How to Green Your Church
By Alex Newman
More and more Evangelicals are
transforming their worship and
ministry spaces into environmentally friendly places.
Although it would cost them $60,000 more than a con- ventional heating and air conditioning system, the congregation at Meadowlands Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Ancaster, Ont., voted unani- mously in favour of installing a geothermal system
for heating and cooling their new church.
After renting space for 15 years the congregation was building
a permanent home, but wanted to minimize its carbon footprint.
“We believe that the earth and its resources are the Lord’s,” explains Henry Brouwer, a member of Meadowlands, and retired
professor of environmental science and chemistry at nearby Redeemer University College.
PHOTO: BETHANY BAPTIST CHuRCH, OT TAWA
Going geothermal – which uses pumps to draw natural heat
from below ground through water/ethanol-filled pipes – was
just the ticket. The move also dramatically cut energy costs. In
the seven years since they moved in, utilities for the 19,000 sq ft
church have run between $11,000 and $13,000 annually – well
under a dollar per square foot.
Meadowlands is just one of many evangelical churches responding to the call to take better care of creation. It’s a call
that comes right from the top of many evangelical organizations
evidenced by the number of recent reports: 2002 Oxford Declaration on Global Warming, the 2009 Micah Declaration on Creation
Stewardship and Climate Change, Lausanne’s Conversation paper
of 2010 The Challenge of Environmental Stewardship, and the
2012 Christian Reformed Church Creation Stewardship Report,
to name a few.
And it only takes a nudge to get going at the grassroots level
as Kathryn Guindon of Greening Sacred Spaces ( www.greening-
sacredspaces.net), an organization that helps churches go green,
explains. “So many are conscientious recyclers at home, but just
never thought about it at church. So it doesn’t take much to get the
ball rolling, especially if clergy or church elders are supportive.”
One thing that can stall a congregation is the cost. That’s why
Guindon encourages churches to take the long view – money saved
through energy efficiency and water conservation can be turned
directly into outreach. That’s a real incentive for churches with a
strong mission mandate, she notes.