Good Tidings           
The Earth, Spirit, Action Team (ESA) Newsletter
St. Matthew’s United Church   
July, 2022                                      _________No.13_____   

Season of Pentecost – All Things made New.
“And the one who was seated on the throne said ‘See, I am making all things new. It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.’ ”Rev. 21: 5-6
Welcome to the thirteenth issue of Good Tidings. This newsletter attempts to provide information on local and global environmental and climate change issues; suggestions for personal and political actions to build a healthy planet; information about petitions, symposiums, and resources from other environment and climate change groups; and links to worship and prayer opportunities.  We are glad to hear from you at

Welcome to Good Tidings in Pentecost Season. Once again, our focus is on living in harmony with Creation by what we do as individuals, church, city and country. Pentecost reminds us that as God’s Spirit (that mighty wind) created the world, God’s Spirit is working presently to make all things new, breathing life and power into us to live in peace with Creation.
We begin this Pentecost Summer Issue once again with another of Gordon Murray’s evocative Prayerpoems, Breath. Gordon, a retired Minister, Choir member, and friend of St. Matthew’s has recently published Sage a collection of Prayerpoems. (Sage© GORDON S. MURRAY, Limited Edition 2018, ETC Press, Halifax, NS.) We will conclude this issue with Transfiguration, testimony to God’s inbreaking activity to transform and infuse our ordinary lives, ordinary moments, ordinary places, with the extraordinary and eternity, as our groans becomes “joyful halleluiahs”. 

Genesis 2:7…then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground,[a] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.    John 20:22    When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  

Breath --

I swim
  in a vast sea
of air
Breath -
Spirit -
God's Self
Love's delight

I receive You
cooling into my nostrils
    my throat
        my lungs
into my Being
    this earthy shell
with Life!
Things are happening At St. Matthew’s!
Since our last issue, exciting things have been happening at St. Matthew’s.  The “Imagine St Matt’s Legacy Task Group One Report” was presented and discussed at the Congregational Meeting Thurs. June 16th. The report stated there were “expressions of interest” from 16 parties in collaborating in the redevelopment of our property. Task Group One categorized these expressions into three groups; Builders, (we’d like a building and we can build it); Imaginers, (we’d like a building); and Partners, (we’d like to live inside this building). Task Group One stated that three critical issues need to be determined as the process moves ahead:  “Who Pays, Who Builds, and Who Runs,” and “In all three cases the answer has to be: Not Us. ” The Task Group stated further that “Who Runs” the project must be solved first. The Congregational Meeting voted to create Task Group Two to discuss these issues with potential collaborators and to report back to the Official Board by early October. The Board will recruit members for Task Group Two with the possibility of including Task Group One members who wish to carry on. We offer our thanks to Task Group One members who contributed their time and effort to this preliminary work on the Legacy project.

Energy Audit Update We learned at the Congregational Meeting that the Property Committee had received the Energy Audit from Tate Engineering just a couple of days prior to the Meeting.  The Committee had not yet had time to digest the report nor to prioritize recommended upgrades with their attendant costs. 

Tate Engineering made these observations: 

This report will help St. Matthews United Church in determining pathways to reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions. A comprehensive energy assessment was undertaken to determine the energy use profile of the existing facility and present recommendations for energy-efficient upgrades.
The facility has an energy use intensity (EUI) of 1.07 GJ/m2 , (gigajoules) which lies well above the maximum range of EUI for religious buildings across Canada. With this information, it would be realistic to set an energy use reduction target of at least 50% to bring it well below the minimum performance of 0.32 GJ/ m2 . If all the recommendations presented are implemented (excluding the Solar PV system) the EUI could be reduced to 0.29 GJ/m2 . The main areas of focus in this study were heating systems, lighting, and building envelope.
To determine how well a building compares to other similar buildings, we look at the energy use intensity (EUI) as a benchmark. First, the energy units must be converted to a common unit, in this case, Gigajoules (GJ). For religious buildings across Canada the EUI ranges between 0.32 GJ/m2 and 0.64 GJ/m2.  St. Mathews United Church has a EUI of 1.07 GJ/m2 . This demonstrates a great opportunity to improve energy efficiency at this site to bring it down to well below the average EUI value. If all the upgrades mentioned in the proposed measures are implemented  St. Mathews United Church can reduce EUI to 0.29 GJ/m2 with an estimated energy savings of up to 71%, energy cost savings of 48.5% and Green House Gas reductions of 10.7%.   (This paragraph edited)

When a congregational member questioned whether work on upgrades would have to wait for another year’s budget, an opinion was expressed that some upgrade costs were already provided for in the 2022-2023 budget which the Meeting had just passed. Going forward, the Property Committee will study and prioritize the energy audit’s recommendations, and the Stewards will consider and manage costs of implementing the upgrade recommendations.  

