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    Category: Church Construction


    Construction Activity Begins On Senior Living High Rise In Tysons – McLean, VA Patch - June 6, 2020 by admin

    TYSONS, VA Construction activity has kicked off for The Mather, the first continuing care high rise for seniors ages 62 and over in Tysons. Demolition of the existing structure at 7929 Westpark Drive has started, while site work such as utility relocation and public street improvements will happen over the summer. The first phase of the community is slated to open in 2023.

    Phase one is currently 65 percent sold out, drawing residents from places like McLean, Arlington, Falls Church, Vienna, DC and Maryland. Nearly 150 priority reservations are being taken for phase two of the community.

    The Mather is a life plan community, which means residents can pursue their interests and priorities with a plan in place for aging. Residents can plan ahead for access to additional services, including health care, when needed.

    "I'm able to make my own decision about what I want," said Lynn Pivik, a future resident from Bethesda, Maryland. "I can always change my mind, but I go to bed at night knowing that I have a plan, and I'm not leaving anything to chance."

    The high rise offers apartments starting at $660,000 and depend on apartment size, location, service package and health plan. Each unit is between 850 to over 3,000 square feet. Units have smart home technology and a home automation hub that can be integrated with smartphones, tablets, and home computer systems.

    The Mather will also have retail on Westpark Drive; green space; a park with walking paths, sitting areas and connections to local trails; and parking and loading areas below grade.

    A virtual information seminar will be held at 1 p.m. on June 24. More information is available at http://www.themathertysons.com.

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    Construction Activity Begins On Senior Living High Rise In Tysons - McLean, VA Patch

    New study highlights Moray link to construction of St Giles in Edinburgh – Press and Journal - June 6, 2020 by admin

    A new study has revealed the link between one of Scotlands most famous churches and an ancient forest in Morayshire.

    The research into the timber used to build the bell tower of St Giles in Edinburgh has uncovered details about its construction as the kirks 900th anniversary beckons.

    Historic Environment Scotland provided funding for the South East Scotland Oak Dendrochronology project, led by Dr Coralie Mills, to investigate the five-storey timber frame within the bell tower of St Giles High Kirk on the Royal Mile.

    Originally founded in 1124, the church has undergone many additions and alterations during its history, particularly in the 19th century.

    Dendrochronology the process of dating tree rings to the exact year they were formed was conducted on samples from oak timbers in the bell frame, which has refined the probable date for completion of the St Giles bell tower to between 1460 and 1467.

    These established the felling dates for timber in the frame in the winters of 1453-54 and 1459-60 and revealed it was sourced from one of the last remaining reserves of old oak timber in Scotland, the Royal Forest of Darnaway, in Morayshire.

    Dr Coralie Mills, who carried out the work, told History Scotland: Discovering the date and provenance of the timbers in the tower at St Giles and allowing a new insight into the medieval history of our native woods, has been a highlight of my career.

    The mid-15thcentury was a pivotal time when Scotland turned to Scandinavia for most of its timber supply, but this research shows that Darnaway still had reserves of old growth oak, by then a very scarce and valuable resource in Scotland.

    The St Giles timbers match closely with other material from reused timber in the Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle, which is also thought to have come from Darnaway.

    These results enhance our understanding of St Giles construction history and provide valuable insights into the medieval timber supply in Scotland.

    John Lawson, Edinburghs city archaeologist, said: This fascinating research into the original timber used to build the bell tower of St Giles has given us new insight into the Kirk, a building we thought we knew so well.

    This has been an incredible piece of work which has helped shed light on the question of exactly when and how the present tower was constructed.

    Read more here:
    New study highlights Moray link to construction of St Giles in Edinburgh - Press and Journal

    Historic Glasgow buildings to be protected in 360000 funding round – Scottish Construction Now - June 6, 2020 by admin

    Published 4 June 2020

    Glasgow City Heritage Trust has announced over 360,000 of funding to support 12 heritage projects in the city,including five historic building repair projects, in its latest round of funding.

    A building repair grant of 57,344 has been awarded towards conservation repairs to the Category A-listed Royal Faculty of Procurators building, which was modelled on Sansovinos Library in Venice and is a rare city centre building by architect Charles Wilson, better known for his work in Glasgows Park District.

    As part of the repairs programme, there will also be a small exhibition about the building and Charles Wilson, guided walks around legal buildings in Glasgow, and Strathclyde University Law Clinic will run legal advice clinics.

    A building repair grant of 80,000 has been awarded in the form towards conservation repairs to Smiths Hotel at 963 Sauchiehall Street, which is within a Category B-listed early Victorian tenement on the western stretch of Sauchiehall Street as it passes through the Park Conservation Area.

