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Oct. 23rd: Sharing Approaches That Work
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Background Panel Discussion

Sharing Approaches That Work
Resource Lunch RSVP 


10:30 AM Sharing Approaches That Work topics including
Energy, Urban Agriculture & Native Plants, Eco-justice/Policy, Waste/Water, and Spirit



Chicago ROAR (Regional Organizing for AntiRacism)
Speakers: Derrick Dawson
A social justice organization which provides organizing, training, and consulting to institutions. Regional organizing empowers institutions in a specific geographic area to pool resources and work together toward antiracist transformation in their greater community. This is vital because isolated institutions cannot be fully transformed until their community — and ultimately society — are also transformed. Sharing Crossroads’ philosophy, values and training methodology, our Regional Partners organize to advance the deeply interconnected racial justice movement.

Interfaith Green Network/First United Church: Sustainability Policy Work
Speakers: Jim Babcock
Educational events were the main focus of the Interfaith Green Network (IGN) when it first came together as a coalition of “green teams” from various churches in 2010. That, and playing an important role in formulating PlanItGreen, the official sustainability plan for the two villages, were its main activities. With the certification of the sustainability plan by Village government, IGN became a leading organization in carrying out implementation strategies, especially in the area of energy efficiency. During the last few years IGN has become much more involved in advocacy for smart environmental policy both with church leadership and with local and state governments. The rationale is that the crisis of climate change poses such an urgency to enact widespread solutions, and that community and state-wide legislation can affect more positive change than individual congregations can.

ONE Northside: Clean Power Plan
Speakers: Jennifer Ritter
ONE Northside specializes in programming and advocacy work that change structures which perpetuate injustice. Bringing together the mixed-income, multi-ethnic intergenerational communities that make up the Northside, ONE organizes power and action at both the institutional and individual level. ONE works to make policy opportunities accessible for residents to engage and on the topic of environmental justice, implementing an equitable and impactful Clean Power Plan in Illinois key.

Urban Village Church: UMC Fossil Free
Speakers: Melissa Brice
Divesting General Board of Pension and Health Benefits from Fossil Fuels, Presenter: Melissa Brice. We are a movement of United Methodists who recognize that it is wrong for The United Methodist Church to profit from wrecking the planet. Indeed, profiting from fossil fuel companies undermines the very ministries that our investments are meant to support. Our mission is to convince the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church to divest from fossil fuel companies and to reinvest in clean energy companies, and to add coal, petroleum and natural gas to the list of socially responsible investment screens in the Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions.



Euclid Av. United Methodist Church: Geothermal/Solar Demo of Our Renewable Energy Future
Speakers: Doug Dixon and Mac Robinet
Euclid installed a geothermal system, which provides heat and cooling all year- round, and reduced energy use by 81%. This was followed by installing a 99 panel solar system, which lowered electricity use by 27%. Both of these major energy saving projects were partially funded by Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.  Euclid sees itself as a congregation committed to eco-ministry and investing in building a sustainable community. The sign outside the Church declares, “This congregation is powered by solar, geothermal and God’s love”.

Metropolitan Chicago Synod: Metro Chicago Lutherans' Energy Efficiency Loan Fund
Speakers: Ken Westlake
The Metro Chicago Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America operates a no-interest revolving loan fund to assist congregations to upgrade their energy efficiency. Repayment of the loan principal is based on the monthly savings projected by an audit. Once the loan is repaid, the energy improvements continue to produce savings that can be applied to ministry. It's good stewardship financially and environmentally.

Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church: Weatherization in the Community
Speakers: Cliff Wilkes/ Sharon Louis
Working with young people in the community to educate and re-prioritize environmental ecological concerns.

Temple Sholom Congregation: GreenFaith Certification Process
Speakers: Karen Lewis
In early 2013 Temple Sholom of Chicago applied for and was granted entry into a two year certification program through a national non-profit, GreenFaith. The program’s requirements are comprehensive focusing on broad categories :  spirit, stewardship, communication, and environmental justice. With the concerted effort of a core green team, comprised of volunteers, staff and clergy, Temple Sholom was awarded certification in early 2015. There have been challenges, many relating to energy efficiency efforts, but there have also been tremendous rewards. Practicing “tikkun olam” (healing the earth) is an ongoing process and we continue to travel on that path.


Urban Ag/Native Plants 

Chicago Eco House: Sustainability in the Inner City
Speakers: Quilen Blackwell
The Chicago Eco House converted a vacant lot into an urban farm in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s south side in partnership with Urban Prep Academy. The farm repurposes an empty space into a viable place that produces fresh produce, trains students in urban agriculture, and increases fresh food access in this urban food desert. The Chicago Eco House’s slogan of “rebuilding communities, rebuilding lives” is at the heart of this God inspired work. 

