March 2012

Solar Power

Looking back at past Church Newsletter articles, there have been a few concerning caring for the environment generally and Solar Energy specifically.

One of the ways to explain what it means to be a fulfilled Christian is the ‘Five Marks of Mission’ that were adopted in the 1990’s by most denominations in the UK. One of these was “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”

The ‘integrity of creation’ is theological shorthand for all the good environmental practices that we tend to take for granted these days. It wasn’t that many years ago that reducing pollution, increasing recycling, using renewable sources of energy etc. were very controversial. These days there is a real argument on the best way to achieve these things, but, as such, few argue they are both good and necessary.

The Christian perspective on these environmental concerns - the integrity of creation - acknowledges that it is part of our Christian discipleship not only to be aware of the impact we are making though human activity on God’s creation but as stewards of creation, to be an active part of the solution to the many problems that confront us.

Well, it’s been a long time coming but at the end of November as part of this church’s effort to be an example of putting our holistic discipleship at the fore, we finally had the Solar Panels (Photo Voltaic Panels) installed. Instead of the almost £75,000 that it was originally estimated a few year ago the price had dropped to £33,000. There was a final rush at the end as the government changed the deadline for the Feed in Tariff, and we are still awaiting the display board, but we are already improving our carbon footprint. We are grateful to Cory Environmental in Rochford, Essex Environment Trust, ROSCA Trust, and the URC Eastern Synod for their generous support. It is estimated that the 9.8kw system will reduce our electricity usage by over two thirds.

Even though the Solar Panels are a great achievement they are only one step of many in safeguarding the integrity of creation. Both as a congregation and as individuals our stewardship of creation requires us to continue to take footsteps towards sustaining and renewing the life of the earth. I hope you’ll be part of this movement.

March 2012