Community Missions of Niagara Frontier Inc. and St. James United Methodist Church in Niagara Falls are presenting the final community event at the Gardens of Compassion on Wednesday, Aug. 31. "Is Christianity Good News for the Environment" will be held from 7-8 p.m. at St. James UMC, 4661 Porter Road, Niagara Falls. The event is free and open to the public.
This presentation and conversation will be led by the Rev. Daven Oskvig, adjunct professor in Canisius College's department of religious studies, and senior pastor at Kenmore United Methodist Church.
"Is Christianity Good News for the Environment?" looks at society's increasing concern for the environment and how faith traditions provide a moral compass for life and living, yet often fail to respond to the responsibility to care for creation.
"The questions we need to ask are, what does the Christian tradition have to say on environmental matters, and if it does have something to say about caring for the environment, are we listening and applying what the tradition does say?" Oskvig said.
St. James UMC pastor the Rev. Matt Kofahl said, "Among the many issues our society faces, our responsibility to care for the Earth is critical. Along with Community Missions, our partner in the Gardens of Compassion initiative, we hope that this presentation can be a conversation starter for churches, families and the whole community."
The Gardens of Compassion initiative is a unique community garden created in partnership between Community Missions and St. James UMC. It has the three basic goals: producing food for those in need, addressing the alleged stigma associated with mental illness, and learning about one's responsibility to care for creation.
The volunteer base for the gardens is comprised of individuals who participate in Community Missions' many programs for adults with mental illness, as well as parishioners at St. James UMC, Hope UMC of Niagara County, and members from the general community.
The food grown at the gardens is used in Community Missions' community soup kitchen and Niagara Visions PROS, one of its mental health recovery programs. Volunteer gardeners also share in the fruits of their labor at the gardens.
For more information about the Gardens of Compassion, individuals can visit the Community Missions website at www.CommunityMissions.org/gardens or contact the Rev. Mark Breese at 716-258-3403, ext. 2259.