GOOD TIDINGS NEWSLETTER
EARTH-SPIRIT-ACTION TEAM (ESA), ST MATTHEW’S UNITED CHURCH NO.10, MARCH 27, 2022
EDITORIAL Margaret C Machum
There is so much going on in the world right now that it is difficult to keep abreast of all the
change. With the COVID pandemic reaching the two-year mark and with variants still affecting
the way we need to live, we are now witnessing a horrible situation in Ukraine, a situation
which is ugly, scary, and devastating.
Yet, as we watch the menacing actions of an oligarch, we are also seeing so much of the world
unite in support of Ukraine, and the preservation of democracy.
We are at a crossroads. As the world finds ways to topple the oligarchy, we also realize the
urgent need to to rid ourselves of our dependence on oil. The war in Ukraine and the push to
net zero to mitigate climate change are intermingling.
St Matthew’s ESA Group, through our Newsletter, bring you ideas, challenges, and ways of
doing and being to help you find your way through. In this issue we have a book review by
Anne Marie Dalton, a webinar review by Margaret Machum, suggested actions compiled by
Margaret Sagar, challenges during Lent provided by Elaine Murray and Anne Marie, an
interview with Ian Austen in our Greening St Matthew’s series, and another vegetarian recipe,
I hope that you find this Newsletter and its contents helpful.
BOOK REVIEW Anne Marie Dalton
“The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak of many things.”
And one of these is climate change! Environmental NGO’s, environmental organizations,
businesses, and, yes, Churches are asking the question these days, “Where do we go from
here?” Are we merely talking to the converted around climate change? What happens to the
endless numbers of petitions we send to political leaders? Are our advocacy efforts for
effective solutions, critical policies, and emergency measures really getting any traction? Is
there any hope at all of reducing the most serious effects of climate change for ourselves and
for future generations? More and more, the word ‘conversation’ is showing up in the literature
addressing these questions.
Much of the literature is talking about techniques for setting up conversation groups or for a
conversation, both formal (public or within established networks) and informal (church or
student groups, for example). See our Good Tidings, No.5 for a short description of the Love of
Creation program. There is also considerable and growing mention of the ordinary
conversations we have with our family and friends, day to day, in person, by phone, or other
social media. Simple, it seems, but quite difficult, in fact!
In her recent book, Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Hope for Healing in a Divided World (2020),
Katherine Hayhoe acknowledges the difficulty of certain conversations. In her words she is
writing “For everyone who believes that the difficult issues in life are worth talking about”. As
Canadians, we have long been aware that mentioning either money or sex is bound to stop any
conversation mid-sentence! Now, it seems, we can add to that: masks, vaccines, and climate
change. Hayhoe offers some tips for those of us concerned to try. Some things that do not
work include: 1. Conjuring fear or guilt; these emotions cause us to shut down emotionally
fairly quickly; 2. Trying to impose our value system on to someone else; 3, Assuming a ‘more
knowledgeable than thou’ attitude. She offers examples of her own experience of both success
and failure. Some things that do work include: 1. Starting with a known shared value or activity
(cost saving, love of neighbour, health, or gardening, hiking, camping, knitting, cooking) to
name a few; 2. Ignore the dismissive, those who deny there is climate change at all or see it as
naturally caused - only 7% of Americans and 3% of UK citizens constitute this group; 3. Be
aware of how climate change or care for creation fits more than one value system, you do not
have to be a left winger!
The David Suzuki Foundation offers a list of common ground items that are useful in starting
conversations on climate change: future for our children, preparing for weird weather impacts,
healthy lifestyle, well-paying and rewarding jobs in a changing world, and enjoyment of nature.
conversations/). This website also offers a ‘cheat sheet’ circular graphic of five steps in a good
conversation on difficult topics developed by Karin Tamerius of Smart Politics: ASK LISTEN
REFLECT AGREE SHARE and repeat for as long as the conversation lasts.
Kate Isaac of the Mennonite Brethren Forum also offers a very good account of bringing
together two passions of hers, “love of God and love of nature”. She uses her own experience
to demonstrate how ‘authenticity and respect’ can lay grounds for fruitful talk about climate
change in her article, “Starting and Sustaining Creation Care Conversations”. She shows how
reframing (theological, ecological, and political) is necessary and effective in broadening our
understanding of Christian responsibility.
All of these writings on the importance of talking to each other about climate change and other
difficult topics emphasize the critical importance of inspiring hope. As Hayho writes, “Real
hope doesn’t usually come knocking on the door of our brains uninvited ... If we want to find it,
we have to roll up our sleeves and go out and look for it. If we do, the chances are we’ll find it.
And then we have to practice it”. Talking may not be enough, but it is a good place to start.
