History of Hope for Creation
Hope for Creation’s faith-based focus on sustainability and climate action began in 2014, when clergy and lay leaders from the Bronson Park churches, Kalamazoo College Chapel, Temple B’nai Israel, and Sisters of St. Joseph organized a collaborative Lenten series. Over four weeks, approximately 150 people gathered on Monday evenings to participate in “Hope for Creation: Faith and Action,” learning how climate change is affecting Michigan and how other U.S. communities are responding to extreme temperatures, storms, flooding, public health issues and seasonal weather pattern changes.
After this series, a planning team took responsibility for continuing to organize one or two large events each year to educate members of the faith community about climate change issues and potential actions. These events, for which attendance ranged from 60 to 100, included speakers such as Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica, who explained why climate change is an issue where conservatives and liberals can find common ground. An event called Climate Ready Kalamazoo brought sustainability planners from Ann Arbor and Traverse City to meet with Kalamazoo city staff in the afternoon, followed by an evening presentation to educate the community about municipal climate action planning.
By 2019, the all-volunteer effort was ready to solidify its status. Hope for Creation became the Southwest Michigan Chapter of Michigan Interfaith Power & Light and hired its first paid staff member, thanks to a grant from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation's Love Where You Live Environment Fund.
Among the founders of Hope for Creation is Sister Ginny Jones, of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Sister Ginny has made a lasting impact on the environmental movement in our region, and we are grateful for all she has done for Hope for Creation over the years.