Senior Warden Report April 2012
Grace Moves forward with Creation Stewardship by Dennis Belcher
Environmental Stewardship and Grace Episcopal Church
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created." Rev. 4:11
April 22 is Earth Day and many have deemed the month of April as Earth Month. We, at Grace Church, should take a few moments in April to fully recognize that our actions can begin to create a more “sustainable, compassionate economy and way of life”. At Grace Church we have a year round Stewardship effort, and it is important for us to consider what we can do to protect this kingdom God has placed under our stewardship.
So what do we do at Grace Church to be better stewards of our environment? Well, we do more than most of us realize. Some of our stewardship efforts include: energy saving sensors in the restrooms, programmable thermostats, asbestos-free tiles, and recycled paper, glass, and cans. One of my favorite efforts is the fact that we reuse our coffee grounds and other vegetable waste via compost. We also recycle as much of our paper as possible, including, any remaining bulletins. We use compact fluorescent lights where possible, and most of our lighting in building is fluorescent which is about four times more efficient than incandescent lighting. You will also note we do not use Styrofoam coffee cups or Styrofoam plates, but we encourage the use of reusable dishes or recyclable paper. As we have upgraded our appliances, our new appliances are much more environmentally sound. For example, our dishwater uses a minimal amount of water and operates in a very short cycle which saves energy and water.
In fact, the final rinse water is retained and used to wash the next load. As we replace other items in the church, environmental stewardship will continue to be part of the decision-making process. Even when we had to replace the top of the courtyard altar, it was replaced with one made of recycled glass.
What should we do in the future? We are all called to be stewards of God’s gifts to us, including, our environment, and the Episcopal Ecological Network challenges us to Reflect, Educate, and Act. I hope we will do this in April, and if you see something which needs some attention, please bring this to someone’s attention, for example, a vestry member. The Stewardship Committee is in the process of reviewing various environmental stewardship programs which may be implemented at Grace Church, including, EnergyStar for Congregations and GreenFaith’s Green Church Certification.
In the meantime, there will be various events in April which are directed toward Environmental Stewardship, including, two Sunday Forums and the spring preparation of the Lohman Prayer Garden at the Salvation Army. I know, many people at Grace Church are highly conscious of our environmental stewardship efforts, and I hope we, as a community of Christ, will actively seek ways to be better environmental stewards. No act is too small, and I hope we can work together in “honoring God's presence on this fragile earth.”