Local Projects: Kivalina Epiphany Church, Alaska

This week’s ECN local project spotlight features Kivalina Epiphany Church in the Diocese of Alaska. Kivalina is connecting with the Dioceses of Olympia, Oregon, and California to build awareness of climate justice, build relationships, and develop videos of their presentations.

181101 SOC Grant_ Kivalina Epiphany Church

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The Episcopal Church has approved 44 Stewardship of Creation grants for local projects, including many great ideas that your parish or diocese could do too. Every Thursday, to help highlight the exciting work happening across God’s church and provide examples of what your own parish or diocese might do, we highlight one of the grant winners here.

According to a church press release, the $8,000 Kivalina grant was for a “program to fund a pilgrimage from Kivalina to engage with Episcopalians in the Dioceses of Olympia, Oregon, and California. Through presentations at churches, home-stays and small group conversations, will build awareness of climate justice. This will be the beginning of developing relationships to foster a shared sense of mutuality and care for God’s creation. Videos of presentations will be developed.”

Could your parish or diocese launch or participate in similar relationship building, climate-justice presentations, or even small-scale environmental pilgrimages where you live?

Kivalina is on the frontlines of climate change: As the Rev. P. Joshua Griffin wrote for Episcopal Climate News in 2012, “The village sits between a freshwater lagoon to the east and the Chukchi Sea to the west. With sea ice forming later and later each year, Kivalina is washing away from seasonal fall storms. Flooding remains a terrifying risk and traditional hunting grounds are increasingly unreliable. But community leaders in Kivalina are determined not to become ‘climate refugees’ and have chosen relocation over nonexistence… The Kivalina Relocation Planning Committee is tasked with moving the community so as to save [the] peoples’ place-based culture and human identity.” Read more from ENS.

That year, General Convention passed a climate-change resolution calling on the church (including congregations) to “to support the self-determined aspirations of communities around the world, who, like the Iñupiaq Community of Kivalina, Alaska, having emitted minimal amounts of carbon and having received negligible material benefit from fossil fuel consumption, nevertheless bear the brunt of climate-change impacts.”



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