As 2022 draws to a close and we celebrate the accomplishments of a busy year, we at Hope for Creation are asking for your support. Our impact depends on the time, talents, and treasure of people of faith and conscience who believe in the importance of creation care and climate justice, and we invite you to close your year with a donation in support of our work.
As we look toward 2023, our three focus areas of civic engagement and voting rights, energy efficiency and alternative energy, and building community connections, all spring from this year's work and conversations. We couldn’t possibly have achieved the following list of accomplishments without the generosity of countless individuals like you. If the list below inspires you, please make a year-end donation today on our website(which also offers the information you need to mail in your gift).
Here’s what we’ve been up to this year:
- Throughout 2022, Hope for Creation volunteers continued to collect and recycle EPS foam. Lead volunteer Rick Welch coordinated a team that did regular pick-ups at congregations and Friendship Village, staffed the quarterly drop-off days at Mayors Riverfront Park, toured the recycling facility at the Dart Container Corporation, and helped support the launch of a satellite pick-up site at the Texas Township campus of KVCC.
- Hope for Creation representatives attended the Faith Climate Champions Workshop hosted by Faith in Place and the Climate Conversation hosted by Michigan Interfaith Power & Light; we’ve also scheduled a Climate Café led by members of the WMU group Student Climate Mental Health Network.
- Our Purposefully Plant-Based committee added several delicious new vegan recipes to our website and new videos to our TikTok channel.
- In January, as part of our Green Team series, we hosted an online panel discussion, “Congregations Can Compost!”, with representatives from People’s Church, Temple B’nai Israel, and Westminster Presbyterian Church, along with Chris Broadbent, the Bike Compost Guy.
- In April, thanks to the efforts of our Communications Assistant Tanai Dawson, we moved to a new and improved Google workspace that allowed us to more seamlessly share information with staff, committees and the public. We uploaded recordings to our YouTube channel of the four-part Lenten series that launched Hope for Creation in 2014.
- In April, we welcomed Rachelle Yeaman for a six-month stint as our first ever Garden Network Organizer. Rachelle generously shared her expertise in permaculture, organizing, and antiracism as she coordinated the support of a vibrant congregational garden network and three Growing Connections garden events.
- Also in April, we hosted an online screening of the documentary film, YOUTH v. GOV, the featured film of Interfaith Power & Light’s annual Faith Climate Action Week. The 2022 theme was "Sacred Trust: Our children’s right to a livable future.”
- In May, Hope for Creation volunteers joined students from Kalamazoo College and congregants from Allen Chapel AME Church to expand the church’s nascent urban garden with new raised beds and plants donated through the Common Ground network and the KVCC plant giveaway.
- In June, Hope for Creation hosted its Second Annual Congregational Garden Tour, with stops at the Children’s Nature Playscape at First Congregational Church, the raised bed community garden at Allen Chapel AME Church, and the rain garden at the Congregation of Moses.
- In July, our planning committee celebrated summer with a festive outdoor potluck at the home of coordinator Joan Hawxhurst.
- In August, we gathered with our garden network to enjoy Abundance in Community at the Growing Community Garden at Sunnyside UM Church. There were outdoor cooking demonstrations, a tour of the impressive garden, and a bountiful potluck featuring ingredients from many local gardens.
- In September, the Hope for Creation planning committee had a working retreat at Westminster Presbyterian Church, where we learned from the Rev. Dr. Liz Candido, Chaplain and Director of Religious & Spiritual Life at Kalamazoo College, about her research on spirituality and climate action in Generation Z, which informed our decisions about programmatic priorities for the coming year.
- Later in September, the planning committee attended an inspiring talk, “Coloring the Conservation Conversation,” by Dr. Drew Lanham hosted by the Kalamazoo Nature Center at Chenery Auditorium; little did we know that Dr. Lanham would shortly be named a MacArthur Foundation Genius grantee!
- In October, we hosted the Second Annual Harvest of Unity, under the sukkah at Temple B’nai Israel. After a tour of TBI’s sustainability efforts, reflections were shared by local clergy including: Pastor Bobette Hampton, Youth for Christ; Rabbi Simone Schicker, Temple B’nai Israel; Rev. Jerry Duggins of Westminster Presbyterian Church; Rev. Ruth Moerdyk of Skyridge Church of the Brethren, and Pastor Millard Southern III of Allen Chapel AME Church.
- Also in October, Hope for Creation tabled at the Earth Day Election Edition event in Bronson Park, joining dozens of other local organizations seeking to encourage climate voting in November. We distributed copies of Interfaith Power and Light’s Faithful Voter Reflection Guide.
- In December, Hope for Creation executive committee member Steve Bertman and coordinator Joan Hawxhurst were awarded the annual Human Rights Award of the Kalamazoo chapter of Church Women United, for their work linking environmental and social justice in our community.
- Throughout the year, we promoted sustainability events at local congregations: programs on butterfly gardening and electric vehicles at First Presbyterian Church, and a panel on residential solar installation at Temple B’nai Israel.
- Also this year, we polled our congregations about their interest in compostable tableware, hoping to launch a bulk-ordering initiative, and we joined dozens of organizations throughout southwest Michigan as affiliates of the Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition.
We are deeply grateful for the generous support of many individuals throughout southwest Michigan as well as the following congregations to date this year:
- First United Methodist Church
- Westminster Presbyterian Church
- Congregation of Moses
- Skyridge Church of the Brethren
Our efforts were also supported by significant grants from the:
- Congregation of St. Joseph
- Mesara Family Foundation
- Fetzer Fund at the Kalamazoo Community Foundation
We are excited about moving forward on our priorities for 2023: civic engagement and voting rights, projects aimed at energy efficiency and alternative energy, and building community connections through shared experiences and events.
Please join us! We welcome your involvement and your financial support.
With hope for creation now and in the year to come,
Coordinator, Hope for Creation