Shalom Mennonite Church Joins Network of Solar Congregations
Shalom Mennonite Church in Indianapolis, Indiana has cut their emissions in half with solar panels! They were inspired to action by Marilyn Teel, a dedicated member of the congregation.
Marilynn Teel brought a passion for the environment along when she joined Shalom Mennonite some time ago. She soon had a cadre of like-minded “Shalomites” gathered to form a Green Team. The group decided to seek enough solar panels to completely meet the electric needs of the facility. While there was latent interest in caring for Mother Earth in the congregation, it took a spark plug like Marilynn Teel coming in to get everyone going. She rallied the troops and kept beating the drum, even when things didn’t seem to be going anywhere at all.
Marilyn became interested in solar for congregations when she was part of the Creation Care Team of another church that was part of the Eastside Creation Care Network, which is part of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, an affiliate of the Interfaith Power & Light national network. Through this alliance she met green team members from other congregations and learned about solar from Ray Wilson and the five other congregations in the group who have solar. These congregations shared their journey to solar and the benefits of clean energy from a faith and economic perspective, and encouraged Shalom to join their ranks of solar congregations.
Get connected with your Interfaith Power & Light state affiliate, click here.
The Shalom Green Team began making plans for a solar installation in 2016 and discovered they needed a new roof as part of the upgrade. Just when they were ready to get started, their pastor retired, and that put everything on hold.
Shalom wisely gathered together a coalition of several commissions within the church to accomplish their goals. The Green Team became part of the Outreach Commission and worked with the Building Committee which is part of the Administrative Commission.
They kept at it and the panels were installed and operational by November of 2019. They produce 100% of the approximately 35,000 kWh of electricity needed by the congregation and even a little bit more which goes back to the grid.
After an $80,000 investment in the new roof and panels, they are saving approximately $3,300 a year
Shalom also received support and encouragement from the Mennonite Creation Care Network, (MCCN) an organization that works with congregations encouraging them to claim their biblical and theological foundation regarding the care of God’s Creation and to act faithfully to restore the Earth. Shalom is a now a Green Patchwork congregation of MCCN. They receive publications and educational curriculum guides which have been used for Sunday school studies, and news of other inspiring congregations who have also acted to care for Creation.
Shalom Mennonite takes satisfaction in knowing that they are setting an example in reducing their reliance on fossil fuels, not only for themselves, but also their neighborhood. Since installing solar panels at the church, two additional church families have done so on their own homes.