    The aim of the project is to return the property to a condition in keeping with the wider Sauchiehall Street townscape in this key approach to Kelvingrove from Glasgow city centre. As part of the repairs programme, there will also be traditional skills training offered to schools and the surrounding community, with site visits and demonstrations of the conservation work in progress.

    In Hillhead, a 5,886 collective building repair grant has been offered to the six owners of 3-7 Great George Street, a Category B-Listed early Victorian tenement in Hillhead.

    The failing and dangerous window jambs on the tenements main faade have been propped with timbers for several years so the repairs are required on Health and Safety grounds, as well as to preserve the character of the handsome well-proportioned facade.

    As part of the repairs programme, the stonemason will be training apprentices in traditional skills, while a traditional skills demonstration event will also be offered to local schools and community.

    A viability study is being supported with a 5,000 development grant to Glasgow Building Preservation Trust to help carry out work to determine if Govanhill Trinity Church could be used as a community space.

    The Category B-listed building, known locally as the Daisy Street Church and built in 1878, closed as a church in 2015 when its congregation joined forces with nearby Queens Park Govanhill Church. The study will look at the repair works that need to be done to the building and how it could be used in the future to benefit the community.

    Other recipients of funding from the Glasgow City Heritage Trust include Smithycroft Secondary School which has been awarded a traditional skills grant of 4,424 to provide vocational traditional construction skills training to a class of 12 pupils, providing them with the skills necessary to improve their employment prospects.

    As well as providing a qualification, it is hoped that the course will encourage an appreciation of the historic built environment in Glasgow with speakers and demonstrations from people in a number of traditional construction crafts as well as hands-on experience on current sites.

    The Trust has also funded educational and outreach projects including phase two of the popular Ghost Signs of Glasgow project run by volunteers and On Our Streets: Protest & Celebration, a social history study of Govanhill being delivered by Govanhill Baths Community Trust.

    Torsten Haak, director of Glasgow City Heritage Trust, said: We are delighted to announce this round of financial support for Glasgows historic buildings and neighbourhoods. Im particularly pleased that we are supporting such a wide variety of projects, from small grants for domestic stonework repairs to comprehensive projects to repair significant buildings in the city centre, along with traditional skills training and projects that will support communities to engage with their local place and their heritage.

    Throughout the current crisis we are still open, still listening to ideas and still providing funding for projects that protect, conserve and celebrate our citys rich built heritage. We know how difficult this time is for our partners and colleagues and we are trying to be as supportive and flexible as possible. We want to help those who already have projects underway to continue their work where possible, and to encourage people with new projects in development to get in touch and see if we can help.

    With total project costs of 1.4 million for this latest round of support, every pound the Trust has invested has helped to secure another 3 from other sources. This funding has come from the five grant programmes run by the Trust, which is supported by Historic Environment Scotland and Glasgow City Council. Applications are open throughout the year and are considered quarterly. The next closing date is the end of July.

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    Historic Glasgow buildings to be protected in 360000 funding round - Scottish Construction Now

    Singapore’s top priority is to restart construction quickly but safely after Covid-19 circuit breaker, says Desmond Lee – The Straits Times - June 6, 2020 by admin

    SINGAPORE - A construction firm began to assiduously impose strict social distancing measures at its work site and dormitories a few months ago, yet almost 30 per cent of its workers at a project site were infected by Covid-19, said Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee on Friday (June 5).

    Recounting its efforts, he said the measures include having all the workers of a project live at the site and ensuring they are segregated, as well as disallowing those living on different levels of dormitories to mix.

    The workers had not left the worksite since late March, even before circuit breaker measures kicked in.

    But despite the full attention the management paid to safety and protection against the coronavirus, Covid-19 could not be kept at bay, noted Mr Lee, who is also Minister for Social and Family Development.

    He cited the firm, which he did not name, to explain why stringent measures had to be imposed on construction companies before they were allowed to resume work progressively, starting from June 2.

    The minister acknowledged their anxieties and eagerness to resume work, which has been suspended for two months under the circuit breaker that ended on June 1.

    But the experience of the mentioned project shows how infectious the Covid-19 disease is, and how difficult it is to prevent a single case from infecting many more who live and work together, Mr Lee said during the debate on the supplementary Fortitude Budget.

    "Imagine how much more challenging it might befor projects with workers living in different accommodation, or having to move between different sites."

    So, it is equally important that the resumption of work is done safely, not just swiftly, he said, given that most of Covid-19 cases were construction workers.

