissions.

I wrote the first book for a general audience on global warming back in 1989, and I’ve spent the subsequent 21 years working on the issue. I’m a mild-mannered guy, a Methodist Sunday School teacher. Not quick to anger. So what I want to say is: this is fucked up. The time has come to get mad, and then to get busy.

For many years, the lobbying fight for climate legislation on Capitol Hill has been led by a collection of the most corporate and moderate environmental groups, outfits like the Environmental Defense Fund. We owe them a great debt, and not just for their hard work. We owe them a debt because they did everything the way you’re supposed to: they wore nice clothes, lobbied tirelessly, and compromised at every turn.

By the time they were done, they had a bill that only capped carbon emissions from electric utilities (not factories or cars) and was so laden with gifts for industry that if you listened closely you could actually hear the oinking. They bent over backwards like Soviet gymnasts. Senator John Kerry, the legislator they worked most closely with, issued this rallying cry as the final negotiations began: "We believe we have compromised significantly, and we're prepared to compromise further.”

And even that was not enough. They were left out to dry by everyone -- not just Reid, not just the Republicans. Even President Obama wouldn’t lend a hand, investing not a penny of his political capital in the fight.

The result: total defeat, no moral victories.

Now What?

So now we know what we didn’t before: making nice doesn’t work. It was worth a try, and I’m completely serious when I say I’m grateful they made the effort, but it didn’t even come close to working. So we better try something else.

Step one involves actually talking about global warming. For years now, the accepted wisdom in the best green circles was: talk about anything else -- energy independence, oil security, beating the Chinese to renewable technology. I was at a session convened by the White House early in the Obama administration where some polling guru solemnly explained that “green jobs” polled better than “cutting carbon.”

No, really? In the end, though, all these focus-group favorites are secondary. The task at hand is keeping the planet from melting. We need everyone -- beginning with the president -- to start explaining that basic fact at every turn.

It is the heat, and also the humidity. Since warm air holds more water than cold, the atmosphere is about 5% moister than it was 40 years ago, which explains the freak downpours that seem to happen someplace on this continent every few days.

It is the carbon -- that’s why the seas are turning acid, a point Obama could have made with ease while standing on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. “It’s bad that it’s black out there,” he might have said, “but even if that oil had made it safely ashore and been burned in our cars, it would still be wrecking the oceans.” Energy independence is nice, but you need a planet to be energy independent on.

Mysteriously enough, this seems to be a particularly hard point for smart people to grasp. Even in the wake of the disastrous Senate non-vote, the Nature Conservancy’s climate expert told New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, “We have to take climate change out of the atmosphere, bring it down to earth, and show how it matters in people’s everyday lives.” Translation: ordinary average people can’t possibly recognize the real stakes here, so let’s put it in language they can understand, which is about their most immediate interests. It’s both untrue, as I’ll show below, and incredibly patronizing. It is, however, exactly what we’ve been doing for a decade and clearly, It Does Not Work.

Step two, we have to ask for what we actually need, not what we calculate we might possibly be able to get. If we’re going to slow global warming in the very short time available to us, then we don’t actually need an incredibly complicated legislative scheme that gives door prizes to every interested industry and turns the whole operation over to Goldman Sachs to run. We need a stiff price on carbon, set by the scientific understanding that we can’t still be burning black rocks a couple of decades hence. That undoubtedly means upending the future business plans of Exxon and BP, Peabody Coal and Duke Energy, not to speak of everyone else who’s made a fortune by treating the atmosphere as an open sewer for the byproducts of their main business.

Instead they should pay through the nose for that sewer, and here’s the crucial thing: most of the money raised in the process should be returned directly to American pockets. The monthly check sent to Americans would help fortify us against the rise in energy costs, and we’d still be getting the price signal at the pump to stop driving that SUV and start insulating the house. We also need to make real federal investments in energy research and development, to help drive down the price of alternatives -- the Breakthrough Institute points out, quite rightly, that we’re crazy to spend more of our tax dollars on research into new drone aircraft and Mars orbiters than we do on photovoltaics.

