Portland Avenue Presbyterian Church Goes Green

Portland Avenue Presbyterian Church’s  redevelopment in the Louisville neighborhood of Portland is about “more than building a church.”  Rev. Willa Fae Williams shared this as we talked in a trailer across from the former site of Portland Avenue PC.  On January 16, 2009 the 116 year old church burned in a fire.  Only the church bell tower remains from the original structure.IMG_1033

Rev. Williams has been using a gived trailer as her office.  Outside a banner reads “Be Not Afraid,” quoting Isaiah 43: 1-3.  The banner was given to the church by Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church as a message of hope.  

The church’s redevelopment is full of hope: for the congregation, for the neighborhood, and for the God’s earth.  After originally planning to rebuild the church on the same site, the church decided to purchase a former Kroger grocery store next door, renovate it according to green practices, and lease space to Portland Avenue Community Trust and other community agencies.  In addition to space for the church, the building will house a clothes closet, food pantry, senior activities, and counseling services.

The project has sparked exciting partnerships within the community.  Portland Avenue PC has long had a partnership with nearby Portland Elementary School, and this will now grow to involve students in the Environmental Studies Magnet Program in environmental education.  The architect working on the church’s new building has agreed to educate fourth and fifth graders about the green development on the worksite.  The church is planning a community garden and students will serve as garden supervisors.

Portland Avenue PC is working toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.  LEED is a green building certification system from the US Green Building Council.  The system sets standards for environmentally sustainable building construction, operation and maintenance. 

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