Monday, November 16, 2015

Solar Church

Yesterday our congregation, First Presbyterian Church of Jeffersonville, dedicated our first solar array: 48 panels, 12.96 kW of generating power. 

Never having done this before, we sort of made up what you do when you consecrate solar panels. First Don gave a lovely sermon about the importance of acting as "conservators" of creation, based on Proverbs 27:23-27, "know well the condition of your flocks and herds." Then I gave a "moment for ministry" (listen here) about the project. Then, we all gathered outside. We read the first part of Psalm 19, which describes the sun as a "strong man running his course with joy." When the time came for laying on of hands, red and yellow streamers were tossed down from the panels for everyone to grasp as we said this prayer:
Creator God, we thank you for these solar panels,
   for the people whose generosity and resourcefulness have made it possible for us to have them,
   for those who designed and installed them,
   for the power they will provide
   and for this church home which they will serve.
Bless us with vision and energy for change
      as we care for the earth and for each other,
   in the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Then we sang (what else?) "This Little Light of Mine."

Two Louisville television stations, WHAS and WAVE, were on hand. Here is WAVE’s story. And here is last night’s great report on WHAS. 

Our congregation is very grateful to the Indiana Office of Energy Development, who provided the grant to help fund this project; to Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, who applied for the grant on our behalf along with four other congregations in Gary, Merrillville, Indianapolis, and Bloomington; to members who contributed; to our installers at Third Sun Solar; and to leaders with the vision and energy to bring this about.

Hoosier IPL structures such grants to maximize their benefits. Among other things, we have committed to several actions to fulfill the grant: we will strive to reduce our electricity and gas usage by 25%; our members will also conserve energy in their homes; we will host some events highlighting energy conservation and renewable energy for our neighbors and neighboring churches.

Our first solar forum will take place this Wednesday evening, November 18, with a chili supper at the church (222 Walnut, Jeffersonville, IN) followed by a presentation by Darrell Boggess from SIREN in Bloomington about the benefits of solar energy.

Soon I will continue the conversation on rethinking scripture....

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