Sustainability Project

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What does Sustainability mean for you? What connections do you see between energy use in your home and your relationship with God? How can we, as a Parish, be better stewards of the creation God has given us? As people of Faith, we have a moral imperative to care for God’s creation and its deep distresses. 

Pope Benedict XVI tells us: "Preservation of the environment, promotion of sustainable development and particular attention to climate change are matters of grave concern for the entire human family.

At St. Francis Parish we believe creation is good, and that we are called to care for our less fortunate sisters and brothers by way of so many outreach programs, (just to name a few), hot meals, food drives, home repairs, Christmas gifts, and shelter programs. And, our St. Francis Parish sustainability efforts are rooted in this same belief and concern.  Join us as we are connecting faith & ecology, creation & climate.  - Scott Wright

Sustainability - Where to Begin?
Beyond a reasonable doubt scientists have found that climate change is occurring, it’s due to human causes, and it poses significant risks to our well-being. They agree that it can be addressed by changes in energy technologies, public policies, and our individual actions. The Catholic Church accepts the science and takes the same position.
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First we need to define the word 'sustainability'.  The United Nations defines sustainable development as:  “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Consider this definition in relation to the following:

1)  9 of the 10 warmest years in the modern meteorological record happened since 2000

2)  3,215 daily high-temperature records were set across the U.S. in June

It takes intensive study to link the climate science with daily weather events. But the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report in March that said we will see “unprecedented extreme weather and climate events.”  This will continue unless we make changes.  Our planet is getting warmer.  As a result, we see (continue reading this article and more on our St. Francis Parish Sustainability Project Blog, where you can add your own comments on our articles!)

Sustainability Model: We are borrowing a model currently being implemented at across the U of M campus:

Sustainability Partnership
There is mutual interest in “greening” our Parishes. Our first focus is to understand what our Catholic faith tells us about caring for God’s creation.   
Here are a few excerpts from the Pope and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that tell us why this work is so (continue reading this article and more on our St. Francis Parish Sustainability Project Blog, where you can add your own comments on our articles!)

St. Francis of Assisi Parish

Articles on Sustainability in Forum Bulletin
Add your own comments to our articles! You are welcome to participate in our Sustainability Project and join the team efforts. There are a variety of ways you can engage.  Contact the St. Francis Sustainability Team at 734-821-2121.

Sign-up Here!   Care for creation and the climate by rethinking our energy use, transportation, land and water, food, buildings, purchasing and recycling, culture/behavior-change so that we reduce our carbon footprint. We need you to help us serve as better stewards of God’s creation.  And, this is also a great opportunity to connect with others at St. Francis Parish, Ann Arbor. (The Sustainability Project Officially Started at St. Francis, Ann Arbor, May 2012)

Better Bulidings of Michigan:
Make energy improvements to your home. Clean Energy Coalition and St. Francis have identified four local energy specialists. (Also see FREEFurnace & Boiler Test & Tune program & Refrigerator Replacement.)

Organic Farming and Food - Why Bother?
If a corn plant is surrounded by dead weeds that have just been sprayed with herbicide, do I think that corn plant has not been affected in some way? (Read this article and more on our St. Francis Parish Sustainability Project Blog, where you can add your own comments on our articles!)

CLIMATE NEWS from Catholic Coalition on Climate ChangeWednesday, July 18, 2012, Responses to Severe Weather

St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Sustainability Project

I. getting started: 
building commitment, leaders, Sustainability team

II. faith foundation: 
liturgy & sermons - prayer & spirituality

III. communication & education: 
school, religious education (youth), faith formation (adult)

IV. stewardship action: 
'greening' our parish, homes & lifestyles - energy, bulidings, transportation - purchasing, recycling, waste - food, land, water - culture change
V. social & environmental justice & advocacy: 
justice actions local & global - advocacy 


The purpose of the Sustainability Project at St. Francis is to:  
~ work together to build up the capacity of our Parish and parishioners to be good environmental stewards
~ make the needed changes in our parish and in our homes to improve our stewardship of God’s creation and reduce our carbon footprint ~ educate parishioners on the effects of warming trends globally that have the greatest impact on the poorest among us and on future generations so that we strengthen our work on social justice and advocacy

St. Francis of Assisi Parish
Environmental Policy Statement

Our patron Saint, St. Francis of Assisi, believed that nature itself was "the mirror of God."  He preached the duty of all people "to protect and enjoy nature as ... *Published Sept 2011 by St. Francis Finance Council

St. Francis Parish and School Blazing Trails for the Environment!

St. Francis Parish and School have been honored ... and, again awarded a "Waste-Knot" Award for 2011, by Washtenaw County, Department of Planning and Environment, marking our twelfth consecutive year that we have been so honored!  ... A Forum article published in September 2011

St. Francis News in
Faith Based Sustainability Program to Protect the Environment



Join Our St. Francis Parish Sustainability Project

Comment on our articles at:

Sign-up Here!  Engage with and join in the efforts of our emerging Sustainability Team to care for God's creation, while connecting with others at St. Francis Parish. 

Resources & Organizations With Whom We Affiliate

"Catholic Theological Foundations for addressing Climate Change"  provided by Gary Koenigsknecht, our resident Seminarian, summer 2012, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish, Ann Arbor.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish Sustainability Project  PURPOSE STATEMENT and OVERVIEW (PDF

Sustainability Model document  (oval image)

St. Francis of Assisi Parish Environmental Policy Statement

St. Francis Parish and School "Waste-Knot" Award by Washtenaw County, Department of Planning and Environment 

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops  -  Faithful Citizenship

Catholic Climate Covenant

Michigan Interfaith Power and Light (Mi-IP&L)   &  Success Stories about St. Francis, Ann Arbor