Yes, these things are politically hard, but they’re not impossible. A politician who really cared could certainly use, say, the platform offered by the White House to sell a plan that taxed BP and actually gave the money to ordinary Americans. (So far they haven’t even used the platform offered by the White House to reinstall the rooftop solar panels that Jimmy Carter put there in the 1970s and Ronald Reagan took down in his term.)

Asking for what you need doesn’t mean you’ll get all of it. Compromise still happens. But as David Brower, the greatest environmentalist of the late twentieth century, explained amid the fight to save the Grand Canyon: “We are to hold fast to what we believe is right, fight for it, and find allies and adduce all possible arguments for our cause. If we cannot find enough vigor in us or them to win, then let someone else propose the compromise. We thereupon work hard to coax it our way. We become a nucleus around which the strongest force can build and function.”

Which leads to the third step in this process. If we’re going to get any of this done, we’re going to need a movement, the one thing we haven’t had. For 20 years environmentalists have operated on the notion that we’d get action if we simply had scientists explain to politicians and CEOs that our current ways were ending the Holocene, the current geological epoch. That turns out, quite conclusively, not to work. We need to be able to explain that their current ways will end something they actually care about, i.e. their careers. And since we’ll never have the cash to compete with Exxon, we better work in the currencies we can muster: bodies, spirit, passion.

Movement Time

As Tom Friedman put it in a strong column the day after the Senate punt, the problem was that the public “never got mobilized.” Is it possible to get people out in the streets demanding action about climate change? Last year, with almost no money, our scruffy little outfit,, managed to organize what Foreign Policy called the “largest ever coordinated global rally of any kind” on any issue -- 5,200 demonstrations in 181 countries, 2,000 of them in the U.S.A.

People were rallying not just about climate change, but around a remarkably wonky scientific data point, 350 parts per million carbon dioxide, which NASA’s James Hansen and his colleagues have demonstrated is the most we can have in the atmosphere if we want a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.” Which, come to think of it, we do. And the “we,” in this case, was not rich white folks. If you look at the 25,000 pictures in our Flickr account, you’ll see that most of them were poor, black, brown, Asian, and young -- because that’s what most of the world is. No need for vice-presidents of big conservation groups to patronize them: shrimpers in Louisiana and women in burqas and priests in Orthodox churches and slumdwellers in Mombasa turned out to be completely capable of understanding the threat to the future.

Those demonstrations were just a start (one we should have made long ago). We’re following up in October -- on 10-10-10 -- with a Global Work Party. All around the country and the world people will be putting up solar panels and digging community gardens and laying out bike paths. Not because we can stop climate change one bike path at a time, but because we need to make a sharp political point to our leaders: we’re getting to work, what about you?

We need to shame them, starting now. And we need everyone working together. This movement is starting to emerge on many fronts. In September, for instance, opponents of mountaintop removal are converging on DC to demand an end to the coal trade. That same month, Tim DeChristopher goes on trial in Salt Lake City for monkey-wrenching oil and gas auctions by submitting phony bids. (Naomi Klein and Terry Tempest Williams have called for folks to gather at the courthouse.)

The big environmental groups are starting to wake up, too. The Sierra Club has a dynamic new leader, Mike Brune, who’s working hard with stalwarts like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. (Note to enviro groups: working together is fun and useful). Churches are getting involved, as well as mosques and synagogues. Kids are leading the fight, all over the world -- they have to live on this planet for another 70 years or so, and they have every right to be pissed off.

But no one will come out to fight for watered down and weak legislation. That’s not how it works. You don’t get a movement unless you take the other two steps I’ve described.

And in any event it won’t work overnight. We’re not going to get the Senate to act next week, or maybe even next year. It took a decade after the Montgomery bus boycott to get the Voting Rights Act. But if there hadn’t been a movement, then the Voting Rights Act would have passed in… never. We may need to get arrested. We definitely need art, and music, and disciplined, nonviolent, but very real anger.

