Associate Rector Rev. Lisa Fry, Rev. Rector Danny Schieffler, and Curate Rev. Michael McCain at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church take a break for a photograph while local construction workers install solar panels on a church building.
By Rev. Steve Copley, Executive Director, Interfaith Arkansas
Ever since an Arkansas Solar Cooperative was formed two years ago, I have been looking forward to the day solar panels would be installed on a house of worship in Little Rock. That day came last month on Tuesday, September 6.
In 2014, Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light (which is the Environment Mission and Service Team of Interfaith Arkansas) worked with the Arkansas Renewable Energy Association, to establish the Arkansas Solar Cooperative so that those interested could take advantage of reduced costs through bulk purchasing of solar panels. Information sessions were held at houses of worship and community centers around the state. As a result, several people in the pews purchased panels for their rooftops.
In 2015, we again worked in collaboration to break ground on a cooperative solar garden in Scott, Arkansas. Through meter aggregation, utility customers without sunny south-facing rooftops could purchase solar panels in the garden. The power produced provides credits to their utility bills in town.
Now in 2016, ten solar panels have been installed on the roof of the Youth Building at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock. The installation was a cooperative effort of Arkansas Renewable Energy Association, Stellar Sun, Interfaith Arkansas, Arkansas Interfaith Power & Light, and ministries and members at St. Mark’s Church.
The panels are expected to produce a typical average of 313.3 kWh of electricity per month. The clean energy production is expected to reduce the church’s carbon footprint by an approximate 650 pounds of carbon emissions per month or roughly 4 tons per year.
The improvement is part of St. Mark’s commitment through its EcoMark Ministry to stewardship of the earth’s natural resources and protection of the planet’s fragile atmosphere.
Arkansas Interfaith Power & Light, Interfaith Power & Light at the national level, and Arkansas Renewable Energy Association donated seed money for the project. Stellar Sun offered a reduced installation cost to the church. Church members raised the remaining funds necessary for the project.
Creation Justice Ministries is a co-sponsor of the Food Week of Action. It begins this Sunday, October 9 and includes International Day for Rural Women (October 15), World Food Day on October 16, and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (October 17). As you may recall, in 2015, Creation Justice Ministries released the Christian Education resource "Sustainable Food in a Changing Climate." We encourage you to re-visit it this week!
The priority actions for this year’s Food Week advocate for fair wages and trade and land justice. Our faith calls us to work for a world where everyone has sufficient, healthy and culturally appropriate food! And where those who produce and prepare the food are fairly compensated, respected and celebrated!
The global Food Week of Action (October 9-17) is an opportunity for Christians around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. Beyond examining our food choices, we must also recognize the lingering roots of racism embedded in our food system, which was founded on slavery and plantation agriculture, and still exploits the environment and workers in the food chain. We call for societal and policy changes that bring us closer to realizing the right to food for everyone and positive transformation of the dominant system.
Check out the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s hub for all things Food Week.
Worship and Theological Resources
Bulletin Insert for Food Week
Food Week Liturgy
World Food Day Prayer
About this Blog
This blog shares the activities of Creation Justice Ministries. We educate and equip Christians to protect, restore, and rightly share God's creation.