First Presbyterian Church, Jeffersonville, Indiana
November 16, 2016
From the Pope to the Southern Baptist Convention, faith leaders across the globe have issued urgent calls to care for God’s creation, our global neighbors and future generations by conserving energy. Hoosier congregations are answering these calls. Last year First Presbyterian Church joined five other faith communities from Gary to Jeffersonville in applying for state grant funds to install solar panels on their church roofs. These five congregations—a community church, a Baptist church, a Friends Community, a Disciples of Christ church and First Presbyterian—installed more than 58 kW of solar panels, enough to supply one-third to one-half of each church’s electrical power.
But it’s not all about solar. Members of First Prez, as it’s affectionately called, have worked for years to reduce the church’s energy bills—saving more money for its mission budget—by adding insulation, changing lighting, and installing high-efficiency HVAC and appliances. It plans to do more in coming months, including installing more solar panels. In addition, its members enrolled for home energy audits through Energizing Indiana and have been working to conserve energy at home. The church also celebrates creation in worship, hosts a winter farmer’s market, organizes electronic trash recycling, and sells fair trade organic products after worship.
Pastor Don Summerfield said of these efforts, “They exemplify the kind of holistic stewardship called for by our Christian faith and practice—stewardship of this world God made and gave us to call our home, and stewardship of the resources we’ve been given to use in bringing God’s good news to our neighbors near and far.”
The church’s green efforts got a big boost when they met Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, a creation care organization that works statewide to educate about environmental matters both practical and theological, and partners with all faith groups to help congregations establish green ministries, conserve energy in worship buildings and homes, and advocate statewide for policies that benefit Indiana’s environmental standing. Hoosier IPL also has helped First Prez and two dozen other congregations across the state acquire rooftop solar.
The Rev. Dr. Patricia Tull, founder of First Prez’s green team, began working for Hoosier IPL as program director when she saw how effective its energy conservation and other programs have been around the state. She said, “Our church felt virtually alone in our environmental efforts until Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light came along. We were excited to find partners all around Indiana who cared as passionately as we did about making sure the environment we leave to our children is as rich and beautiful as the one we inherited.”
In cooperation with Hoosier IPL, the congregation hosted a workshop called Using Energy Prudently—a practical workshop about the energy systems in worship buildings and the ways property committees, green teams, and other congregational leadership can make energy bill cuts as deep as 25 percent or more with simple technologies with relatively quick payback periods. The workshop took place in October at First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Ray Wilson, Hoosier IPL’s board vice chair and an expert in energy conservation and renewable energy who led the workshop, said, “Helping Indiana congregations conserve energy is some of the most rewarding work I have ever done. It is in my genes, as an engineer and environmental advocate, both to reduce waste and to save money.”
Rev. Dr. Patricia Tull, Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light
Today’s Focus: First Presbyterian Church of Jeffersonville
Let us join in prayer for:
First Presbyterian Church Staff of Jeffersonville
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Dear God, blessed are those who add to the harmony of your world and encourage others to do the same. Thank you for drawing us into the circle of your love. Amen.