Mostly, we need to tell the truth, resolutely and constantly. Fossil fuel is wrecking the one earth we’ve got. It’s not going to go away because we ask politely. If we want a world that works, we’re going to have to raise our voices.

Bill McKibben is founder of and the author, most recently, of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. Earlier this year the Boston Globe called him “probably the country’s leading environmentalist” and Time described him as “the planet’s best green journalist.” He’s a scholar in residence at Middlebury College. To hear him discuss why the public needs to lead the fight against global warming in Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview, click here or, to download it to your iPod, here.

Copyright 2010 Bill McKibben

[Note: the demise of climate change legislation in the US may mean none in Canada either, since the Harper government has repeatedly stated that it will do the same as the US.]

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sour Cherry Jam making Workshop

Thanks to the Fruit Tree Picking Project and hosted by St John the Evangelist Anglican Church on Charlton and Locke St.

The jam sorta worked-kinda turned out as syrup but hey! Tastes pretty good.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Starting An Eco-Faith Group in your Community

Monday 31st May
We hosted a workshop about starting an eco-churches/faith group in your neighbourhood.
This event took place at the St John The Evangelist Anglican church on Charlton and Locke.
Lots of faith groups in the neighbourhood.
Speakers were Greg Reader (True City) and Sue Carson (Eco-Churches of West Hamilton).
There where representatives from 9 different faith groups.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Eco-Meditation Walk

I had no idea what to expect when I organized an eco-meditation walk with a Zen Buddhist Sister-Sister Tinh.
But cradled by the soft warm breezes of a late spring evening, in the heart of Valley land, the light of the day- green and mysterious, we found ourselves, hand clasping thumb either in front or behind our backs, our gaze on the ground before us, taking very small, very slow steps while we allowed ourselves to focus on the present-meditation the returning of wandering thoughts back to the moment.

All the time, we made full use of our senses; we breathed in the smells around us, we listened to the sounds the forest made, we felt the air on our skins.

Crows called, twigs snapped, our feet crunched on the gravel path, the green hung at the edges of our sight, the smell of lilacs and then horse manure and then freshly mowed grass. The sounds of people passing by and children giggling at the strange procession we were twenty odd people walking along in single file.

When we paused in our walk, it was to look up and let our minds hold what our eyes first grasped. How vibrant the colours looks around us now. My eyes fell upon a rock at my feet solid, grounding and non-obtrusive. Next a mosquito on my hand caught my eye. I let it be. Unwanted things we normally shun kept drawing my attention:the dandelion, the purple loose strive, the garlic mustard weeds. Invasive species-how to they all fit into the grand scheme of things I wondered and then let the thought go.; reaching instead to hold and embrace the world as it was before me; warts and all.

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Monday, May 10, 2010


Blue Heron Zen Buddhist Centre and Greening Sacred Spaces/Environment Hamilton

invite you to

An Eco-Meditation Walk

Our guide will be Sister Tinh Quang of the Blue Heron Centre

-------------- Wednesday May 19th, 2010 -------------

Meet at the front gates of the Dundas Conservation Authority at 7pm
Parking is $6 per vehicle, entrance on foot is $3 per person

Walk lasts about an hour.

This is event is open to all people.

Contact Project Manager, Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko at

905 549 0900


Interested in

Starting an eco-churches group in your neighbourhood?

St John The Evangelist Anglican Church and Greening Sacred Spaces, Hamilton invite you to attend a workshop on Monday May 31st to get your questions answered.

Place: St John the Evangelist, 320 Charlton Ave W at Locke St. in Hamilton

Guest Speakers

Greg Reader of True City Hamilton (churches together for the good of the city).

Sue Carson of Eco Churches of West Hamilton (Eco-WHAM)

an ecumenical network of faith groups located in the West Hamilton area, serving Ancaster, Copetown, Dundas, Greensville, Westdale and West Hamilton.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Going Solar:answers for faith communities, businesses and homeowners.

