The greener side of life

Federated Community Church increased insulation in three attics from an R10 to an R48 and added insulation in the wall space between the sandstone exterior and plaster interior of the more-than-one-hundred year-old sanctuary building.

Federated Community Church in Flagstaff, AZ has a history of being very intentional about environmental stewardship. In addition to gaining congregational support for energy efficiency improvements (and solar panels, a project currently underway) at the church building itself, the church has hosted and sponsored many programs that have raised awareness about climate change and actions individuals can take to lessen their impact on the planet.

One such program that the church hosted in the spring was the “Earth Care Fair,” an annual event coordinated by an organization that originated at Federated Church, the Shared Earth Network. This community-wide interfaith environmental advocacy group has provided multiple opportunities for education and action regarding environmental stewardship, and the Earth Care Fair took the message to the next level as a “zero waste event.” Recycling and composting bins were available, a vegan lunch was served to over 100 people, the tableware used was either the church’s permanent tableware, much of which was purchased earlier this year to use at all fellowship events, but also compostable utensils, plates, and bowls.

Another program hosted at Federated Church was the Weatherization and Community Building Action Team’s presentation on energy efficiency, also held in the spring, which provided an opportunity for the congregation and community to sign up for the local gas company’s revolving loan fund (which allows individuals to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes at no upfront cost).

Federated Church also held a “Fighting Goliath” screening in February, which included a discussion about ways to lessen electricity usage at home, as well as encouraging the use of solar panels; some congregants have expressed interest in, or already have, solar panels at home. In September, the church hosted a Cool Harvest vegetarian/vegan potluck and screened the film “Nourish.” The discussion revolved around ways individuals can change their eating habits and where they purchase their produce and animal products from to help lessen their impact upon the land (and thus lessen the resulting pollution that affects world climate change).

In addition to programs, the church has a ministry team with an environmental focus that began in 1995 called “Christians for the Earth,” of which the Shared Earth Network serves as the “interfaith arm” and includes members of the community and other congregations joining together for common environmental purposes. All church members have recently been encouraged to take the “ecological footprint quiz” to help show them how many planet Earths would be needed for their lifestyle to be sustainable. The church also made the switch to greener cleaning products and advertised this change in the church newsletter. The photo features a presenter at the Earth Care Fair in Federated Church’s gathering hall with a solar oven in the foreground.

This Cool Congregations story was submitted by Federated Community Church, Flagstaff, Arizona


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