News, Resources

Letter to Leaders of Faith Groups

On June 19, 30 members of Waterloo Region faith communities got together for a Strawberry Summit to eat strawberries and plan for an environmentally-friendly future.
During the gathering, a ‘Letter to our Leaders’ (see the letter, below) was drafted.
You are welcome to:
* use the letter, below to your faith leaders (adjust the letter to suit your faith community’s needs)
* send the letter to your fellow faith community members
* send the letter to a faith-based newspaper
Please email Jane Snyder if you use the letter and/or choose to advocate for positive environmental behaviours in your faith community!
Jane Snyder
Greening Sacred Spaces Waterloo Region
a project of Faith and the Common Good & Residential Energy Efficiency Project (REEP)
Helping faith communities to make their buildings more energy efficient and educate members to be more environmentally aware. and/or Tel: 519-747-5139 Email:

A Letter to our Leaders

Dear ________________,

On June 19, 2008 the 2nd Annual Strawberry Summit occurred. A number of people gathered together to fellowship around local strawberries and discuss the environmental realities facing our world. We are motivated by faith to care for creation and to live in ways that are sustainable.

We would like our faith communities to play a role in the transition to sustainable living. We want to encourage you, a leader in our faith community, to consider how we might make this happen together.

In twenty-five years, one full generation from now, we envision our faith community will embody sustainable living by:

· Faith communities are experimenting communities, willing to try new technologies and new practices and lead the way

· Congregations located close to members or vice versa

· Smaller congregations may mean meeting in houses or other smaller spaces

· Less cars in the parking lot (more biking, walking etc.)

· More shared facilities within faith groups. Buildings are used by many community groups throughout the week.

· Solar energy/alternative energy for faith buildings

· Gardens in the place of current parking lots

· Energy efficiency measures – dummy thermostat (to save raising and lowering heat)

· Questioning the “Virtual Church” – will this take the place of face-to-face meeting?

· Planning the future – how can faith communities be leading the discussion of possibilities for environmental challenges?

Currently, among the many faith groups represented at the Strawberry Summit, we are doing the following to reach that goal:

· Bike racks

· Sharing space with other faith groups

· 100 mile picnic

· Discussion groups eg. Geothermal heating, transportation, gardening, raising general awareness of environmental issues – ‘how do we get people beyond talking?’

· Energy audits of faith buildings + energy-efficiency upgrades

· Encouraging energy audits of members’ homes

· Voluntary carbon offset project

· Alternative energy sources (eg. Bullfrog Power, solar photovoltaic installation)

· Eco-congregation concept (from A Rocha), featuring modules with action plans for congregations

Clearly there is much work to be done. But with some vision and passion we believe we can get there. We want our faith communities to be a beacon of hope in a world that is in serious distress. May we walk the journey to sustainability together.



On behalf of all the Strawberry Summit participants.