April 25th-
While outside the weather was damp,windy and wet, inside Laidlaw Memorial United church, everyone was having sunny thoughts over coffee, sandwiches and sweet treats.

Going Solar: answers for faith communities, homeowners and businesses drew together a huge crowd of well over 100, with people arriving not only from Hamilton, Burlington and Dundas but as far as Brantford, Brampton, Dunnville Scarbourough, Oakville and Cayuga.

Four speakers gave presentations.
Kristina Inrig, Provincial Program Director of Faith & the Common Good's Greening Sacred Spaces project gave a general overview of solar, the green energy act and incentives to going solar.
Rick Salay of the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Toronto talked about the Solar project at this church and the debenture program they have going on to help with funding the project.

Dan Cole, director of Direct Current Renewable Energy Systems in Brantford talked about his Initiative for faith and 'not for profit' groups and coop buying in bulk. His company is the one putting the solar panels on Laidlaw this month.

Paul Charbonneau, President of Energy Advocate in Toronto wrapped it up by filling in the gaps and basically concluded with words that left the audience thinking: "solar is natural. Oil and coal are the actual alternatives!"

A panel discussion followed where the audience got a chance to get their questions answered.

April 17th- Energy Conservation Workshop

Up to 25 people from St Ann's RC parish on Sherman learned about energy conservation in the home. The group learned about simple energy saving tips they could apply right away as well as plan for larger projects at a later date.

We broke into two groups to study the energy conservation planners and make our commitments to make changes in the up and coming weeks.

We watched a film on energy conservation, pulled out energy saving devices such as cloth pegs, a power bar, an energy meter and slippers and sweaters!!

Attendants got a chance to view Horizon Utilities' programmable thermostat and learn about the peaksaver program that can help relief the grid of it's burden on those especially hot days when all the air conditioners are running full blast.

Attendants left with freebies that included the LED flashlights, resource materials and free energy saving kits.

If you are interested in having the Greening Sacred Spaces and Green Venture team come out to your place of worship-please contact me, Beatrice 905 549 0900

Going Solar:answers for faith communities, businesses and homeowners.

April 25th-
While outside the weather was damp,windy and wet, inside Laidlaw Memorial United church, everyone was having sunny thoughts.
Going Solar: answers for faith communities, homeowners and businesses drew together a huge crowd of well over 100, with people coming not only from Hamilton, Burlington and Dundas but as far as Brantford, Brampton, Dunnville Scarbourough, Oakville and Cayuga.
four speakers gave presentations: Kristina Inrig, Provincial Program Director of Faith & the Common Good's Greening Sacred Spaces project gave a general overview of solar, the green energy act and incentives to going solar.
Rick Salay of the Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Toronto talked about the Solar project at this church and the debenture program they have going on to help with funding the project.

Dan Cole, director of Direct Current Renewable Energy Systems in Brantford talked about his Initiative for faith and 'not for profit' groups and coop buying in bulk. His company is the one putting the solar panels on Laidlaw this month.

Paul Charbonneau, President of Energy Advocate in Toronto wrapped it up by filling in the gaps and basically concluded with words that left the audience thinking: "solar is natural. Oil and coal are the actual alternatives!"

A panel discussion followed where the audience got a chance to get their questions answered.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Going Solar:answers for faith communities, businesses and homeowners.

Greening Sacred Spaces/Environment Hamilton and Laidlaw Memorial United Church

invite you to
Going Solar: answers for faith communities, businesses and homeowners.

Date: Sunday April 25th, 2010
Time: 1-4pm

Location: Laidlaw Memorial United Church where solar panels are in the process of being installed.
155 Ottawa St North (at Cannon St.).

Guest Speakers:

Kristina Inrig, Provincial Program Director of Faith & the Common Good's Greening Sacred Spaces project

Paul Charbonneau, President of Energy Advocate

Rick Salay, Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Toronto

Dan Cole, director of Direct Current Renewable Energy Systems.
Contact Project Facilitator, Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko for more information or to register.
905 549 0900

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

LaidLaw United Church Tour

March 17th 2010

Today's morning tour of Laidlaw Memorial United Church saw a crowd of over 35 people coming from Hamilton (including Ancaster, Dundas, Stoney Creek) and as far as Dunville, Burlington and even London Ontario!