WEBINAR Margaret C Machum
For the Love of Creation: Fall Symposium
I attended this webinar organized by the United, Anglican, Roman Catholic, Quaker, and
Jewish faith denominations. There were several speakers with Willard Metzger acting as the
Patricia Walsh’s talk Take A Sacred Pause was based on the book of the same name which is a
brief guide for reflecting and connecting with creation. She spoke about the SACRED with the
words Sense, Appreciate, Connect, Respect, Express, Delight, all of which are so important to
protect Creation. This resource is available on the For the Love of Creation website.
Other speakers included Sabrina Di Matteo who talked about Self-care as Creation Care,
offering prayerful mediations about the land and the outdoors; Kylah Lohnes whose topic
Creation, Climate, and You gave information on how to turn concern into action to build a
Several speakers from KAIROS emphasized that we can no longer rely on the continuation of
creation and encouraged us to join Communities for Climate Justice and act now to help
transform hearts and minds and to make change by political means.
Questions asked were ‘What would help you personally to deepen your leadership in climate
action?’; ‘What do you think your faith community needs to deepen its climate action?’; and
‘Will you as a group host a Faithful Climate Conversation for your friends and neighbours?’
The Symposium was well worth attending. In addition to the speakers, there were small group
sessions to encourage discussion and enhance learning more about how to protect Creation.
Challenges for Lent Anne Marie Dalton and Elaine Murray
1. Reduce compost and create a healthy vegetable broth:
Keep the peels from your vegetables in a plastic bag in your freezer. Once you have enough
quantity, simmer the peels for an hour. Strain and store the broth in containers in your freezer
for making soups or stews. Some could be placed in ice cube trays to add to gravies and
2. Help save our forests and reduce chemical pollution:
Purchase bamboo toilet paper, as bamboo grows quickly and is sustainable Doing so protects
trees. It is available in local grocery stores packaged in a box with no plastic.
3. Start a conversation with a friend or family member about caring for God’s Creation. Centre
the time on a common interest such as bird watching, walks in nature, gardening, or eating.
ACTION Margaret Sagar
Petition to Stop Funding Carbon Capture
Instead of funding real climate solutions like wind and solar, the Canadian government is
funding fossil fuel companies for carbon capture and storage (CCS). Such taxpayer-funded
carbon-capture plants emit more emissions that they are capturing. Let’s hit the brakes on
these greenwashing tactics. Write to your MP to protest this funding or add your name to the
petition at https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/don't-give-big-oil-a-50-billion-lifeline.
Leadnow: Thousands of Leadnow members, climate experts, and local community leaders
have spoken out about the Bay du Nord project off the coast of Newfoundland, a fossil fuel
project, which is to be located in a rich bio-diversity area of the ocean. The federal
governments approval would push back climate goals and lock us into further climate
destruction. People power is working as the decision is now delayed. Send a message to
Minister of Environment Stephen Guilbeault and other key cabinet ministers to ramp up the
pressure to block this climate-wrecking project and to encourage investment in sustainable
Greening St Matthew’s Margaret Machum
I interviewed Ian Austen, a member of the Stewards’ Property Committee for his thoughts on
how to achieve net zero at St Matthew’s. Ian began by saying that greening is about the
building rather than the mission. Right now, he is working on keeping St Matthew’s safe. Work
will begin this Spring on fixing the stained glass windows, adding plexiglass to block air flow
and make the windows more energy efficient; adding flashing to the gym roof to stop the
leaking; add eavestroughs to control the flow of water off the roof; repair the brickwork on the
walls; and recover the buttresses. Assuming that we are going to stay at this site, further
projects could involve adding solar panels to either the roof of the Sanctuary or that of the Hall.
Any work that the church is doing now should ensure that it does not have a negative effect on
the solar project. The present three-stage plan should prepare the building for the future by
working towards the goal of making things greener. These efforts will cost a lot of money as the
present technologies are expensive but we can keep such efforts in mind as we move forward.
With thanks to Ian for his time and thoughts.
RECIPES Margaret Machum
Quinoa with Roasted Butternut Squash
Makes 6-8 servings. Preparation time: 25 minutes; Cooking time: 16 minutes
1.5 lb Butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
2 Tbs oil
1.3 lb onions, chopped and caramelized
2.25 lb quinoa, cooked
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 green pepper, diced
pinch sea salt
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp paprika
2/3 cup cider vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Toss the squash cubes in a large bowl with the oil; sprinkle with salt.
3. Roast in oven for 16 minutes, or until soft. Let cool.
4. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions by cooking very slowly over low heat in a frying pan with a
little oil until a rich, brown colour.
5. Cook quinoa.
5. Make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients and whisk together well.
6. Put squash and remaining ingredients (except the dressing) in a large salad bowl and gently
4. Add the dressing and toss gently.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The Creation Story
There was a “woman with a garden and a tree. But for tasting the fruit, she was banished from
the garden ... to wander in the wilderness. - In order to eat, she was instructed to subdue the
wilderness into which she was cast.” From Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
“It’s a story about how humans lost their innocence ... it’s a story about how God,...moved
toward creation while giving people the freedom to make choices”. From Wholehearted Faith
by Rachel Held Evans.