Practicing What We Preach
The Faith Communities provided visible support to ratify a global climate change agreement in Paris last year, particularly with the powerful endorsement of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ (On How We Care for Our Common Home). But our church is doing much more: we are putting words into action and leading by example.
Newman Congregational Church is an historic church, dating from 1810, at 100 Newman Avenue in East Providence. The church itself is a two-story, wood-frame structure perched on a high brick basement. We describe our congregation as “an inclusive Christian community dedicated to living Jesus’ message of love, peace, and justice through joyful worship, compassionate service, radical hospitality and responsible stewardship.” As a “Cool Congregation”, we work to reduce carbon pollution, beginning with having National Grid/RISE insulate the pipes in the boiler room. The $1400 cost was partially offset with a $500 grant from the RI Energy Challenge. The relatively inexpensive pipe insulation has reduced our gas usage by 14 per cent. The result is $1,300 in annual energy savings and reduction of emissions of 4.6 tons of carbon emissions!
Coupled with our previous energy conservation and efficiency efforts, including the installation of a panel of solar photovoltaic cells on the Memorial Hall roof, our Newman congregation is in the running for national awards and recognition, including the national Cool Congregation Award and United Church of Christ’s Green Justice Church. But, most importantly of all, this installation helps our efforts to be good stewards of God’s Creation and helps the Church’s budget planning. I encourage fellow RI IPL members who would like more information about how to “green” their Houses of Worship to contact me, as we are eager that our experience should help others.