Shalom Mennonite now is a
Certified Cool Congregation
Through Interfaith Power and Light, across the country, people of faith are making changes in their homes and places of worship to prevent global warming through the Cool Congregations program. This stewardship program helps congregations reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities and engages their members in reducing their carbon footprint at home. The program educates, inspires, and saves money too!
Dagne Assefa Park August 22, 2021
Shalom dedicated the church playground and woods trail to Dagne Assefa, who was a long-time pastor of Shalom Mennonite Church and advocate for those who live in the church neighborhood.
Memorial tree planting August 21, 2021
A record 179 homicides in Indianapolis was set in 2017. In 2018 and 2019 178 and 172 were recorded. Then in 2020, the Circle City set a grim record of 245 homicides, 37% more than in any previous year. Unfortunately, the trend continues. July (2021) was the most violent month in the history of Indianapolis with 32 people murdered, and dozens more shot and stabbed. As of August 11, Indianapolis had 873 people shot, stabbed, or both, with 163 people murdered. The Fraternal Order of Police calculates that Indianapolis could see a jaw-dropping 275 to 300 homicides this year!
Indianapolis has not stood alone in the dramatic increase in violent crime. Time magazine reported that nationwide, more than 19,000 people were killed by gun violence and firearm-related incidents in 2020. The highest number in more than 20 years.
Shocking and disappointing statistics… But for many just random numbers referred to in the news. That changed for us Sunday morning November 22, 2020, upon receiving a phone call from a church friend informing us that his 29-year-old son had been murdered. It happened about two miles from the neighborhood where he grew up and attended church. In the 2020 homicide database, our friend was number 189. What we thought could never happen to us, or at least what we hoped would not happen changed in a moment. This time it was our friend, not a random number in a database.
Recent years have brought a wave of violence to Indianapolis that carried our friend away. The COVID-19 crisis caused us to postpone a memorial event. We heard reports of balloon releases done to remember lost loved ones. At Shalom Mennonite Church we decided to plant a memorial tree. Our friend came from Ohio. We hope the Ohio Buckeye tree we planted will remind us of the life of our friend, of what might have been, and will continue to challenge us to work for change in our city.
The creation care committee works to provide a community setting of nature and beauty for both the Shalom congregation and neighborhood. We are restoring a forest in an urban setting to provide educational opportunities as well as ecological stewardship.
Shalom woods trail
In 2020 a long-awaited project was finally completed. A couple of years ago there were summer activities for youth at Shalom. As a part of that effort, we thought we could create a trail through the woods on the East side of the Shalom property. With the help of some church members we “blazed” a trail through the woods so the children could have some up close and personal interaction with nature. The trail wends its way past Ash, Beech, Black Cherry, Cottonwood, Maple, Oak, and Sycamore trees, a large granite boulder, and numerous other plants, including the ever-present invasive plants that we continue to try to control. About 12 yards of wood chip mulch were ground from the invasive plants removed from the northwest corner of our campus. That mulch was placed on the trail to make it more easily accessible year-round.
Northwest campus restoration project
A new project is underway to remove invasive plants at the Northwest corner of the Shalom property. One of our church members remembers walking through the area in the late 1990’s, when it was almost completely clear. The first stage of clearing, yielded an impressive pile of cuttings. Thanks to the effort on a hot summer Saturday in early June, 2020 of a number of Shalom “senior citizens” reduced the accumulated brush to about 12 cubic yards of wood chips that were used on our woods trail.
Plastic cap collection
Invasive plant removal
Solar array installation