First Mennonite Church of San Francisco has a long-running Climate Action Group, and the chairpersons of two of its subcommittees have prepared reports on their groups’ recent activities. These climate activists know how to have fun! Thanks for the tips, first Mennos, and for taking the time to share your news.
Engaging voters through hand-written notes
With the approach of the 2020 election, the FMCSF Climate Action Group became convinced that there were few things more dangerous to our earth than politicians promoting falsehoods about the climate crisis and enacting policies based on those falsehoods. This inspired Steve Kusmer, a participant, to organize a VoteForward letter writing group.
Two years later for the 2022 general election, Steve recruited Jim Lichti to co-sponsor the group. For both elections, the group also wrote letters for the run-off in Georgia. Regular participants came not only from FMCSF’s Climate Action Group, but also from the wider congregation and beyond. Our accomplishment: thousands of voters in swing states across the country received our handwritten and personally composed letters. Some of the elements that made the group effective and fun were:
- the strict one-hour timeframe for each meeting,
- engaging short political videos curated by Steve,
- the raffle that concluded each hour (prize: 20 stamps!),
- the relaxed flow between friendly chatter and focused writing, and
- the table at our annual retreat this past September where children and adults could decorate the envelopes.
The elections also provided a sense of accomplishment: they confirmed that a majority of our country’s citizens are profoundly concerned about both the climate crisis and threats to our democracy. – Jim Lichti, FMCSF
Breaking up with your bank
First Mennonite Church of San Francisco offers ongoing “Break Up With Your Bank” action groups. Congregants are encouraged to align their banking with their values and stop funding the fossil fuel industry and the death and destruction that goes with it.
Members receive and offer support in the logistics of leaving their current big bank and opening accounts in smaller community banks or credit unions that pursue different investment strategies.
Serious causes dictate the need to have fun, so they end their Zoom gatherings with their favorite “break up” music videos. – Helen Stoltzfus, FMCSF
MCCN found these related resources:
From Capitol Monitor: Banks Still Supporting Fossil Fuels to the Tune of Billions
From the Small Footprint Family: How Joining a Credit Union Can Help the Planet