Faith in Place
began in 1999 as a project of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, with the goal of gathering religious leaders in the Chicago
region in dialogue, prayer, and action on issues of environmental sustainability
. Since then it has been incorporated as an independent organization.
Partnering with religious congregations, Faith in Place gives religious people the tools they need to become good stewards of the earth by promoting clean energy
and sustainable farming
. Since 1999, Faith in Place has partnered with 250 congregations in Illinois—Christian
Its mission is to help people of faith understand that issues of ecology and economy are at the forefront of social justice. Faith in Place warns that all other efforts will not matter if we neglect the ecological conditions of our planet. By monitoring our use of fossil fuels, water and the way we treat our environment, we must make sacrifices for a sustainable economy.
Faith in Place's foremost concerns include concerns about the sustainability of the food supply and our use of energy in this country. In response, it launched a variety of projects, including:
- Building direct markets for local sustainable agriculture, including a cooperative that provides meat that is humane, local, sustainable, and that meets Islamic dietary requirements;
- Starting a well-loved urban agriculture program for kids in Logan Square and other communities in Chicago;
- Helping sixteen congregations switch to wind power at their houses of worship;
- Hosting workshops and educational events for hundreds of congregations; and
- Helping the first congregation in Chicago to go solar.
Rev. Clare Butterfield
, Executive Director
As Faith in Place's executive director, Rev. Clare Butterfield
preaches and teaches regularly at congregations throughout Illinois
, while coordinating programmatic and organizational development. She started as Faith in Place's original organizer and developed the organization into today's regional scale. She is a Unitarian Universalist
minister from central Illinois
with a lifelong interest in environmental matters, and currently is the community minister for Unity Temple in Oak Park.
, Youth Program Coordinator
As youth program coordinator, Katy Regalado oversees after-school and summer programs for youth in Logan Square
. She plans the environmental curriculum and teaches. Katy joined Faith in Place in January 2006 with four years experience in youth development.
, Assistant Director
As assistant director, Sara works on all aspects of programming and strategic planning and leads Faith in Place's fundraising efforts. She spearheaded The Good Loaf, an organic bread line which raises money for Faith in Place while furthering its mission, and helped her church become the first in Chicago
to go solar.
, Congregational Outreach
Zainab Khan joined Faith in Place as part of the Congregational Outreach Staff in 2007. She has extensive experience as an educator, having worked for several years in the Muslim
school system, and has a passion for all the work of Faith in Place, particularly the TAQWA
cooperative and other efforts to link Muslim values and support for sustainable farming
Board of Directors
Nisha Asarpota, Hindu
Percy Bell, Reformed Jewish
Paul Heltne, Lutheran
Steve Perkins, Roman Catholic
Rashmi Ramaswamy, Hindu
Rohinton Rivetna, Zoroastrian
Martha Phillips, United Church of Christ
The Clergy Cafe
is a gathering of clergy and seminary faculty that meets roughly three times per year over lunch. Participants are from many faith traditions - all clergy and members of the academy are welcome. Conversations have included biological emergence, what happens when we pray, and family systems analysis of the congregation.
Led by Lauren Mache, the Fair Trade program
consists of workshops on Fair Trade
presented at congregations all around the Chicago area
. Lauren helps set up a program to purchase fair trade
coffee, to sell it to the congregation members, and to hold a Fair Trade
event to help build the market for other fair trade goods.
Through the Illinois Interfaith Power & Light Campaign
, Faith in Place helps congregations conserve energy, purchase clean energy
and advocate for wise energy policy through grassroots organizing and education. Affiliated with the national Interfaith Power & Light campaign, it is part of a highly successful 19-state network doing similar work around the country.
Faith in Place's Sustainable Farming program
has created a consumer cooperative for local, organic, humanely-raised meats, also ensuring that those who grow the food are treated justly. Congregations can therefore practice what they preach in the food they serve at congregational functions and in members' homes.
Faith in Place offers after-school programming and summer activities
for young people from around the city. In partnership with after-school programs in religious schools and faith-based settlement houses, it uses innovative projects like gardening, worm composting, and honeybee-keeping to help young people understand the ecosystem
and their ability to make the world a better place.