Stewardship and reverence for creation are central tenets of all faiths. The Interfaith Working Group of the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition (FCAC) seeks to work together with faith communities in Fairbanks to find ways to engage the power of faith as a pathway to care for vulnerable people and the Earth in support of a more just, equitable, and sustainable community and world.

During this past year, members of the Interfaith Working Group contacted representatives of 22 different faith communities in Fairbanks to learn how they are responding to the needs of the Fairbanks community. This summer, eight of these faith communities initiated projects to support stewardship and care for the earth and vulnerable people, supported in part by mini-grants from the Interfaith Working Group. These projects include ways that each congregation plans to make their buildings more energy efficient and serve the wider community. Other Fairbanks congregations with similar stewardship activities and concerns are also becoming engaged in this FCAC interfaith collaboration. The funds were made possible by a grant from Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement (PACE) , a national nonprofit group that selected the Fairbanks FCAC program as one of five programs around the country that engage faith groups in support of their visions of a more resilient and equitable civic life in their communities. This program will continue to bring Fairbanks faith groups together to collaborate and learn from one another in the coming year.

The faith communities whose projects were funded include the following:

• Chena Ridge Friends Meeting/Hidden Hill Friends Center is installing a water catchment system to recycle rainwater for a less energy-demanding retreat-like setting to support community groups.

• Corinthian Baptist Church is installing more energy-efficient windows to reduce energy use as they reach out and support the Fairbanks community.

• Fairbanks Lutheran Church will build raised beds for their new community garden as a way to socialize through a service project that supports the community.

• Hope Church of Fairbanks will purchase a freezer and begin a community garden for Hope House that supports their food giveaway and other community programs.

• First Church of Christ, Scientist, Fairbanks is installing LED lighting to reduce electricity consumption and their energy footprint, as a pathway for creation care.

• Or Hatzafon, the Jewish Congregation of Fairbanks, is installing more energy-efficient windows as a way to teach values for repairing the world.

• Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fairbanks will assist with weatherization and energy efficient improvements for homes of elders and others in need.

• University Community Presbyterian Church is preparing to make energy efficient changes to its Education Building so it can be better shared with other community groups.

Congratulations to these faith communities. We look forward to our continued partnership as we seek to be good stewards of the Earth.

Charlotte Basham and Terry Chapin are members of the Interfaith Working Group, Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition.