Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress Roxanna Froese, her daughter Ruby, and Diaconal Ministries’ Rachel Vroege are helping to organize Creation Care on April 7 at Broadway MB Church.

Creation Care in Chilliwack to harness the power of local churches

Encouraging environmental stewardship rooted in faith is what creation care is all about.

Encouraging an ethos of environmental stewardship rooted in faith is what “creation care” is all about.

Stewards from the Chilliwack faith community have come together around this idea to hold a special event on April 7, said Rachel Vroege, Regional Ministry Developer for Western Canada Diaconal Ministries Canada.

“Those of us organizing this event feel that creation care is central to our faith,” Vroege said. “It is rooted in the idea of ‘shalom’ or fostering peace, by having a right relationship with God, with others, with ourselves and with creation. So if we are hurting creation in some way, we are not stewarding the environment, and not bringing about peace.”

The notion of caring from a faith perspective takes a multi-denominational approach and all are welcome to attend.

“My specific job is to coax and equip churches to engage in justice, mercy and community outreach,” said Vroege.

One place to start for groups is to start asking how green is the church’s practice, she said, and looking for ways to engage congregations in local projects.

Vroege found out how much fun a riverside cleanup could be, and has been to several of the community events over the years.

In fact, many churchgoers are already participating individually, showing up to the many garbage cleanups, slough revitalization efforts, trail-building, and more events held in Chilliwack.

“We feel the church should be a leader in this area, but the reality is that it is mostly left to individuals, not groups.”

Organizers set their sights on addressing this deficiency by helping to make connections on a grander scale. It’s about harnessing and focusing the care and concern that is already out there.

“There are these great community events out there, so the question is how to get church people involved and excited about participating?” she asked.

Volunteers are always needed by the Chilliwack Park Society, Save Our Slough initiative, and the Chilliwack-Vedder Cleanup Coalition as examples.

Roxanna Froese who started the Save Our Slough initiative with her son to explore the possibility of slough restoration in Chilliwack, has also encouraged all of her children to get involved as stewards, whether it’s collecting trash by the slough or trail-building in the Chilliwack Community Forest.

Her kids will often roll up their sleeves and help too, making it a family-friendly activity, Froese said.

“Caring for the environment as stewards of the earth, is a natural part of our faith,” said Froese. “We hope with this event to give the faith community ideas on how to care for creation locally in our beautiful city.”

Creation Care is set for April 7, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Broadway MB Church. There will be engaging speakers like Nikki Rekman of the Chilliwack-Vedder Cleanup Society and Marc Greidanus of the Chilliwack Park Society, information about local opportunities, and an urban garbage cleanup.

For more details on the event email rvroege@crcna.org

READ MORE: Churches and homelessness


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