They were here to learn about the energy conservation measures and deficit slashing that Laidlaw has accomplished in under 6 years; bringing their budget deficit from $54,000 down to $8,000.

From installing a 7-day electronic set back thermostat,turning off the pilot lights when not in use, starting up Breakfast and Brooms (where people eat then clean the church), turning off the water heater in the summer to moving the heat ducts from the ceiling to the floor, setting up a convection current and making the gym warmer and using less fuel right up to getting ready to install solar panels on the new roof, people learned that the process was and continues to be a communal effort, a familly thing with everyone working together.

Rev Doug Moore thinks of his congregation as being part of a household "just doing what a household does."

See last post for more on how Laidlaw saves energy and 'wastes not!'

Monday, March 8, 2010

Greening Sacred Spaces Awards Night

Sunday March 7, 2010 Eastminster United Church, Toronto
The Green Awakening Network and Greening Sacred Spaces Greening Our Faith Communities: Annual Leader's Forum
was a fantastic success.
What I came away with from the interfaith panel discussion that followed the workshops was that what we are developing is trust between the faiths.
What a powerful concept:imagine what the world would look like if we could trust one another!

I presented the awards For the Hamilton area.

Below is an edited version of my presentation:
We had two faith communities that started their 'greening journey' in two very different ways. One that set out intentionally on the 'noble path' and the other that didn't even realize they were on it.

St James Anglican Church Dundas

About 4, 5 years ago St James Anglican Church was, to quote a member of that church,
“doing nothing” with regards to greening.

Then, the clergy started to think about eco -action and taking the necessary first small steps towards living out the teachings of their faith. What really got things going in the Niagara Diocese (a group of 85 churches, of which St. James is one) was the youth who said, “This is our future. Let's do something about it.”
Independently the Youth Representatives of the Niagara Diocese put forward a motion at the 2007 Synod to ask that every Anglican church in the diocese be accountable for the amount of GHG it was emitting.

St James is now a shining example of a church that's implementing the accreditation program for the whole Niagara Diocese coming out of that first initiative.

St James is one of 5 churches that passed the bronze level of this accreditation programme. They are currently working towards the silver level.
St James has had a walk-through audit and as a result, has taken many practical energy conservation measures. They have held 2 celebration feasts of delicious locally produced food; they have installed a bike rack to encourage getting to worship by active transportation instead of driving, they offer regular recycling/composing/green bin education to the community at large.

Groups using the church are being given the Blue box talk to encourage correct use.
They have helped develop a green cleaning products guide that FCG has adapted.

St James is a very active member of the newly formed Eco-Churches of West Hamilton and they are heavily involved with climate change activism. The world wide events in October, leading up to the Copenhagen talks in Nov saw it's members taking to the streets, writing letters to the government and educating people about the need to take action on climate change.

Laidlaw Memorial United Church.

The Reverend at this church, Rev Doug Moore admits that they didn’t start off trying to be green. They started off with a budget deficit. The story begins with the pipe organ.

Some of the members thought that turning down the heat in the Sanctuary during the week might help the deficit, but there was the pipe organ to consider. They'd been told that the pipe organ had to be at 65 degrees all winter to be preserved.
After much talk they came to the decision to invest a little over a hundred dollars in a 7-day electronic set back thermostat. They set it up to be warm when people were going to be there, and cool when people were not going to be there. By the time a year had passed, the heat bill was $1000 less. The organ was fine. And for your information,six years later, the organ is still fine, better, perhaps, for the leathers not getting all dried out from the heat in the winter. 
Rev Moore notes, “Our Congregational culture was changing.  We didn’t know we were getting greener, but we knew something was happening.”

