[Province 1] Province 1 has launched an educational campaign encouraging energy reduction at the 675 churches in New England. “Turn off the lights, for God’s sake” supports a growing church-wide stewardship ministry as more and more Episcopalians care for God’s Creation by decreasing energy use and choosing renewable energy sources, according to a press release.
The Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane, bishop of Maine and Province 1 vice-president, remarked: “The stewardship of our energy use opens us to the greater stewardship of our care for God’s creation. Our overuse of carbon-based resources to sustain our lifestyles not only threatens us with higher fuel bills, but also threatens the sustainability of all life on our island home.”
As many churches have discovered, reducing energy use is a wise financial move. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that even modest projects like installing programmable thermostats, compact fluorescent lights and weather-stripping can reduce congregational energy costs by up to 30 percent.
Dr. Letitia Naigles, chair of St. John’s (Vernon, Connecticut) Environmental Stewardship committee said, “We at St. John’s like to mix practical energy efficiency with committed caring for God’s creation. By investing in programmable thermostats and 117 energy-saving light fixtures, we cut our energy usage by 15-22 percent, saved over $1,000 per year on energy costs, and reduced our carbon footprint by 5 tons.”
In 2011, the Province 1 bishops created an energy stewardship ministry to help more congregations develop and expand this work. The “Turn off the lights, for God’s sake” informational campaign is designed to directly reach out to churches to provide relevant stewardship resources. All congregations will get a mailing which includes The Episcopal Church’s guide for congregational energy stewardship, a getting started checklist, and “Turn off the lights, for God’s sake” stickers for light switches and other spots.
The updated Province 1 website now offers a variety of online resources for congregations including:
- A forum to share success stories, ask questions and learn about other environmental ministries;
- A poll, to register a congregation’s intention to begin or expand this ministry;
- A Turn off the lights, for God’s sake poster;
- Listing of eco-justice organizations, state and local funding opportunities;
- Practical tips for energy audits: and
- A sample press release.
The Rev. Stephanie M. Johnson, the Province 1 energy stewardship minister, noted that “As churches consider how to get involved, they are encouraged to remember that every effort, large or small, expresses gratitude for God’s bounty and our church’s commitment to be faithful steward of those blessings.” She continued, “Yes, even turning off a light can be a simple faithful act.”
Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.