Monday, August 15, 2016

Emerging parish ‘green teams’ share progress and challenges

Parish ‘green teams’ designed to help Catholics walk the talk of Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical have taken root if not yet sprouted at a dozen parishes in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Members of the nascent green teams came together on July 30 at St. Teresa of Avila Parish in San Francisco to share progress, aspirations and obstacles during a “green team workshop” led by members of the parish’s own green team. The archdiocese encouraged laity to “be the driving force” in forming a parish response to the imperatives of “Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home” at an April 23 conference organized at the behest of Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone. He and an overflow crowd of 100 pastors, parishioners and staff at St. Anne of the Sunset parish hall collectively unpacked the pope’s historic messages. “Pope Francis weaves together the need to respond to the environmental crisis, the economic inequities that create an ever-widening gulf between the rich and the poor, and the underlying spiritual hunger felt by so many today,” the archbishop said in his opening remarks. “I really believe that this is a cause that can unite us all no matter where you are on the political or the church spectrum.” “Today is meant to be a chance for us to connect with each other about our intentions,” said Stephen Miller, chair of the St. Teresa of Avila Parish green team. He and Carmelite pastor Father Mike Greenwell and parishioner Gail Kendall have become the public face of the archdiocesan initiative, sharing their experience and knowledge at both conferences. Miller, who works as deputy director for a Marin County nonprofit that shapes environmentally-responsible communities, and Kendall, an MIT-educated professor of mechanical engineering, joined the parish’s longtime efforts which were ‘green’ long before green was a thing, according to Father Greenwell...more

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