From there, ever practical, more ways to save money started coming up. The pilot lights on the kitchen stove could be turned off until someone needed to use the stove (that saves $250 in gas each year), and the water heater turned down for the summer. Changing the furnace filters helps make the furnaces more efficient.
When they needed to save even more money, they decided they would eat breakfast together on a Saturday morning, and work together to clean and maintain the Church, making cleaning every body's responsibility. Breakfast and Brooms was the result of that effort...

Ideas just kept coming.  Someone heard of a deal on Compact Florescent Lights.  Everybody gathered their extra coupons, and they bought enough to replace seventy bulbs in the Church, now saving $50 a month on the hydro bill.
Someone else heard about free upgrades to the existing florescent lighting in the Church to T-8’s (high efficiency fluorescent lights), and the Utility Company did $1000 worth of free upgrades.
When the Church School wanted to decorate the sanctuary for Thanksgiving they made the effort to not get in cars, but to buy local, and went to the local Farmer’s market, and decorated with the vegetables they bought there.

In the Office, they started cutting down on photo copies and paper. Cleaning now involves fewer chemicals, and more elbow grease. When people kept cranking up the heat in the gym because they were cold, and when everybody saw the heat bill going up, they talked to their heating contractor, who moved the heat ducts from the ceiling to the floor, setting up a convection current, and making the gym warmer and using less fuel. 

In conclusion, Rev Moore tells us, “It just made sense for us to start thinking, all of us, together, about how to save money, and being green was saving us money, and time, and increasing the cooperation and affection we had for each other.
The more we got to know each other, the more our Worship became a deeper celebration.  Helping each other be respectful of God’s creation, and enjoying each other’s company gave us a sense of friendship that allowed us to celebrate God’s provision for us, and believe our little world might be saved, after all."
Laidlaw United has recently received $$ to install solar panels this spring and generate green energy that they will be used to feed into the grid.
They are offering a tour of their church march 17th and the following month, we will be hosting a solar forum for faith groups, businesses and home owners all!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Why have an energy audit?

Whether you are a temple, church, or gurdwara, an energy audit is as important to any long-term capital plan as a thorough building condition assessment.

The major benefit of energy audits is that they allow for the development of an "energy savings plan."

The energy savings plan contributes to the implementation of a capital plan by providing funding from reduced utility bills (in the form of money not spent on utilities) and, to a lesser extent, government subsidies and grants. This augments other sources of funding including reserves and investments and is used to cover the costs of implementing a capital plan.

Including energy audits in capital planning also allows for a holistic approach to planning by incorporating energy efficiency decisions into long-term maintenance programs, equipment acquisitions, and renovations or improvements. It's true it costs to get the audit and to do the renovations, but the long term cost of doing nothing is probably more.
Consider it part of the commitment to living faithfully, living green.

* Green Venture is a not- for- profit organization with years of experience in conducting energy audits. They offer free estimates (provide them with square footage and annual heating costs).

*If you are a Union Gas customer, now's the time to get an audit! Union Gas will pay up to 50% of your energy audit costs. Don't miss out on this opportunity while it lasts.


*Laidlaw Memorial United Church Tour: Energy Conservation Methods in Action*

On Wednesday March 17th at 10am Laidlaw United Church will host a guided tour of the church to demonstrate how simple energy conservation action has *drastically* reduced energy bills.

Come out and learn how they've done it.

Tour guide is the Reverend Doug Moore who is not only passionate about
living sustainably and saving $$ but also about his church and his

All welcome!

155 Ottawa Street North (corner of Ottawa and Cannon).

Fee? Free!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Prayer Room 24/7: Continious Prayer

Prayer Room 24/7: Continious Prayer

This past week, True City hosted a fabulous 'Celebration'event Philphott Memorial Church in down town Hamilton and what really interested me was the prayer room.
It was a space that contained prayer stations: Listening station,Worship station, Neighbourhood station, New arrivals station, Living rock (street youth) and Native stations, Global station, Mental health station and Environmental Station.

