Building Resilience with Grace

Grace Anglican Church (Waterdown) is incorporating solar power generation and passive house technology into a new addition being constructed on the west end of the heritage building as part of the creation of a resilience hub. With the assistance of a grant from the Anglican Foundation of Canada, Grace is seeking to support the wider community during weather events and other disasters, reduce the parish’s carbon footprint, serve as a model of environmental stewardship, promote community cohesion, enhance a community asset, demonstrate the church’s relevance and presence to the unchurched, and free up funds for ministry by reducing energy costs. 

Resilience Hubs serve as safe meeting locations that enable community members to mobilize response and recovery efforts during times of extreme weather such as ice storms, flooding, and wind events. They provide shelter and a place for the sharing of resources such as food, water, information, basic medical equipment, technology, and tools. Grace is ideally located in the heart of Waterdown and already well resourced for this purpose because of its Food with Grace Waterdown Food Bank ministry.

The Grace Resilience Hub (GRH) will serve neighbours in normal times, times of disruption, and times of recovery. Most days, Grace will offer a welcoming community gathering place where neighbours can access spiritual, social, educational, cultural, and community building programs and services. When disruption occurs, due to an extreme weather event or other crisis, the GRH will respond to immediate community needs by connecting neighbours with information, supplies, and caring supporters. This will free up first responders to take care of emergent situations. The GRH will play an important role post-disruption by assisting community members to conduct needs assessments and secure the supports they require to get back on their feet. This might include assistance with completing forms, engaging with trauma counselling, or acquiring materials and equipment. 

The Grace Resilience Hub, with its clean energy source and attention to environmental and social justice, will serve as a nexus for climate mitigation, adaptation, and equity that will transform lives by enhancing community resilience and sustainability though an asset-based community development approach. Instead of feeling helpless and hopeless at the magnitude of our climate crisis, Grace parishioners feel purposeful and productive as they make a difference in Waterdown and serve as a model for other communities. We pray that our neighbours will feel more safe and secure, knowing that there is a community support system to help them when disastrous weather and other events occur. The community will see Anglicans shining the light of Christ in the world and get to know Jesus by working alongside his followers. The infrastructure that Grace is creating will be a blessing to God’s people and the planet we share for generations.