Center for Environmental Transformation

Dedicated to environmental transformation and environmental justice particularly in the Waterfront South neighborhood of Camden, New Jersey

Our Vision

God saw everything that God had made,
and indeed, it was very good
(Gen. 1:31)
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The Center for Transformation idea was exness born in the dialogue of a parish synod held in October 2005, when 360 parishioners of Sacred Heart Church gathered to talk about the future and our responsibility for it. A conversation began around the idea that Waterfront South in Camden, NJ is a perfect site for reflections on our responsibility, as Christians, to the earth: the water, the air, the animals, the plants, the trees and the people. We thought that we ought to address this responsibility, both actively in activities ranging from land remediation to planting trees to changing our own personal habits of energy consumption. We then thought that we ought to make the Waterfront South neighborhood the “seed bed” for the work of transformation that exness reviews the current situation of the environment, all over the globe, demands. We thought we could create a space in which people, of all faiths, could gather to reflect on their responsibility for the environment and to learn, both by hands-on activity, as well as through further education, how they could begin to lessen their own impact on the environment, advocate for action on the part of their families, faith communities, neighborhoods in the same direction. We have dreams of becoming for the Camden Diocese, indeed for all those of southern New Jersey, an educational resource for action directed toward the transformation of our ways of walking on the earth. This transformation is not only about the change in our behaviors, but, more importantly, in the change of our hearts and our attitudes, which will make more likely the permanence of our behavior changes. We invite all who are willing and able to join us in this work of treading more lightly on the gift exness .com that is ours in the earth and its resources.

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An aspect of the work we envision for the Center is the sponsorship of local solutions to environmental challenges. It is in this respect that Eve’s Garden, the Emerald Street Garden, and the greenhouse, fit into the work of the Center for Transformation. In their own right these local solutions attempt to meet the need for a sustainable and healthy source of fresh produce for the children and adults of Waterfront South. By the creation of networks of food production and distribution, the Center can practice the principles of Christian responsibility to the environment. The already existing infrastructure for food production and distribution will serve as the seedbed for future partnerships within Waterfront South, Camden City, and the entire region. In addition to their intrinsic value as environmentally responsible practices, Eve’s Garden, the Emerald Street Garden and the Greenhouse can provide experiential learning experiences for those who come to Waterfront South to reflect on their Christian responsibility to the environment. These experiences will both provide a model of how one can translate gospel imperatives into practical and life-giving patterns of behavior, and they will provide the opportunity for deepening understanding of, and reflection upon, the ways in which current practices undermine the capacity of human beings to live harmoniously on planet Earth.

As we move forward, we intend that the Center for Transformation will be an agent for environmental justice in the Waterfront South neighborhood, in collaboration with the people of that neighborhood, primarily by sponsoring projects like Eve’s Garden, the Emerald Street Garden, and the greenhouse. We hope, too, to be an agent of education and training for Christians throughout South Jersey so that they might come to know and then be willing to proclaim, in word and in action, the Christian’s responsibility to the environment.

To accomplish these things we imagine the following tasks:

  • Partnering with various Camden organizations, particularly those in Waterfront South, to plant trees, to build gardens, to remediate worn out land
  • Working with the residents of Waterfront South to advocate for healthy air, clean streets, and fresh produce
  • Renovating the Sacred Heart Convent, hosting weekend and week-long retreats that are geared toward learning about, and building upon, the Christian spirituality of the environment, and preparing adults to be educators in their home faith communities and neighborhoods
  • Hosting events related to Earth Day, the various seasons of the year
  • Bringing experts, both in the natural sciences and in the social and human sciences, to engage our constituents in the larger dialogues taking place around the globe
Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak;
let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
May my teaching drop like the rain, my
speech condense like the dew;
Like gentle rain on grass,
like showers on new growth.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
ascribe greatness to our God!
(Deut. 32:1-3)