Faiths Find Common Cause in Environmental Concerns in Cornwall Ontario – February 15, 2012

Kathryn Guindon, Barbara Helms, & John Towndrow

CFN – So, what do the Messiah, the Day of Judgment and the environment have in common?


Well, it seems that a Jewish contemporary of Jesus advised: “If you are planting a tree and you hear that Messiah has come, finish planting the tree, then go and inquire.” Then, some 600 years later, Muhammad reportedly said: “If the Day of Judgment erupts while you are planting a new tree, go ahead and plant it.”

These were just two of the “pearls” of wisdom shared by participants at the Greening Sacred Spaces event held in the beautiful library space at Cornwall’s Central Public School last Sunday.


Organized by Transition Cornwall+, the Cornwall Interfaith Partnership and the national Greening Sacred Spaces initiative, the event attracted close to 50 people to explore the question: What does it mean to care for the earth within the context of our spiritual beliefs.”


This discussion was facilitated by Kathryn Guindon, Greening Sacred Space’s program officer for Eastern Ontario.


She guided participants through four themes in either plenary session or small group workshops:

  • ·         Is climate change a moral issue?
  • ·         Is there a part of the natural world that you feel strongly connected to?
  • ·         How does your concern for nature interact with your faith?”
  • ·         How ‘green’ is your faith community right now?”


Guindon said that she was very impressed by the turnout in Cornwall, which was larger than what she usually receives in Ottawa.

John Towndrow, one of the event organizers, said he found the cooperation and collaboration between the three organizing groups “very rich” and was struck by the age and religious diversity of those attending (Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Bahá’í), particularly many Muslim youth and children.


He has subsequently learned that one of his friends who could not attend Sunday’s event has set up a meeting with her pastor ”to talk about establishing a Green Team” at her church, which was precisely one of the event’s objectives.



Transition Cornwall+: John Towndrow (613-938-8459)

Cornwall Interfaith Partnership: Barbara Helms (613-938-5410)

Greening Sacred Spaces: Kathryn Guindon

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