The Energy Audit was initiated through a   collaboration of the Property Committee and the Earth Spirit Action Team to ask the  Official Board to undertake and approve the cost of an Energy Audit. The Board gave its approval. As implementation of its recommendations proceeds, we hope St. Matt’s will reduce its carbon imprint, save energy with a more energy efficient facility, and save on operating costs each year.
From Margaret’s Kitchen
Spinach Salad with Fruit and Avocado.  Makes 2-4 servings; preparation time:10 minutes; cooking time:0 minutes

6 cups    spinach 

1     grapefruit, peeled and sectioned

1     orange, peeled and sectioned

1     avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

sesame seeds toasted, salt, and pepper

Makes 1 ⅓ cups
1     garlic clove, peeled

¼    cup orange juice

2    tbs lemon juice

1     shallot, minced

⅔   cup vegetable oil

1.    Mix salad ingredients together.
2.    For dressing, mash garlic clove in small bowl.
3.    Add juices and shallot and whisk until well blended.
4.    Add oil in slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.
5.    Taste and add seasonings as needed.
6.    Pour over mixed salad ingredients and serve.

Thanks once again, Margaret.

Protect Hartlen Point in Eastern Passage – Petition  (from Protect Hartlen  Point)                                                                                                                                 In January 2021 The Department of National Defence (DND) sought public input to help inform whether a Weapons System Testing Facility at Hartlen Point, Eastern Passage, was likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. As it was only announced on the Government of Canada website, this public consultation attracted zero participants and zero comments. This session was not adequately delivered nor was a fair chance for input given.  News of this shocked many including nearby residential community members, the Nova Scotia Birding Society, local hikers, surfers, and others who demand responsible coastal development in Nova Scotia. 

Dog walkers and hikers frequent the area’s shoreline trails, surfers regularly coast the waves, and a vibrant lobster fishery takes place 100 meters offshore. Bird watchers agree the point is the #1 birding location in Nova Scotia and 15th best in North America, attracting enthusiasts from prominent international locations. 
As clearly stated by DND, the 9000ms weapons system testing facility will emit high powered radio frequencies that pose significant risk to humans, birds, and wildlife that are within the broad range of emissions. There are significant other concerns. 

What we (Protect Hartlen Point) want:

A proper environmental impact assessment

Proper consideration of another site such as Osborne  Head.

Honest and transparent communication with outreach to every household in the community of Eastern Passage.                   

Access to the full reports that have been done on the area.                                                                                    

Total cooperation with experts to maintain the crucial ecosystem.

For more information or petition:
A Petition by David Suzuki Foundation to the Federal Government to strengthen the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by passing Bill S-5.  Environmental exposures to toxics and pollution take a constant toll on human health, contributing to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes, cancer and other chronic conditions. We can reduce the environmental burden of disease by strengthening CEPA to improve control of toxic substances and protect the human right to a healthy environment.  Go to:

The Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace is calling on citizens to sign a petition urging Canada to sign on to the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. You can sign a petition to the Canadian Gov’t. by going to

Canadian Council of Churches and Citizens for Public Justice call on citizens to sign a House of Commons Petition urging the Government to begin negotiation with PEI for the development and implementation of a Guaranteed Livable Income project for PEI.  For information, go to:

United Church supports Canadian Network on Corporate Responsibility call on Canada to adopt legislation that would make the obligation to prevent human rights violations legally binding for Canadian companies operating overseas.  For more information and petition go to:

A Climate of Hope: Faith Communities Confront the Climate Emergency -A Pre- conference discussion.  This Conference sponsored by the Ecology Action Center has been postponed until the fall but a pre-conference webinar video is available at:
Just a brief note to let our readers know that in a recent reporting for the Annual Meeting of Regional Council on what local Congregations are doing on the issue of climate change and the environment, St. Matts appeared to be among Churches that had been quite active in the past couple of years. Way da go St. Matts!  
Interview with April Hennigar on the Legacy Project Task Group One Report.
GT Q:  April, you were on the Legacy Project Task Group One tasked with receiving and analyzing proposals from parties interested in collaborating with St. Matt’s in developing a new facility on our property “for the good of the community”.   What was the experience like to work on the Legacy Task Group One?   
April:  Well it was an inspiring experience.  I viewed it as an exercise in faith, an opportunity for St. Matthew’s to continue to reach out into the community, and Betsy has inspired me with her great vision of ministry to the community. So it was exciting for me and for the Task Group.  We didn’t know what to expect as we invited the community to share their ideas, it was an exercise in testing the waters looking for what might be possible, but we were motivated to continue St. Matthew’s ministry and presence in the community in a sustainable way. 

