Friday, July 17, 2009

Worship Without Your Car

Church crowd urged to bike this weekend
Environment Hamilton urges faith communities to leave cars at home

Gord Bowes, News Staff, Hamilton Mountain News, Jul 17, 2009

Everyone heading to their place of worship this weekend is being asked to go green.

Faith groups across the city are being asked to encourage their congregations to pedal, walk, bus or car pool as part of Greening Sacred Spaces, an effort to get faith groups in the city to move toward sustainability.

Prizes will be awarded for the group with the highest percentage of participants during the July 17-19 Worship Without Your Car: Get To Your Faith Centre A Greener Way initiative, a joint project of Faith and the Common Good and Environment Hamilton.

“This is one of the ways we felt would be fun to get faith groups involved,” says Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko, Greening Sacred Spaces project facilitator.

“We’re just trying to find ways to encourage people to leave the car at home.”

Ms. Ekoko says she had heard about the idea being implemented in other cities and thought it could work locally.

It also makes for a good prelude to the Pedal for the Planet initiative, a cross-country environmental awareness tour which will stop at Fifty Point Conservation Area on Aug. 31.

As of Monday, 12 faith communities had signed up, including Church of the Resurrection, Barton Stone Church United and Emmanuel United Church, Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed and Bethany Gospel Chapel.

“I was hoping to just have five, so I’m quite happy people are getting on to this,” says Ms. Ekoko.

She says she already considers the initiative a success by having more than one dozen faith communities signed up, but an even bigger success would be to get 20 per cent of a congregation to use an alternate means of transportation this weekend.

[Caption: Stephen Murray, pastor at Church of the Resurrection, is encouraging his congregation to take part in this weekend’s “Worship without your car” event organized by Environment Hamilton and Faith and the Common Good. Rev. Murray rides about 15 kilometres each day.

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