I was deeply moved by much of what I saw. An interactive opportunity, people were invited to contribute their thoughts, art etc. At the Environmental Station, there were many useful tips/thoughts/ideas left by people who had stopped to pray there.
One of them was "We must humbly learn from the Environmentalists."

Yes, we should learn from the environmentalists.We should to emulate their commitment, their sense of justice, their fervor to see this world return to what it was once before-a glorious, mysterious, beautiful world.

But I also believe that there is much to learn from people of faith.
This will be the subject of another post but for now I will briefly say what I have learned from people of faith:
There is compassion for the ones that no one cares about. There is hospitality towards others. There is community and relationships and trust. Can we use these qualities to be better environmentalists in our own communities?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creating a just, green future through a green economy

February 13, 2010

How do we move forward in tough economic times in a way that respects the planet and ensures a fair, living wage for local workers? This was the topic of a 'breakfast speakers series' held at Melrose United Church this past Saturday.
The speaker was Environment Hamilton's executive director, Dr. Lynda Lukasik. Lukasik believes that a focus on greening our local economy provides a viable solution to economic re-envisioning for the future.
The project was launched last month and interested people are invited to join the discussion.

For more information about EH's GOLE (Greening Our Local Economy)Project, visit:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Greening Sacred Spaces Awards

The Green Sacred Space Awards were developed in 2006-07 by the Ottawa Steering Committee of Faith & the Common Good under the leadership of John Dorner. We thank the Ecology and Theology Working Group of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa whose earlier work helped us establish the frame of reference and criteria for the awards.
The GSS award is an affirmation of the commitment to environmental stewardship as shown by a given faith community through five actions in each of three areas: spirituality and worship; sacred space activities that promote a healthy environment; and outreach to the wider community in support of environmental action.

In the Hamilton region, these awards are to presented to
St James Anglican Church in Dundas and Laidlaw Memorial United Church, Hamilton

St James Anglican, Dundas:
St James has had a walkthrough audit, they have held 2 eat local feasts, they have bought a bike rack, they offer regular recycling/composing/green bin use education to the community at large. They are part of the newly formed Eco-Churches of West Hamilton and they are heavily involved with climate change action (350, Copenhagen). The have helped develop a green cleaning products guide that FCG have adapted.

Laidlaw Memorial United Church. This church has been greening their sacred space for over 5 years now with significant results. They are actively seeking to install solar panels this year and generate green energy that they will also use to feed into the grid. They will be offering a tour or the church this month as well as hosting the Greening Sacred Spaces Solar Conference in April.
This year the awards presentation takes place in Toronto:

There will be five practical workshops to equip you for the task ahead, and an interfaith panel including Mardi Tindal to inspire and encourage you. Greening Sacred Spaces will be introducing their new solar energy program for religious buildings, and making their annual awards for the Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto areas during a shared meal. Mardi Tindal will also be the preacher at Eastminster's morning service.

The Green Awakening Network and Greening Sacred Spaces present:Greening Our Faith Communities:Annual Leaders Forum

Sunday March 7th 2010 Interfaith Eco-Worship 10:30 amWorkshops, Interfaith Panel, Vegan Meal 12.45pm to 7pm at Eastminster United Church

310 Danforth Ave, Toronto

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Creating a just, green future through a green economy

Melrose Breakfast presents:

Creating a just, green future through a green economy with Environment Hamilton's Dr. Lynda Lukasik

How do we move forward in tough economic times in a way that respects the planet and ensures a fair, living wage for
local workers? Environment Hamilton believes that a focus on greening our local economy provides a viable solution.
Come out to learn more, share your ideas and consider getting involved in EH's GOLE (Greening Our
Local Economy)Project.

February 13th -
Breakfast starts at 9am
Speaker starts at 9:20

Melrose United Church
86 Homewood Avenue

Suggested donation is $10 per person

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Praying for sunshine

Solar panels to help church sell electricity
February 01, 2010

The Hamilton Spectator
(Feb 1, 2010)

Rev. Doug Moore's Laidlaw Memorial United Church congregation is praying for sunshine.