    A new case could easily cause another outbreak, which could bring the industry to a halt again, he added.

    He also told the House that 60 dormitories have been cleared of Covid-19, and another 111 are due to be cleared in the coming weeks.

    Workers tested and found free of the infection are being resettled in designated dormitory blocks.

    The minister also said more regular updates will be given to the industry, including a rolling forecast of the dormitory clearance schedule to help the builders plan ahead on when their workers can return to work.

    He assured the House that there isenough testing capacity for workers living in the wider community.

    And that almost 20,000 safety management officers will be trained this month to ensure workers comply with safety measures, with priority given to officers in charge of projects that are ready to restart.

    "Many firms in the construction sector, including many small and medium-sized enterprises, are very anxious about survival and about their future. Let me assure you that our main priority is to restart construction quickly but safely," said Mr Lee.

    Singapore's efforts to raise productivity in construction have been going on for decades, Mr Lee said, in his reply to Nominated MP Walter Theseira, who called for a rethink of Singapore's dependence on foreign labour, particularly in construction.

    Under the construction sector's Industry Transformation Map, "major structural changes" are needed on how work is done to reduce the reliance on foreign labour, including the greater adoption of technology, the minister said.

    But the change will create higher-skilled jobs, including many good jobs for Singaporeans. Foreign workers who take on such jobs will also need to be higher skilled, he noted.

    "However, the construction sector will not be able to reduce our foreign worker reliance to zeroas there will still be lower-skilled jobs that Singaporeans do not want to take up.

    "We appreciate the contributions of our foreign workers, who have come to Singapore to make an honest living for themselves and their families, and it is incumbent on us to also take good care of them when they are unwell," said Mr Lee.

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    Singapore's top priority is to restart construction quickly but safely after Covid-19 circuit breaker, says Desmond Lee - The Straits Times

    Five years ago, Pope Francis asked us to care for Earth. Have we listened? – National Catholic Reporter - May 24, 2020 by admin

    There was a time when Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem had little success when he asked bishops in the Philippines to join campaigns against mining or coal-fired power plants endangering communities as well as the land.

    It wasn't that the bishops were ignoring the issues facing the environment they'd written a half-dozen statements on the topic since the late 1980s. They just weren't as visible in the struggle to do something about them, said Jakosalem, a lifelong environmental activist and a member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects.

    Br. Jaazeal Jakosalem, aka Brother Tagoy, joins a direct action against a coal plant in Toledo City, Cebu, Philippines. (Provided photo)

    The Philippines is one of the world's front lines on climate change. Last week, Typhoon Vongfong slammed into the Eastern Samar province, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people in a region that seven years earlier was decimated by Typhoon Haiyan. Climate scientists expect such tropical storms to become more powerful and more frequent as global temperatures rise.

    Things have changed in the post-Laudato Si' world.

    Today, the Catholic Church of the Philippines is seen as one of the leaders in answering the call that Pope Francis issued to the entire world in his 2015 social encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home."

    Since the encyclical's release, Jakosalem, better known as Brother Tagoy, says more bishops have joined him and other religious in speaking out against the construction of new coal-fired power plants and the damaging effects of mining on both communities and the land. Last July, the Philippine bishops conference issued a pastoral letter on the "climate emergency," calling the full church on the islands to an ecological conversion and to "activate climate action on behalf of the voiceless people and the planet."

    "They are emboldened to act more for the caring of our environment," Jakosalem told EarthBeat in a phone interview.

    Five years after the publication of Laudato Si', you can easily find such examples across the world of individual Catholics, parishes and institutions responding to the pope's own repeated appeal for ecological conversion with prayer and reflection over the encyclical but also with concrete actions in living it out.

    Even with those examples, the consensus among Catholic ecological leaders is those responses have been not nearly as widespread as Francis sought with his universal call "for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet." Count the pope among them.

    'When we pass that 1.5 degrees threshold, climate change will move into all of our living rooms.'

    Veerabhadran Ramanathan

    "Sadly, the urgency of this ecological conversion seems not to have been grasped by international politics, where the response to the problems raised by global issues such as climate change remains very weak and a source of grave concern," Francis said in January in remarks to the Vatican diplomatic corps.

    The call for increasingly urgent action from a historically slow-moving institution is driven by awareness of the numerous crises facing the planet.

    The coronavirus pandemic struck at the start of a decade that climate scientists say is critical to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Doing so would prevent the most severe consequences of climate change, which threatens to exacerbate poverty, hunger, lack of water access, and migration, all impacting first and fiercest the world's already most vulnerable communities.

