[Diocese of Atlanta] St. Francis’ Episcopal Church, Macon, was named Congregation of the Year by Georgia Interfaith Power and Light March 1 for its efforts to be “a community of creation keepers in all aspects of congregational life.”
GIPL’s Executive Director Alexis Chase said people of St. Francis’ concentrate their green work in many areas:
• from what they buy, to what they sell in their bookstore;
• from what they grow in their garden to how they use the garden in educational programs;
• from how they treat their grounds to how they manage the carbon footprint of their buildings;
• and from how they manage their recycling and composting program to how they engage in cooperative efforts within the larger community. Through will and determination, St. Francis has created innovative ways to care for creation.
More about St. Francis’
St. Francis has always had a creation care ethos and thus their environmental stewardship approach is fourfold: biblical, contemplative, active and communal, which permeates all aspects of congregational life.
This past year, along with encouraging a biblical and contemplative life, St. Francis, with the unequivocal support of their rector, the Rev. Chad Vaughn, actively tackled energy efficiency. Thanks to a second GIPL matching grant they are upgrading windows, upgrading lighting, adding motion sensors, new thermostats, replacing worn out doors and adding weather stripping.
St. Francis’ has also enhanced its vegetable garden, with the help of its gardening guild, the Merry Gardeners. The garden, originally planted in 2010, was recently expanded into two large vegetable gardens with a new efficient watering system. Every Sunday compostable materials are collected for the church’s composting bins and then used to help grow okra, corn, greens, broccoli, squash, tomatoes and other vegetables.
The garden is also used in outreach community ministries and educational programs.
The St. Francis ecumenical bookstore only carries fair-trade products. The church office only uses recycled office paper and environmentally friendly cleaning products. They stopped using Styrofoam materials, and they manage their grounds around the parish in such a way as to conserve their status as a “wildlife sanctuary.”
St. Francis has developed an environmental stewardship statement that says all “human beings are called by God to be earth’s stewards.”
All winners of the 2012 Gippy Awards are featured here.