Community Voices - Steve Hammond

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Steve Hammond has been Co-Pastor of Peace Community Church in Oberlin for 33 years, along with his wife Mary. Steve and Mary are both Protestant Chaplain Affiliates for the Oberlin College Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. Steve was the youngest of 18 children in his family. He enjoys running and hanging out with his grandchildren.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

A: Friendly, historical, trees, Tappan Square, the church, campus, certain people that I know just being here. I just think Tappan Square is the greatest place in the world. I try to get into Tappan Square every day if I can. One of the things I like about Oberlin is that it is such a historic place, that’s another reason I like Tappan Square, you sense the history of this place as you’re walking through there. I think the trees in this town are amazing, I love it when the leaves are off the trees in the winter and you can see how many trees there are. There are a lot of people in this town I respect and I’m glad these people live here.

Q: If you defined “sustainability” for your own life, how would you do that?

A: I think sustainability means that I am conscious of things being limited. Sustainability is trying to preserve the future.

Q: What actions are you engaged in that relate to sustainability?

A: I made a conscious decision to be a vegetarian for sustainability reasons. It doesn’t make sense to be feeding animals all that stuff so I can eat them. We bought a Prius. We keep our heat down to 60 degrees when we are working at home so we are often cold, but you can always put more layers on.  We’ve done all of the light bulb things, put in high efficiency furnace, put in new storm windows to cut down on our energy consumption. I take showers and use as little water as I can, turning it off when I am rinsing and stuff. We don’t keep lights on, we recycle.

Q: What kind of sustainable activities does the church engage in?

A: There are a lot of people within the church who do personal stuff. As far as the building itself, we have done the energy audit, we put in a new furnace, as efficient as we could. I would love to have solar panels on the roof, but I just don’t see how it can happen in that building. People are committed for economic reasons as well as sustainability reasons but we keep the sanctuary heat down low during the week, we don’t need to have the heat up past 50 degrees.

Q: How do you feel that these actions are important?

A: You hope that the efforts people make, as more and more people do more and more efforts, it’s going to help this snowball get going to even bigger issues that we can take on in this society.  But I guess I am a thousand points of light person.

Q: Is there anything you would like to tell your fellow community members regarding care for the environment or sustainable living?

A: Think very consciously about what we have, and that we can lose that so easily. We can take responsibility. We can help. We should be so about this community, which in its past has been a leader in important issues in our country. Once again Oberlin can be about saving the world. And we should be so excited, so supportive, so helpful, so hopeful about these next twenty years in this town and what we can help create. Awareness and education is so important, and getting people in touch with each other.

Q: Can you explain a little more about Oberlin’s history of “changing the world?”

A: You go back to anti-slavery days, when people thought that slavery could never be ended. There were people in places like Oberlin that thought, “We can start working on this” there’s a movement that can get going. Think about gay rights and women’s rights, all of those issues have been so hard and seem so intractable and seem like they’re never going to change. Oberlin has taken a stand and things have changed. Civil rights movement, all of those things, Oberlin has been a part of that. We look at the environmental stuff going on and you wonder, how is this going to change? It’s going to change because some people rise up and make a change and Oberlin has been good at rising up and making people see a change can be made.

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Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton Rapids, Michigan. She is a Bonner Leader, a member of the Interfaith Student Council and a co-leader of Girls in Motion.



Photographer Info: Yvette Chen is a photographer for the Dashboard Project who is interested in the power of media and images. Originally from Princeton Junction, New Jersey, Yvette is a first year student at Oberlin College planning to study sociology and economics. Other than photography, in her spare time, she enjoys cooking and running through Ohio's rural landscapes.

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Guest March 15, 2017

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Anita Peebles
Anita Peebles is a 3rd year Religion and Environmental Studies major from Eaton
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