This week we feature Faith in Canada 150 Affiliate A Rocha, an international Christian organization committed to engaging in “scientific research, environmental education, community-based conservation projects and sustainable agriculture.”
A Rocha began its work in Canada in 2000, focusing its conservation and creation care initiatives within the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. The organization describes the focus of its mission according to ‘The 5 C’s of A Rocha’: Christian, Conservation, Community, Cross-Cultural, and Cooperation.
Pragmatic, yet hopeful, in its day-to-day operations, A Rocha engages Canadians from across the country. Partners delight in being involved in the unfolding of a mission that envisions active, community-focused creation care through programs such as A Rocha’s Community Garden Network, and Good Seed Sunday.
“A Rocha is an international conservation organization working to show God's love for all creation,” notes Leah Kostamo, Co-founder of A Rocha Canada and member of the Cabinet of Canadians. “We do that through the transformation of people and places as we carry out conservation, education, and sustainable agriculture projects where we work.”
Indeed, “the 5 C’s of A Rocha” and A Rocha’s vision together produce a diverse experience. Speak to community members located close to any one of A Rocha’s hubs of activity and story after story will unfold detailing participation in an annual Community Shared Agriculture program, the joy of an internship, or the laughter experienced at A Rocha’s annual Barn Raising.
“Sometimes our work will take the form of urban gardening with newcomers to Canada, sometimes environmental education with inner-city kids, sometimes growing pesticide and herbicide-free vegetables for our Community Shared Agriculture project, and sometimes it means staying fish, bugs and plants in various watersheds,” says Kostamo. “In all these things we are living out the calling given in Genesis 2 to ‘care and keep’ creation.”
As A Rocha continues to engage Canadians across the country, love remains indelibly linked to their vision for conservation and creation care.
“We are working to show God's love for all creation,” says Kostamo. “We do that through the transformation of people and places as we carry out conservation, education and sustainable agriculture projects where we work.”
Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary fast approaches and conservation remains on the minds and hearts of those at A Rocha.
“Canada 150 is all about showing how faith is making a positive difference in Canadian society,” observes Kostamo. “This is not only true for things like our response to the refugee crisis or issues of poverty, but it's also true for the environment. If all the Christians in Canada were to take seriously their call to live as stewards of creation our country would literally look different.”
Partnership and hope remain the keystones for A Rocha is it works to address the environmental challenges facing Canadians and their global neighbours today.
“Environmental degradation is one of the most serious problems facing us today,” maintains Kostamo. “The statistics can be big and overwhelming. We've found that the way to live in hope is to respond with joyful action. This posture of hope and joy runs counter to the anxious response of so many to the environmental crisis and allows one to faithful respond to biblical vision of ‘the Earth is the Lord's and everything in it.’”
To learn more about Arocha, please visit: https://arocha.ca/ or pick up a copy of Leah Kostamo’s Planted, a Story of Creation, Calling and Community.
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