Peace Lutheran Church in Bowling Green recently installed solar panels along the south side of their building –“they look great and they are operating great!” Using a web based application, the church can access productivity reports and view real time energy activity. Peace expects up to 25% utility savings to be applied toward other ministries!
The grant will fund a variety of stormwater management practices installed at the church over the next several months. Those practices will include permeable pavers in the parking lot that will allow water from storm events to soak into the sandy ground at the church instead of flowing into the storm drains and bio retention areas behind the church and convent to allow the roof water to collect into basins and drain into the sandy soil instead of running off to the nearest sewer.
Catholic teachings have always stressed the importance of care for the environment. The Catholic Conference of Ohio, which represents each Catholic diocese in the state, has an environmental stewardship campaign, Environmental Justice Program, and an environmental issues awareness website, Care for Creation. The programs aim to reflect the religious, stewardship, and moral values that are central to Catholic teachings and faith. All of the programs work to encourage involvement and issue awareness.
First Unitarian Church of Cleveland has been recognized as a Certified Cool Congregation by national Interfaith Power and Light. Driven by a common mandate to be good stewards of Creation, the first 20 Certified Cool Congregations averaged 42% greenhouse gas reductions, showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way. In announcing the first twenty congregations to receive this recognition, The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, says, “These congregations are leading the way. They are putting their faith into action and bringing moral responsibility to the forefront of the movement to protect the climate.”
Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church in Seville, Ohio, has a moderate sized congregation with roughly two hundred members attending each Sunday. Though a small congregation, they are still concerned with environmental issues and have started an organization to promote awareness
Common Ground Church Community is an Earth Care Congregation that was started by Steve Fortenberry. At first, it was a small home study group that was outreach oriented. During their house church stage there were approximately 10 people, but as the church grew Steve recognized the need for a new church development to fill the need for corporate worship, as well as the programming it could provide. In the fall of 2004, members were interested in purchasing property to build the Common Ground church. In 2005, Common Ground received their church charter and in 2006 purchased land in North Lima to make a place of their own. The faith community built their church on a 30-acre lot that was previously a garden center. They chose the site because they believed they could steward the site and create a blessing to the community. From this site Goodness Grows was formed, which, indeed, became an inspiration and a true blessing to the community.
Since the late 1970’s, Forest Hill Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights has been working on energy conservation and environmental awareness. Starting out with a focus on energy efficiency in their building, the church has also developed environmental values. Forest Hill Church’s mission statement for Earth care is “Care of the Earth… is achieved through encouragement and education, enabling change within our individual lifestyle, church and greater community.” They focus on encouraging the individual all the way to working with the community as a whole.
Longtime member, David Hunter, has been improving the building’s energy efficiency for many years. He has been a pillar in the church’s efforts to conserve energy for the past 30-40 years, with a significant focus the past 10-12 years.
Environmental stewardship at The First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, located in Columbus, first got started when global warming was just beginning to be taken seriously. “On April 17, 2007, at the monthly meeting of the Missions Commission, a sub-committee of eight members was formed to engage the congregation in environmental stewardship of the earth,” says Dawn George, the lead committee member. The committee decided to name itself Sacred Earth. The first project of the committee was to raise awareness about ways each person can conserve the earth’s resources. The next action was to begin selling Fair Trade Products through the United Church of Christ Coffee Project.
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne County recently (Jan, 2012) hosted a forum on the ethics of Earth stewardship, entitled Climate and Agricultural Ethics: Winds and Seeds of Change. This unique community lecture featured Calvin DeWitt, an ecologist and author, and David Kline, a local Amish farmer and author. Inspiring a discussion of how to be environmental stewards in the spirit of one’s faithful calling, both presenters spoke of the responsibility of caring for the earth—“as the earth serves us, we must return with service of our own”. When asked if he has seen changes on his farm due to climate change, David Kline noted, “I am an observer of things, and I can say things are different”. Both challenged the audience to “do what you can where you are—make the changes in your own setting; be faithful, not successful.”