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Organic gardening: the next big thing in creating interfaith communities?

Article: Organic gardening: the next big thing in creating interfaith communities?

Gardens get kind of a bad rap in Abrahamic mythology: just think Eden or Gethsemene. Despite those narratives, Catholic and Jewish congregations in Columbia, Missouri (the college town in the state) have found that gardening together allows them to not only demonstrate their commitments to creation, care and serving the needy, but to also build bridges between people of different faiths.

The Interfaith Care for Creation Garden Project traces its roots back to 2006, when an interfaith couple new to the area who wanted to get their children involved in volunteer projects. Fallow farmland behind Congregation Beth Shalom provided the perfect space for the effort; When founder Mary Beth Litofsky injured her back in 2009, the new Interfaith Care for Creation group (a project of the Columbia Climate Change Coalition) took over. The St. Thomas More Newman Center organized volunteers, and, all together, the effort produced 550 pounds of food – all of which went to local food pantries and kitchens that feed the needy.

5 houses of worship using solar energy

Article: 5 houses of worship using solar energy

Turns out that Madison, Wisconsin’s Benedictine sisters aren’t the only ones greening their house of worship: churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples around the US are implementing a range of green building and energy saving features. In most cases, they’re driven by religious imperatives; cost-savings likely play a role, too. The federal government’s even trying to encourage this behavior: Environmental Leader noted today that congregation buildings are now eligible for ENERGY STAR status.

Solar power is one of the first things most of us consider when trying to cut our energy costs and lighten our carbon footprints. Religious congregations are no different… here are a handful that have added solar features to their houses of worship.

The First Presbyterian Church of Washingtonville, NY, has been heating the building with DIY solar systems for over 30 years!
Bridgeview, Illinois’ Mosque Foundation added solar water heating in 2008, making it the first mosque in the US to adopt solar technology.