    Already, global temperatures have risen 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s. The planet is on pace to warm another 2 degrees C by the end of the century, and to reach the critical 1.5-degree mark as soon as 2030. Roughly 20% of the planet already has, according to a Pulitzer-winning report by The Washington Post.

    Veerabhadran Ramanathan speaks on solutions to climate change during a 2018 lecture at Villanova University in Philadelphia. (CNS/Courtesy of Villanova University/Paul Crane)

    "When we pass that 1.5 degrees threshold, climate change will move into all of our living rooms," said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. "You don't have to turn on TV to find out about climate change."

    The pandemic has some worried it may slow momentum for addressing climate change. But there is also optimism up to the highest levels of the Catholic Church that how the world responds, economically and otherwise, just may be the multitrillion-dollar stimulus needed to jumpstart the globe to match societal actions with the urgency of the science.

    And perhaps Laudato Si' can play a part.

    "Laudato Si' has an immense amount of wisdom to charter that path and just aid us in that journey," said Toms Insua, co-founder and executive director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

    Responding on a global scale

    Some of the biggest impacts from Laudato Si' so far are found in what's formed from it.

    Take the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

    When it launched in January 2015 during Francis' papal trip to the Philippines where he visited communities devastated by Typhoon Haiyan it had 19 members, a mix of church development agencies, religious orders and Catholic environmental groups. In five years, it has grown to more than 900 organizations, representing every continent and more than 50 countries.

    'We feel included in this call of Laudato Si'.'

    Domenica Reyes

    The movement, often called GCCM by members, has spearheaded some of the more prominent response to living out Laudato Si', and all at a global scale. Months after forming, it generated 900,000 signatures onto a Catholic Climate Petition delivered to world leaders at the COP 21 climate summit in Paris. It has trained more than 2,800 Laudato Si' Animators, who are tasked with doing just as their name implies in their local communities. Another 5,000 are in training now.

    Each Lent, GCCM has organized creation-centered programs. Through its divest-invest campaign, it has played a leading role in facilitating more than 180 Catholic institutions to publicly declare they will cease investments in the fossil fuel industry.

    At World Youth Day 2019 in Panama, GCCM formed a youth branch called Laudato Si' Generation. The group, now at 1,200 members worldwide, has brought a faith-based presence to the youth climate strikes.

    Domenica Reyes, co-chair of Laudato Si' Generation, said young Catholics see in Laudato Si' a symbiosis between their faith and their concern for the environment. It's become "a spark," she added, empowering them to get involved and to press their politicians and priests alike to make environmental issues a priority.

    "We feel included in this call of Laudato Si'," she said.

    Members of Laudato Si' Generation pose with Cardinal Luis Tagle, then archbishop of Manila, Philippines, during World Youth Day in Panama City in 2019. Second from left is Domenica Reyes, co-chair of Laudato Si' Generation, and in center is Toms Insua, executive director of Global Catholic Climate Movement. (Global Catholic Climate Movement)

    One of the biggest initiatives around the encyclica to date has been the Sowing Hope for the Planet project, a campaign orchestrated by the International Union of Superios General, an umbrella grou representing 2,000 women religious congregations. A network of 980 contacts share information and resources with their congregations to promote Laudato Si', and in particular its message of answering both "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." Sowing Hope for the Planet, for which GCCM is a collaborator, has seen Catholic sisters in the U.S. and Ghana have partnered in a plastic recycling program that reduces waste and provides jobs. The Servants of the Holy Spirit Sisters worked with other nongovernmental organizations to stop mining in Timor West.

    Franciscan Sr. Sheila Kinsey, coordinator of Sowing Hope and UISG executive co-secretary of the justice, peace and integrity of creation commission, said the encyclical is clear, inspiring and practical. Now it's up to the wider church to pursue the systematic change it says is necessary.

    "We must make a clear connection between our spiritual values and our daily actions," she said.

    GCCM also played a role in the creation of the Laudato Si' Action Platform, announced at the start of Laudato Si' Week (May 16-24) by the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. The platform invites Catholic institutions to commit to "total sustainability" within a seven-year period through an integral ecological approach.

    The goals are an invitation, not a mandate. The dicastery hopes that ground-up approach will yield a "critical mass" sweeping through the church that so far has yet to fully materialize.

    "If I'm totally honest, it still often feels like we're at the very beginning," said Lorna Gold.

    Gold has had a unique vantage point to the response to Laudato Si'. Until recently, she worked with Trocaire, the Irish Catholic development agency, and served on the Irish bishops' Laudato Si' Working Group. She is a GCCM board member. She has also been active in the climate strikes and is the author of Climate Generation: Awakening to Our Children's Future.

