When the opportunity arose for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to build a new parish building on 23 acres in the Diocese of Venice, Florida, considerations of water conservation and quality were not at the forefront of the discussions of the new building and grounds. A few members of the Diocesan Task Force on Church and Environment (now Environmental Justice), however, saw the construction as an excellent opportunity to promote and practice stewardship of the Earths natural resource and ecological sensitivity.
The idea gained momentum and garnered full support from the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the chair of the Subcommittee on Parish Activity of the Task Force, and members of the Capital Campaign Committee. A dozen or so members parish members formed the Churchscape Committee after responding to an announcement in the church bulletin inviting volunteers to help implement a Florida-friendly, ecologically sound landscape, and find creative ways to educate parishioners, community members, and residents of the Diocese about creation stewardship.
In addition to securing a landscape architect with an outstanding reputation and experience in environmental landscaping, the committee also developed and submitted a proposal to the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which awards small grants for initiatives to help preserve water quality and supply. The committee proposed to develop an educational workshop to provide the parish and community members with information about the plan for the landscape and the motivation to become good stewards of Gods creation in their homes as well as in their places of worship.
The June 2003 workshop completely filled the Nature Center of the Ocsar Sherer State Park to capacity at 70 participants, many of whom followed up to get further information about how they might pursue similar programs at their parishes. The workshop program [click here to view the complete program] included a video presentation of Good People Doing Good Things, as well as sessions on the following topics:
- Water as a Priority in Florida Landscapes
- The Water Story in Sarasota County
- Making Use of Gods Creation in a Parish Setting, and
- Applications to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish.
Dr. Carol Ann Breyer/Dr. Lee Breyer
941-721-3486 (home, I think)
- Workshop Announcement/Agenda
- Sample photos from the workshop (medium quality)
- Brochure about OLMC
- Article from The Florida Catholic
- Copy of Bishops Letter of Endorsement