Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Greening Sacred Spaces Awards-2011

Eco Churches of West Hamilton (Eco-WHAM) and The Hill St. Garden Faith Groups win
Green Sacred Spaces Awards 2011


Hamilton– On Tuesday June 14th, Eco-Churches of West Hamilton and The Hill St. Garden Faith Groups will be presented with Green Sacred Spaces (GSS) Awards held at Westdale United Church.

Greening Sacred Spaces Award partner Horizon Utilities Corporation, will be presenting the award on June 14th joined by representatives from Greening Sacred Spaces/Environment Hamilton. Brian Smith, Chief Conservation Officer for Horizon Utilities will give a short presentation sharing his cutting edge knowledge and information on the latest programs.

Award winners will give short presentations on the greening that they have been doing in their places of worship.

The Green Sacred Spaces Award recognizes the contributions that faith communities have made toward making our environment more sustainable. In order to win the GSS Award, there are 3 stringent criteria that must be met and they are as follows:

1. Practical actions such as completing an energy retrofit, microfit or community garden; 2. Engagement in numerous local sustainability and energy conservation educational events  3. Involvement in outreach programs in the community at large; educating and engaging other faith communities to take actions in their communities and households at large.

Greening Sacred Spaces works with faith communities to create environmentally-friendly places of worship, and to educate members of their community about environmental issues. Currently the GSS Network comprises more than 130 faith communities in Hamilton area. Network members are invited to quarterly training meetings, have access to free downloadable resources, receive information about energy-efficiency and energy audits, funding opportunities and upcoming environmental events.

10 GSS awards are granted in areas across Ontario where Greening Sacred Spaces programs are active (Hamilton, Waterloo Region, Wellington County, Toronto, Ottawa and Eastern Ontario and Peterborough).

Event takes place at Westdale United Church. All welcome!
99 North Oval,
Hamilton
1-2.30pm
For more information contact:

Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko 905 549 0900 and 905 529 7408

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Background Information for 2011 GSS Hamilton Area Award Winners

Eco Churches Of West Hamilton (EcoWHam)

Some 3 years ago several churches in the Dundas area and neighbouring West Hamilton came together to pool resources to become more effective in bringing the message of environmental responsibility to their constituent congregations.

A team drawn from participating Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian, and 2 United Church congregations meets regularly to learn, exchange ideas, plan public events, distribute newsletters, support local environmental events, and provide encouragement to like-minded community groups. The congregations are doing energy audits, installing compact florescent lighting and LED lighting, weather-proofing, eco- film screenings, climate change action, offering water and energy conservation workshops, using rain barrels, using programmable thermostats, green and blue carting, growing community gardens, using green cleaning products and more. One member of Eco-WHAM (Westdale United) will be installing solar panels.

Worship at Eco WHAM includes constant environmental messages. Their mission statement: To practice and advance ecological sustainability in keeping with Christian principles of stewardship.

Eco-WHAM congregants are encouraged to take the environmental message home through e-newsletters.
Since July 2008 they have produced newsletters for EcoWHam.
The entire collection can be found on the website: http://www.knoxdundas.com/newsletters.html


Participating Churches
Christian Life Assembly, Dundas
Knox Presbyterian Church, Dundas
St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church, Dundas
St. James Anglican Church, Dundas
St. Paul’s United Church, Dundas
Westdale United Church, Hamilton


The Hill St. Community Garden Faith Groups

They have over 40 different households in the garden. They built the raised beds in mid April 2010 with over 100 volunteers, including nearly all the gardeners, their friends & family, and volunteers from the partnering churches.

The HSCG has been very blessed by the partnership of these churches, the approx. $8000 in gift-in-kind donations received to built the gardens and the shed, a grant, the many volunteers who have put their backs into it, and the fantastic group of gardeners. The gardeners all live within walking distance of the garden, and about half are affiliated with the partnering churches. It is a very diverse group of singles, couple & families with very different lifestyles,
incomes, and backgrounds.

Besides the community garden the faith groups are doing energy upgrades, getting to worship without vehicles, canning workshops, hosting meetings for the Green West Hamilton Group, using fair trade products, xeriscaping, hosting many green community events, putting up solar panels and retrofitting their buildings.

Churches include:
First Hamilton Christian Reformed church
New City Church
St. John the Evangelist Anglican
Central Presbyterian
First Unitarian

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