    Asked to grade the global church's implementation so far, Insua responded, "It's low. A low grade." But that grade is a mixed bag, he said, with Amazonian countries and the Philippines at the high end, and the United States and Europe on the lower side.

    "Encyclicals take time to sink in. A lot of time," Insua said. "But that's the problem with this encyclical, is that it doesn't allow for a lot of time to be taking on."

    Along with the action platform, expected to launch in early 2021, the Vatican has introduced other prompts to spur action throughout the church.

    Francis has recommended care for our common home be added to both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Following other Christian denominations, he added a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (Sept. 1) to the liturgical calendar, and invited Catholics to celebrate the Season of Creation throughout September to Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

    The Vatican delegation has been active at the United Nations climate summits, with the encyclical viewed as a factor in reaching the Paris Agreement.

    Back home, the Vatican has hosted numerous conferences of scientists, economists and world leaders. The past two years, it held meetings with top oil executives and investment firms, where Francis called for "a radical energy transition" to stave off "a climate emergency." The 2019 session resulted in nearly all participants signing a declaration in favor of a price on carbon emissions and increased transparency from energy companies.

    Pope Francis speaks to executives of leading energy, petroleum and natural gas companies, leaders in investment firms and climate scientists during a meeting at the Vatican June 14, 2019. (CNS/Vatican Media)

    Insua singled out the Season of Creation as perhaps the most significant church response to the encyclical in the past five years. He said it gives Catholics and parishes not just a day but an entire month each year to plan programs reflecting on their place within their environment and how to preserve it.

    "In a lot of people's minds, slowly but steadily, September is that time of the year," he said.

    The difference leadership makes

    The Season of Creation wasn't so new to Philippine Catholics. By 2003, Catholics there had begun celebrating in September its own creation time.

    In many ways, the encyclical has reinforced throughout the archipelago ecological ministries in place for decades and has energized more to take part.

    Jakosalem, 47, said Laudato Si' has been an affirmation of their work by placing creation care squarely in the framework of church teaching. Likewise, it's bolstered more bishops and priests to take prophetic stands against extractive industries without worrying what the financial repercussions to the church may be.

    "We feel secured because of this document," he said.

    In September, the Philippine bishops pledged to divest from fossil fuels. Their climate emergency pastoral called each diocese to establish ecology desks to spearhead programs pressing for a swift and just transition to clean energy, organizing to pass and implement environmental protection laws, and critically, integrating Laudato Si' and creation care more fully into church teaching in parishes, schools and seminaries.

    Archbishop Jos Palma of Cebu, Philippines, speaks during an event for the Break Free from Coal campaign. (Jaazeal Jakosalem)

    Archbishop Jos Palma of Cebu was instrumental in the campaign to block a new coal plant on the island. The four bishops of Negros Island have been active in efforts to block new coal-fired power plants. In both cases, the projects were not approved.

    "This is something, huh?" Jakosalem said.

    Like the Philippines, the bishops in Ireland established a Laudato Si' working group early on. Gold, one of its members, said it played a major role in bringing regular proposals to the bishops' conference and ultimately making Laudato Si' a higher priority on their agenda.

    One result was the Irish bishops' decision to divest from fossil fuels, announced in August 2018 ahead of Francis' visit as part of the World Meeting of Families. Individual dioceses and religious orders have followed suit. Trocaire played a critical role in the Irish government's own decision to divest. The Irish bishops have also committed to the Season of Creation.

    Gold said one ongoing priority is making Laudato Si' part of the formation of clergy and church leadership. Trocaire found some success through trips, at home or overseas, to witness climate injustices up close. Bringing priests and bishops more on board doesn't mean they do all the work, she added, but they are uniquely positioned to deliver the message and set in motion wider action in conserving God's creation.

    "To reach a certain scale it really has to be about working alongside and working with the bishops' conference," Gold said.

    What difference leadership can make is evident in the Amazon.

    Indigenous people are seen on the banks of the Xingu River during a media event in Brazil's Xingu Indigenous Park Jan. 15, 2020. (CNS/Reuters/Ricardo Moraes)

    Over the course of two years, bishops through the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network conducted 260 listening sessions across the nine Amazon countries on the threats facing one of the world's most biodiverse and critical ecosystems. All that culminated in October with the Vatican's special Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, what many viewed as the first major application of Laudato Si'.

    The vast majority of participants hailed from the Amazon Basin, and included bishops, priests, religious and indigenous leaders. The synod turned the global church's attention to the multiple crises like deforestation, mining, biodiversity loss and land disputes facing the Amazon, a key region in mitigating climate change. Raging fires in the rainforest in the preceding months highlighted the situation.

