Montview Cares for Creation
At Montview Church, we have a strong commitment to being an active and caring part of God’s creation. This is the spiritual foundation for our Caring for Creation/ Sustainability ministry at Montview. Living in sustainable ways is not just about doing the right thing from a political, environmental, or ethical standpoint. At the deepest level, it’s about seeing the abundance already in our lives. It’s about experiencing God’s abundant love, and sharing it with one another – whether it’s stuff, our time or our hearts.
The “Green Team” was created at Montview in 2006, and since then we have made many changes around the building and in the lives of our congregation. We have instituted a comprehensive recycling program, with bins throughout the church, and a large, single-stream receptacle in our South parking lot. Our youngest members have posted signs on all light switches to remind us to turn off the lights. We have planted trees and hosted a Sustainability Expo in observance of Earth Day. We have made New Year’s Resolutions to make changes in our own lives which help protect and heal the earth. And for the summer of 2009, our worship theme was “Season of Creation”.
During the “Season of Creation”, we focused on tasting, touching, hearing, smelling, and feeling God alive in Creation. Our congregation was encouraged to experience living things in new ways, and to discover what it is to care through the eyes of faith. Sermons, songs and prayers were all Creation themed, and the church participated in an outside communion. We offered educational field trips to a xeriscaping demonstration garden, a local organic farm, and a backyard habitat to learn about the preservation of local wild bird species. We had a book study on An Alter in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor; a book which reminds its readers to find the sacred in simple daily activities. It was a beautiful summer filled with opportunities to re-connect with the earth.
Toward a Sustainable Building
Montview Church, originally built in the 1920’s, has some real energy efficiency challenges. For over ten years, members of our Building and Grounds committee, have labored – light bulb by light bulb – to save thousands of dollars for Montview, and have helped heal the earth. They have been ‘light years’ ahead of their time, installing compact fluorescent light bulbs all over the church, and employing low energy lighting in the sanctuary, and elsewhere. The results have been astounding.
Here are the numbers. Montview has saved, and is saving, over $13,000.00 a year, compared to what our utility bill would have been without their efforts! Every dollar saved is a “god-send” to Montview, and every pound of carbon not emitted into the atmosphere, is a gift to God’s creation.
In addition to updating our lighting, they have attacked many other areas of inefficiency. They have started to add occupancy sensors in some of our large meeting rooms, replaced an old electric water heater with a tank-less gas water heater, and changed most of our toilets to new low-flow versions (the project was completed with no $$ from Montview)!
The largest project is ahead of us. The church is restoring and adding storm windows or double panes to 69 windows on the second floor of the education wing. This is only the beginning, as Montview has at least 276 windows – not including the Sanctuary. As the project moves to the third floor and into the Memorial Building in future years many of the windows will be in rooms that are air conditioned. The window improvements in these areas will also involve electricity savings from reduced need for air conditioning in the summer, possibly doubling the energy savings.
The Green Team maintains a continued presence at Montview and operates as a resource for other programs and ministries. Our goal is to weave aspects of sustainable practice into the daily routine of the church. We publish a monthly column in the Montview Messenger entitled Creation Corner, full of helpful tips for our congregation at home. We encourage participation in locally and nationally sponsored environmental activities. And, we continue to try to find ways for Montview to be good stewards of the earth.
There are plans for classes on topics such as cooking with local, in-season ingredients, composting, and efficiency home improvements. And, there is discussion around creating a youth-maintained vegetable garden. If you are interested in being part of the Montview Green Team, please contact:
Resources for Further Involvement
Presbyterian Church U.S.A., Environmental Ministries
100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(888) 728-7228, x5624
Website – http://www.pcusa.org/environment/
400 S Williams St
Denver, CO 80209
Website – www.eco-justice.org
Colorado Interfaith Power and Light
P. O. Box 46017
Denver, CO 80201-6017
Office: (303) 429 5792 (new number, replaces 303 747 6950)
Website – http://www.coiplnew.com/
Heifer Project International
1 World Avenue
Little Rock, AR/USA 72202
Tel.: (800) 422-0474
Website – http://www.heifer.org/
Church World Services
28606 Phillips Street
P.O. Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515
Phone: 800-297-1516 or 574-264-3102
Website – http://www.churchworldservice.org