Inner-City Muslim Action Network: Community Farmers Market
Speakers: Ammiel Mateen and Mathew Ramadan 
Our new USDA-funded farmers’ market mobilizes aspects of IMAN’s work to create a health and arts experience liker no other on Chicago’s Southwest Side! This family-friendly, community-centered market aims to counteract the reality of food deserts by opening up a space for residents to access high-quality local produce at affordable prices

United by Faith Lutheran Church: Care of Creation in the Community
Speakers: Bonnie Osborne
As one of three components of the mission of our church -- Care of Spirit, Care of Creation and Outreach -- United By Faith Lutheran Church's CommUnity Garden in Evergreen Park, IL, is in its 4th year and continues to grow and flourish.  Our CommUnity Garden is also comprised of three components -- a Living Labyrinth, 16 garden boxes that are open to rent by the community for $50 per season (5 of which are designated free for Veterans and/or their families), and an additional 8 boxes plus land which produce fresh vegetables for our day care. We share whatever we can with our community food pantry and encourage our renters to do the same. In addition, we compost to renew all the boxes each year along with planting a cover crop after harvesting to renew the soil as well as rotating our crops, and utilize 10 rain barrels to capture water for use in our gardens.  On those occasions when all our barrels run dry, we then do have to use the church's water source.  This year we've been blessed with lots of rain. Our labyrinth was designed around 3 B's -- birds, butterflies and bees.  With the assistance of Master Gardeners we have planted perennials specifically to attract wild life and not only do folks have the pleasure of meditating through our labyrinth, they are joined by the sound of birds and can watch the bees and butterflies moving through our gardens.

Vernon Park Church of God: Mother Carr’s Farm a Community Supported Agriculture Project
Speakers: Anthony Williamson
The Church has 10 acres of agriculture land that they have turned into a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Each member purchases their membership share and in return receives a bi-weekly supply of seasonal produce harvested from the farm. In so doing you support an African-American owned farm business dedicated to sustainability.

West Chicago United Methodist Church: Sustaining and Protecting God’s Creation by Going Native
Speakers: Judith Horsley
The First United Methodist Church of West Chicago has a strong commitment to sustaining and protecting God’s Creation. As an Earth Flag Church, the green team a.k.a. “Green Disciples”, sponsors ongoing education and community engagement activities to lift awareness and action to sustain and protect God’s Creation.  The Green Disciples do continuous re-cyling including batteries, styro-foam and printer cartridges, sponsor an information tent at the community’s garden festival,  participate in an the adopt-a-highway program, sponsor bike to church Sundays,  provide movies and lectures on pressing environmental issues and promote healthy lifestyles through eating well, exercising and gardening with native plants.  Approximately two (2) years ago, the Church committed to protecting the Monarch Butterfly and other vital pollinators by endorsing the use of sustainable gardening practices and the use of native plants in the church landscape.  A Monarch Butterfly Way Station, “Restoraton Way” was planted at the entrance to the church property and a Native Garden “Heritage Native Garden” was installed at the main entrance to the Church.  



Buddhism & Sustainability
Rev. Patti Nakai, Buddhist Temple of Chicago & Treasures of Uptown an Interfaith Action Coalition
One of the founding members of Treasures of Uptown Interfaith Coalition which recently did a program on environmental concerns with Temple Sholom. She was part of the Chicago delegation to the Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue which was held in Rome this past June and met with Pope Francis. After the conference, she marched with the Buddhist Peace Fellowship to St. Peter's Square as part of a multi-faith demonstration to show support of Laudato Si', the Pope's encyclical. Besides involvement in the local Buddhist Council of the Midwest, she travels frequently to speak at Buddhist centers throughout the United States and Canada.

‘Greening’ Hearts With Spirituality and Humor
Gina Orlando, MA, CH, DePaul School for New Learning
The solutions for caring for all of Creation must also begin with an engaged, vibrant spirituality and not just with technologies.  We need to allow many people opportunities to open their hearts to earth ‘soulutions’ and actions.  With creative and heartfelt inspiration, stories, prayers, epiphany moments, mindfulness, videos and humor, we can and must grab enough of the ‘non-choir’ to make a difference. Gina Orlando, MA is an interfaith seeker and teacher who is a member of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Encyclical Working Group.  She teaches about some environmental issues in two science and spirituality courses at DePaul University, School For New Learning (their adult professional college). One course employs both spirituality and humor as effective tools for change. Gina now leads the new Green Team at Ascension Church in Oak Park.  She also has a private practice as a holistic health coach specializing in anxiety relief. 

Gardens and Spirituality
Speaker: Rabi Damsky
Rabbi Robin Damsky Speak to the earth and it shall teach you – Job 12:8. Early in the Bible humans were exiled from the Garden of Eden, and our work through the millennia – in the physical and spiritual realms – has been to repair paradise that God created for us. We will take a brief look at what can we learn from the garden, and how can it connect us to God and spirit. Bio: Four years ago Rabbi Robin Damsky turned her property into an organic, edible, permaculture landscape. The area has since evolved into an urban farm. She uses the space to teach, employ the needy, feed the hungry, bring faiths together, and celebrate. Rabbi Damsky is currently designing a nonprofit called In The Gardens, to bring gardens and education through mindfulness practice to food insecure communities in Chicagoland. She is available for speaking engagements and educational programming, and can be reached at 708-6295-5556 or

Native American Story and Spirit
Speaker: Stephanie Escher, Turtle Mountain Ojibwa
Stephanie serves as the Outreach Pastor at Euclid Ave UMC in Oak Park. She lifts up the power of story and storytelling to recover and renew a sense of the sacred inherent in all of God's creation.

The Place of Spirituality in Modern Medicine
Speaker: Dr. Lisa Kozinski 
Too often our physical illness is tied to our spiritual well being. Two questions need to be explored that are underlying many of our medical problems: How do you understand your own existence? How do you conceptualize your existence, your spirituality? Do you believe in something greater than yourself? Second, what is your relationship to death? What is your story about death?