    The synod's final document and Francis' own reflection, Querida Amazonia, positioned the church shoulder to shoulder with indigenous communities in defense of their rights and protecting the rainforest against destructive, unrestrained industrial development.

    In the final document, the participants identified climate change as "above all" the great threat to life in the region. They proposed a definition of ecological sin and called on all Christians to defend human rights in the Amazon as "a requirement of faith." They recommended creating environmental awareness training programs and special ministers, and for the church in the Amazon to support and join divestment campaigns of industries causing socio-ecological damage.

    Pope Francis attends a prayer service at the start of the first session Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 7, 2019. (CNS/Vatican Media)

    Reyes, the Laudato Si' Generation co-chair based in Ecuador, said one of the biggest contributions of the encyclical, reinforced by Querida Amazonia, is in the awareness it's raised on how everything is connected. That protecting the Amazon doesn't matter just for people living there, but for the future of the entire world.

    "That Amazon is not only a matter of the Ecuadorian or Brazil church, but it's a matter of the universal church," she said.

    US response 'still a work in progress'

    In the United States, the prevailing sense among Catholics working on environmental issues is Laudato Si' has not been made a main priority.

    Outgoing president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo made waves at the November meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, when he described the sense among bishops about global warming as important but not urgent.

    Juniors and seniors from environmental science classes at Elizabeth Seton High School, a girls school in Bladensburg, Maryland, stand with their climate change signs along Constitution Avenue in Washington Sept. 20, 2019, as they prepare to join a march with thousands of others to the front of the U.S. Capitol. (CNS/Carol Zimmermann)

    The comment was widely seen as at odds not only with the science but with the pope. Within the encyclical's introductory appeal alone, Francis stated the urgency three times and more than a dozen in total, including the "urgent need" to develop emissions-reducing policies "in the next few years." He has repeated that urgent message in nearly every speech on the topic since.

    During an online roundtable May 20, three U.S. bishops acknowledged uneven response so far. "It's still a work in progress," conceded Archbishop Paul Coakley, chair of the bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

    San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy, a leading U.S. voice on the encyclical, said that while it's been well-received by scientists and the young, he worries the church has yet to reach the intensity that climate change requires.

    "We don't have 40 years left on the climate question," McElroy said in response to comments from Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron that past encyclicals took decades to be put in practice.

    Last summer, the Catholic Climate Covenant held the first of three biennial conferences at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, aimed at ramping up implementation in the U.S. church.

    In an op-ed last month, Dan Misleh, Covenant executive director, reflected on progress at the five-year mark: "If I'm honest, not nearly to the degree I would have hoped nor commensurate with the scope of the challenge we are facing."

    Franciscan Sr. Joan Brown is among the many who point to a lack of leadership.

    Women religious congregations like hers have long been at the forefront of environmental action. Universities and schools have increasingly emphasized sustainability in recent decades. But for the church to take the next big leap will require the ecological conversion taking root with more priests and bishops, said Brown, who is executive director of New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light.

    A first step, she suggested, is viewing climate change through integral ecology, that issues related to the environment, poverty, inequality, immigration and life are all interrelated.

    A line of protesters Aug. 18, 2015, blocks the main gate at the Crestwood Midstream Partners gas storage facility on the shores of Seneca Lake in Reading, New York. Eighteen people were arrested while reading Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si'. (CNS/Dennis Sadowski)

    A first step, she suggested, is viewing climate change through integral ecology, that issues related to the environment, poverty, inequality, immigration and life are all interrelated.

    "There has to be some deep-seeded shifts in the church for us to really grapple with this largest ethical and moral concern of our time," Brown said. "And the longer it takes us, the more we run into greater storms, greater need for emergency relief."

    In speaking at churches, the climate scientist Ramanathan said he's surprised by the number of Catholics who haven't read Laudato Si' or aren't aware of it. Educating more people about the text what he calls "a singular iconic document" that spells out the human tragedy of climate change and the climate science is essential, he said, to garnering wider support for the solutions, stressing "there is still time for solving the problems."

    Laudato Si' "is a powerful tool that Pope Francis has put in our hands and we have to use it," Ramanathan said.

    'Let's face it, the most convincing way that the document will be put into practice is if people can see a direct impact on their own lives.'

    Archbishop Wilton Gregory

    Within the U.S. bishops' conference, policy work has been a major focus, said environmental policy consultant Ricardo Simmonds. The conference has issued dozens of statements citing Laudato Si' during the Obama administration in support of environmental measures and during the Trump years opposing rollbacks and deregulation.

