For seven months now, a group of 20 people, give or take a few, have been practicing Sacred Wandering at Thatcher Woods, the third Saturday of each month. We start with some community-building conversation, a standing meditation, and then we walk slowly to our first meditation spot where we sit for about 15 minutes, focusing on the nature surrounding us.
Practicing self-care is essential in 2018. It’s been a year of soul-crushing news about the climate, the state of our democracy, and #metoo. If you enjoy walking, you might try forest therapy. Called forest bathing (shinrin yoku) by the Japanese, this beautiful practice combines mindfulness and a slow stroll in nature, under the direction of a certified guide, often in the company of others.
Join us as we explore meditation-in-nature with SacredWandering. Simplicity and reverence will be our guides. Join Terry Kinsey and me as we explore a new way of experiencing nature - the Sacred Wandering Way. If you yearn to be rooted down with earth's healing power, join us. Throughout the millennia, people have gone to the forests and mountains to connect with themselves and the sacred in themselves. Ascetics, monks, indigenous people, Thoreau, Buddha and even Christ went out into the wilderness to practice a form of SacredWandering. We will move slowly through the out-of-doors with an intention to connect with nature's healing power. There will be silence and discussion. The group will meet no matter what the weather so come prepared and bring something to sit upon.
In celebration of Earth Day Weekend on April 21-22, Interfaith Green Network Congregations are encouraging residents to leave the cars home and to bike or walk from place to place. The goal is to get 1,000 people to participate in biking and walking around town to raise awareness of efforts we can all take to improve the environment in our community. Residents can indicate their intent to walk or ride here: tinyurl.com/y7ytr8tz
Solar energy deployment is getting super charged on Chicago’s near west side, thanks to a community-based program called PlanItGreen: Solar in Your Community. The program is developing a pipeline of community solar projects to meet the renewable energy goal in Oak Park and River Forest’s PlanItGreen sustainability plan: achieve 25% renewable energy procurement by 2020.
“Visitors loved seeing the goldfinches on the anise hyssop and cup plants, the monarchs landing on the swamp milkweed and bumblebees everywhere. There were literally ‘oohs and ahs,’” says garden host Adrian Fisher. With Mother Nature’s cooperation, the Interfaith Green Network, Green Community Connections and West Cook Wild Ones hosted a successful “Birds, Bees & Butterflies: A Native Garden Tour” in Oak Park and River Forest on August 6.
The Village of Oak Park has unanimously passed an ordinance requiring stores over 5000 square feet to charge 10¢ a single-use bag. The new rule goes into effect on January 1, 2018, and will apply to both paper and plastic bags. The new 10¢ fee will be evenly split between the retailer and the Village, with the Village’s share earmarked for “environmental sustainability initiatives” which have yet to be named.
As I left church a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a huge base of a tree trunk on the parkway of our church property. I felt a mix of surprise, anger and sadness. Clearly it was a very large tree that I hadn’t really paid much attention to. In the coming weeks, I started seeing more signs of other trees that had been cut down. These images of previously large, beautiful trees that had stood for years, now shaved off at the ground haunted me, and I wanted to know more.
Area congregations have demonstrated that they can make significant contributions to community sustainability through their facilities and operations including installation of geothermal and solar systems, energy efficiency retrofits, native and edible gardens, and zero waste programs, as well as advocacy for sustainable policies.
“Growing Children’s Interest in Science for the Sake of Creation”
A workshop designed for school teachers, religious education teachers and parents will be held at Euclid Ave United Methodist Church, Wesley Hall, Saturday, April 30, 2016, 1-4pm. The workshop is free & open to the public.
This presentation will include discussion on how Oak Park and River Forest schools and congregations can install their own native plant/butterfly gardens and be a part of the “Wild Ones 200” Native Garden Corridor in Oak Park and River Forest. Learn how to get involved, what support Wild Ones will provide and when and how to get started. Learn about native plants and why they are so valuable in designed landscapes, and how they benefit institutions and the broader community.
John Boehner, the Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, is a devout Catholic. He has invited the last three Popes to address a joint session of Congress, and his longstanding wish has now been fulfilled. Pope Francis accepted Speaker Boehner’s invitation, and will visit the Capitol to address a joint session on the morning of September 24th.
In his encyclical letter, Laudato Si’, Pope Francis challenges all of us to reflect upon the impacts of our lifestyle choices and of public policy decisions on both the natural world and the social environment:
“I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”
In June, Pope Francis released an almost 200-page encyclical, or circulated letter, with a decidedly green focus titled Laudato Si’ or Be Praised. For all those fighting climate change, this was cause for celebration as well as time for reflection. Below, local sustainability leaders of faith—Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant—express how this encyclical will impact their lives, practically and spiritually. Pamela Todd, member of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest Gina Orlando, member of Ascension Catholic Parish in Oak Park Margot McMahon, member of St. Giles Catholic Parish in Oak Park Cynthia Klein-Banai, member of West Suburban Temple Har Zion in River Forest Richard Alton, member of Euclid Avenue Methodist Church in Oak Park.
To renew and deepen the commitment of the faith community to care for God’s creation, Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church in Oak Park will host an “Earth Revival” weekend. Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, senior pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, will be the guest speaker focusing on “Love God, Live Greenand Liberate All” from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 1. The community is invited to join in this energizing and inspiring program followed by refreshments and conversation.