FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 10th 2010
The First Green Church Conference gathered 150 people in Montréal
Montréal - The Green Church Project (GCP) is a new and exciting ecumenical venture. GCP aims to empower congregations and ministry sites in adopting environmentally aware practices and foster a Christian spirituality closer to nature.
The Green Church Project Team launched an invitation to believers from diverse denominations to the First Green Church Conference. It was held on Tuesday February 9th in Saint-Charles Catholic Church in Pointe-Saint-Charles in Montréal. Approximately 150 enthusiastic individuals devoted to ecology from the Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and United Churches, responded to this invitation.
“It was a real success, said Norman Lévesque, coordinator of GCP and initiator of the gathering. We see by this response that the time had come for such a gathering. Our common vision is to combine theological reflection and concrete actions in order to mend this planet.”
Special guests and Church leaders attended the event : two Catholic bishops, one Anglican bishop and several clergy from various Churches. The Moderator of the United Church, Mardi Tindal, who ran a very well-received blog during the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change last December, was also present electronically; Moderator Tindal offerred a video- taped message of congratulations to all. The Québec Minister of Environment, Line Beauchamp, could not attend as promised because of a last-minute delay, but sent her greetings that were read at the opening of the Conference.
The Green Church Pilot Project started in spring 2008, helping United Church faith communities, get involved in environmental protection. From the energy efficiency of religious building to liturgical prayers, through environment campaigns, the green teams in several communities began transforming Stewardship of creation into a reality.
2009 was the year of ecumenical outreach, as the GCP extended its network to other Christian denominations. From Eco-fairs to energy audits for their religious building and community gardens, all those new activities that parishes and ministry sites have undertaken are very impressive.
“We saw that several congregational members felt isolated and they really wanted and needed to share with others their experiences, as well as listening and learning from others, added Norman Lévesque. That’s how the idea of a Green Church Conference came to our mind, an idea that seemed a little bet crazy at the beginning - but the Conference invites us to expand our imagination.”
The Conference was fully bilingual. After the opening address by André Beauchamp, well-know Catholic theologian, environmentalist and author, the participants were invited to join in various workshops under themes such as : Recycling and energy efficiency, Geothermal energy, Composting and community gardens, Eco-Artisan Fair and the Covenant with Creation and Stewardship Environment.
The First Green Church Conference closed with an ecumenical celebration led by clergy from Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and United Churches. Participants returned home with the common desire to continue this demanding yet rewarding Christian journey - the journey that calls us to be good stewards of all creation.
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United Church of Canada