    Simmonds agrees that there's much more that can be done, but from his view he sees a lot happening already. The U.S. bishops were official partners for the Vatican's Laudato Si' Week and produced resources for parishes and priests. Later this summer, the conference plans to start its own Laudato Si' advocates program geared toward young Catholics.

    So far, the bishops' conference hasn't discussed establishing a Laudato Si' commission like those in other countries, Simmonds said. At the Creighton conference, McElroy suggested the idea as a way to make climate change "a central priority" in the U.S. church.

    Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory at the Oct. 17, 2019, blessing of solar panels that are being leased to produce renewable energy for Washington residents (CNS/Catholic Standard/Andrew Biraj)

    Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory, seen as another Laudato Si' leader, told EarthBeat he would support forming a working group, but that it may be more effective at a regional level "because the environment, while it belongs to all of us, manifests itself with great regional diversity," he said in a phone interview.

    While archbishop of Atlanta, Gregory commissioned a Laudato Si' Action Plan to bring the text to life across all church levels. The plan has become a blueprint for other dioceses, and he has asked the D.C. archdiocese's care for creation committee to devise its own version. In April, Catholic Charities of Washington Archdiocese completed construction of a 2-megawatt solar array the largest solar installation in the District.

    The solar project was facilitated by Catholic Energies, a program of Catholic Climate Covenant. Since it formed in fall 2017, it has completed 10 projects in five states, with another 12 set for construction this year. Together, they will generate 10 megawatts of solar energy annually,the equivalent of removing 5 million pounds of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

    The adoption of solar by parishes and dioceses has been one of the most visible responses to Laudato Si' in the U.S., with the dioceses of Monterey and San Diego in California leading the pack. The Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, has seven parishes signed up with Catholic Energies and is looking to develop a 5-7 megawatt array at a retreat center.

    Apart from energy projects, the Cincinnati Archdiocese has a creation care task force, while the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, formed a network linking its parish green teams. In 2017, the statewide Diocese of Burlington, Vermont, celebrated a Year of Creation. Last year, the California bishops issued a pastoral statement responding to Laudato Si' and outlining specific steps to implement it locally. A now-permanent creation care committee will guide its rollout. A similar statement was issued by the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

    See more here:
    Five years ago, Pope Francis asked us to care for Earth. Have we listened? - National Catholic Reporter

    Construction resumes with the First Presbyterian Church of Girard – YourErie - May 24, 2020 by admin

    Posted: May 18, 2020 / 05:59 PM EDT / Updated: May 18, 2020 / 07:27 PM EDT

    A church in Girard is being rebuilt, however construction has been halted for almost two months now due to the pandemic.

    Construction on the new First Presbyterian Church of Girard was allowed to start up again back on May 1st.

    Since the beginning of the month, a lot has gotten done. The pastor said that construction was supposed to be complete sometime in December.

    After a two month break, the project may not be finished until next spring.

    The pastor said that the new church is one level making it handicap accessible.

    The pastor added that he wants the new church to serve as a community meeting space, especially after reaching a larger audience since the pandemic started.

    Were hoping also with the new online exposure weve had with being a virtual church this last month and a half that more people have been checking out the church. We hope that some of those folks come and visit, said Nicola Vitiello, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Girard.

    The pastor added that the church is thankful to those who have supported the project and they are hoping to have a fundraiser at St. Johns Parish Center at the end of August.

    Go here to read the rest:
    Construction resumes with the First Presbyterian Church of Girard - YourErie

    PennDOT: Work on intersection improvement project on Route 272 in Lancaster County to begin Tuesday – FOX43.com - May 24, 2020 by admin

    The project will affect traffic on Route 272 between Herrville Road and Mt. Airy Road in Providence and Pequea townships

    LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced that work will begin next week on a 5.7-mile intersection improvement project on Route 272 between Herrville Road and Mt. Airy Road in Providence and Pequea Townships in Lancaster County.

    Starting Tuesday, traffic will be switched from the right lane to the left lane on Route 272 in both the northbound and southbound directions between Miller Road and Shiprock Road, PennDOT said.

    In addition, crossovers will be closed at Pennsy Road and Bylerland Church Road, PennDOT said. Drivers traveling east on these roads who wish to go north on Route 272 will have to first take Route 272 South to a turnaround near Mt. Airy Road, PennDOT said.

    Motorists traveling west who wish to travel south will take Route 272 north to the existing jug handle just north of Brooks Avenue, according to PennDOT.