GT Q:   What was your read of the 16 “expressions of interest” that you received from a variety of community entities? 
April: There were a variety of quality expressions.  Many groups were aware of St. Matthew’s work on social justice issues, its community programs, its support for the arts, and were appreciative of what St. Matthew’s does. All sorts of groups and people including current and potential partners, developers, and members of the congregation, hoped we would continue to do what we are doing. There were affirmations about both the presence of our Sanctuary in the downtown, and our presence in ministry. People understood that we are trying to find a way to live into the future in sustainable ways and they did not want us to tear down the building and disappear. 

GT Q:  Were you in contact with other churches that had also looked at similar development projects?
April:   Yes, we contacted other congregations trying to do something with their buildings and had a number of meetings and phone calls with other churches and individuals who had some experience we thought we could learn from.  

GT Q:  Going into this, did you have some ideas of your own about the kind of Legacy Project that might be needed or might develop, and were some “expressions of interest” similar to those ideas?  Did other “expressions” stretch or enlarge your own ideas/hopes for what might be possible?     
April:   My concern was for affordable housing with creative use of common space. I mean really affordable ‘at risk housing’ addressing the needs of people with accessibility issues, perhaps those who need shelter from abusive relationships, the disadvantaged.  There are a number of possible collaborators in that area.   
But various suggestions surprised me with the variety and potential for a multi- faceted use of space. There is more potential than I thought going in, not simply for housing but for a multi-faceted facility involving several community groups or services. We are at the brainstorming stage and don’t yet know what we don’t know. What do we need to know as we proceed?    Who are the people with whom we could move forward? We can’t do this alone. We aren’t yet at the point where we can figure out what might work.

GT Q:  What excites you about the possibilities of this Legacy Project and St. Matt’s contribution to the community? What excites you about future possibilities for St. Matt’s ministry to the city core?
April: What excites me about this Legacy Project is that St. Matthew’s will be able to serve and give back to our community on a 24/7 basis. What excites me is the prospect of building a facility for a purpose around the heart of St. Matthew’s, that comes from the heart of St. Matthew’s, that supports our “open door, open heart , open hand” faith that accomplishes more with the building and space that is ours. With the right partners we could do so much more.  

GT Q:  As you know, the Earth Spirit Action Team wants St. Matthew’s to live as green as possible to reduce our carbon imprint and combat climate change. In this Legacy Project, do you think building and redeveloping buildings to the highest green standards, including technology and materials, will be an important part of the discussion and strategy as we move forward with a potential partner?
April:   Sustainability is critical. This Legacy Project is about creating something that is sustainable, from the point of view of our financial and human resources, and from an environmental perspective. So along with our partners, as the process continues, we will focus more on criteria that makes a green statement so that our facility is an example to the community for the future.  Some of those who made detailed submissions really understood this. Some potential partners have already had experience with developments focused on green standards. And as we approach discussions with potential partners and developers we can be clear about our conviction that we want this development to be a green statement.  We believe there is opportunity to negotiate and we have the time and resources to find the best match. 
Defining what you are going to build can be the tricky part. What are the absolute critical things we want, and what are the thigs that would be nice to have?  We have a concept of what might be possible but now we have to flesh it out.   

GT:    April, thanks so much for your thoughts, insights, and time, and thanks to Task Force One for your work and detailed report. Best wishes to Task Group Two as it carries on discussions with potential partners.            

Matthew 17:2    And he was transfigured before them...    

Ordinary time!
Likely tomorrow.

Nothing special!
Much the same!
As yesterday
   and the day before.

like an explosion in the heavens
life is transformed
You break in
and we are changed.

An angel visit 
    and the Holy Spirit comes.
The grey 
    becomes colourful
the flat
    three dimensional
the empty
the lost
The desert blossoms
and the ordinary 
    becomes extraordinary.

    and yet, 
You grace this flesh 
       and we are born again.
You bless this earth
       and it bears fruit.
You fill time
       and it becomes eternity.

Nothing is!

      And yet, everything is.

You make our cities
Our feeble groans
        joyful halleluiahs
Our Good Fridays
our now
our earth
    Your heaven.

all is changed again.
Heaven's bright Gloria is silenced
    blinding light 
    fades to black
the transformed moment 
    is ordinary again.
The costumes of the common
    are no longer the King's clothes
           the garments 
           no longer glisten.
The mist dissipates.
The cloud is no more.
We become ourselves again.
    becomes as yesterday
    and likely tomorrow 
        will follow suit.

How do we live
when once we tasted eternity?
    touched the invisible?
        handled things unseen?

We wait!
We long!
    once again
    fill our sky
and stars 
    shine more brightly
and the distance 
    heaven and earth
    eternity and now
is just a little bit closer.

Until such time
    extraordinary time
we remember
and live 
like heaven 
is still 
    happening all around us.

    Thanks once again Gordon.

The Earth Spirit Action Team at St. Matthews wishes all the friends of St. Matthew’s, and all the readers of Good Tidings a refreshing, renewing summer. Please mark the “Climate of Hope Conference” in early October on your calendar.