The Ottawa Street North church is one of the first in Ontario to apply to sell electricity generated by rooftop solar panels.

Its application went in as soon as the province's MicroFIT renewable energy incentive program launched in October.

Now Moore's trying to persuade the Hamilton Conference of the United Church to loan him the money needed to replace a leaky roof and install the power panels.

An initial 10-kilowatt system could bring in nearly $10,000 a year.

Moore says Laidlaw is built like a Masonic hall, on an east-west axis, so the south-facing, sloping roof supported by riveted steel beams is perfect for a solar installation.

"They drool," he says, "all the solar people drool. We've had three of them come around."

But he wants to own the system, "so all the money isn't sucked out of this community. Whatever comes off this roof is going right back into east Hamilton."

They aren't big spenders down on Ottawa North. Moore and the church council run the place on a $115,000 annual budget that includes his full-time salary. Frugal is the word he uses.

They rent their parking lot to the funeral home next door and run bingo games and penny sales to raise money. Compact fluorescent bulbs just in the sanctuary cut the hydro bill $30 a month. New thermostats save more.

In years past, when the church decided to install air conditioning, it went in the attic, because cool air drops naturally. It costs just $50 a month to run. A gas shut-off valve saves the $250 a month it once cost to run five pilot lights on a big kitchen stove.

"The whole green thing is not new to this congregation," says Moore.

Despite their thrift, the need for a new roof is a crisis, one Moore hopes to turn into an opportunity with the solar project.

The idea was born at last summer's Winona Peach Festival where Dan Cole of Brantford had a booth promoting Power for Faith and Healing, his effort to bring churches and nonprofit groups together to share information and form a buying pool to get a discount on solar panels.

Says Moore, "I need $85,000 to fix the roof and I can't get that out of the 80 people here on Sunday morning."

With a loan, he figures he can afford to install panels with a capacity of 10 kW, just enough to pay for the project over 20 years, but there's room for another 20 kW he dreams of adding.

He invites other churches to work with Cole, "because if we all come together, the price will come down." And he has recruited a project manager to prepare a business case for the loan, saying some in the United Church worry about investing in buildings they might have to close because of dwindling attendance.

Moore says, "If we flop, we'll have a church everybody will want to buy, making $10,000 a year from the parking lot and $10,000 from the roof."

Laidlaw's office number is 905-544-6536. For more on Cole's venture, go to


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hundreds attend mosque open house

Gary Yokoyama, The Hamilton Spectator
click here to expandThe Muslim community hosted an open house at the Hamilton M ...
January 31, 2010

The goodwill of hundreds of neighbours has helped to heal the pain caused by an ugly act of hatred.

Less than a month after a firebomb went through the window of their school, worshippers at the Hamilton Mountain Mosque threw open the doors to the public Saturday.

The busy open house proved to be affirming for Hamilton’s Muslims and educational for their non-Muslim neighbours.

At least 300 visitors packed the mosque and its attached school on Stonechurch Road, east of Upper Ottawa Street.

There, amid hand-shaking and laughter, they enjoyed halal snacks, asked questions about Islamic practices and beliefs and took stocking-foot tours of the mosque and Islamic School of Hamilton, located together on the site of a former racquet club.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Union Gas will pay up to 30% of your energy audit cost for your faith building

Hi Everyone and a very happy new year to you all!
I have some exciting news. Faith buildings are considered commerical buildings by Union Gas so if you are a costumer of Union Gas and decide to have an energy audit done on your faith building,they will pay up to 30% of the cost. This is huge.
Green Venture is at the ready to do the audit.

Having an energy audit done provides you with some basic information about current energy use in your building and the potential for more efficient usage. Its the best way to know where your building stands and how to save money in the long run.
Once you have the audit done you can quailify for retrofit grants from the government. This is a win-win situation.

Lastly, Union Gas has a program in place where faith groups can receive free energy saving devices such as the kitchen and bathroom aerators to save water, the free programable thermostats etc.
Please look at the website and please direct any questions to me and i can provide you with further contacts. Their website is