    The $5,056,901 contract was awarded to JD Eckman, Inc., of Atglen, Chester County, according to PennDOT.

    Work includes reconstruction of the existing 20-foot median, with mountable barrier constructed at the Byerland Church Road and Pennsy Road intersections with Route 272 to prevent crossover and U-turns from these side roads onto Route 272, as well as milling, paving, signing and other miscellaneous construction.

    Work under this construction contract is scheduled to be completed next year, according to PennDOT.

    The project will result in narrower lanes and wider shoulders at select locations to calm traffic and accommodate carriages, and loons at the turnarounds at Byerland Church Road to provide a wider turning radius, PennDOT said.

    Route 272 northbound will be reduced to a single lane with wider shoulders at the tunnel just south of Pennsy Road to reduce speeds and accommodate carriages.

    Work on this project will be in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and state Department of Health guidance as well as a project-specific COVID-19 safety plan, which will include protocols for social distancing, use of face coverings, personal and job-site cleaning protocols, management of entries to the jobsite, and relevant training.

    Motorists are reminded to be alert for construction operations, to obey work zone signs, and to slow down when approaching and traveling through work zones, not only for their safety, but for the safety of the road crews.

    Continued here:
    PennDOT: Work on intersection improvement project on Route 272 in Lancaster County to begin Tuesday - FOX43.com

    Meet Ethiopian priest who toils for the construction of a mosque – borkena.com - May 24, 2020 by admin

    borkenaMay 23, 2020

    Ethiopia has experienced a terrible violence and chance that manifested itself under the cover of region. Mosques have been burned. Churches have been burnt. It has happened in north Ethiopia. It has happened in the South and South East.

    The chaos was the works of politics and had nothing to do with religious in the context of Ethiopia.

    Ethiopia is known for religious tolerance. Not only that the first Hejira was to the Ethiopian kingdom. Ethiopia has maintained the values of religious tolerance for most part of its history although there were some exceptions.

    The good news is that religious tolerance (if it is not understatement) is well and alive in Ethiopia.

    Aba Akilelemariam is a priest of Ethiopian Church ( Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church.) He has been toiling to help build a mosque. On the occasion of Eid al Fitr, he shared why he did so. (The interview is in Amharic)

    Part II below

    Video : embedded from Arts TV Youtube channelCover photo : screenshot from the video

    Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena

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    Meet Ethiopian priest who toils for the construction of a mosque - borkena.com

    Church of the Ascension in Woolston celebrates 50th birthday – Warrington Guardian - May 24, 2020 by admin

    THIS month marks the 50th birthday of the Church of the Ascension.

    Over the past half a century, the site on Warren Lane in Woolston has become a focal point for the community.

    And to celebrate the anniversary, we have taken a look back at its history.

    The cutting of the first sod in preparation for building work to commence was made on May 19 1968, with the daughter of Edward Gorton a businessman and philanthropist who donated the plot of land for the construction of a church in 1917 doing the honours.

    On September 15 that year, Reverend James Oliver Colling laid the foundation stone during a service.

    Fast forward nearly two years to May 7 1970, and the Church of the Ascension was finally complete.

    The Rt Reverend Stuart Blanch, Bishop of Liverpool, opened the building to coincide with Ascension Day and a series of events were held to celebrate the occasion over the following weeks.

    This Consecration Festival included a performance for the Liverpool Concertante and Southport Bach Society, a first communion and baptism, evensong with the Archdeacon of Warrington, an organ recital, a choral concert by pupils at Woolston County Primary School and a gig by folk band the Spinners.

    Liverpool Concertante and Southport Bach Society perform at the church, conducted by David Bowman on May 9 1970

    The first baptisms and holy communions

    Woolston County Primary School performa choral concert, conducted by headmaster T Lloyd Morgan,on May 12 1970

    The Spinners at the Church of the Ascension

    A series of events had been planned to commemorate the 50th, but these will now take place later in the year.

    An outdoor exhibition of its history is currently being held in the meantime.

    The church has also received a grant from the National Lotterys heritage fund in order to carry out repairs.

    A spokesman said: "As lucky as we have been to receive this grant, we still have a large amount of money to raise in order to achieve our goals and ensure that the Church of Ascension will be around in another 50 years and more."

    To donate, click here.

    Read the original here:
    Church of the Ascension in Woolston celebrates 50th birthday - Warrington Guardian

    The week in pictures: Cork’s first steps on the road back from coronavirus – Echo Live - May 24, 2020 by admin

    The week in pictures: Cork's first steps on the road back from coronavirus

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    The week in pictures: Cork's first steps on the road back from coronavirus - Echo Live

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