Solar Church

Yesterday our congregation, First Presbyterian
Church of Jeffersonville, dedicated our first solar array: 48 panels, 12.96 kW
of generating power. 

Never having done this before, we sort of made
up what you do when you consecrate solar panels. First Don gave a lovely sermon
about the importance of acting as “conservators” of creation, based
on Proverbs 27:23-27, “know well the condition of your flocks and
herds.” Then I gave a “moment for ministry” (listen here) about the project. Then, we all
gathered outside. We read the first part of Psalm 19, which describes the sun
as a “strong man running his course with joy.” When the time came for
laying on of hands, red and yellow streamers were tossed down from the panels
for everyone to grasp as we said this prayer:


Creator God, we thank you for these solar panels,

   for the people whose generosity and
resourcefulness have made it possible for us to have them,

   for those who designed and installed them,

   for the power they will provide

   and for this church home which they will serve.

Bless us with vision and energy for change

      as we care for the earth and
for each other,

   in the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy


Then we sang (what else?) “This Little
Light of Mine.”

Two Louisville television stations, WHAS and
WAVE, were on hand. Here is WAVE’s story.
And here is last night’s great report on WHAS. 

Our congregation is very grateful to the Indiana
Office of Energy Development, who provided the grant to help fund this project;
to Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, who applied for the grant on our
behalf along with four other congregations in Gary, Merrillville, Indianapolis,
and Bloomington; to members who contributed; to our installers at Third Sun Solar; and to leaders with the vision and energy to
bring this about.

Hoosier IPL structures such grants to maximize
their benefits. Among other things, we have committed to several actions to
fulfill the grant: we will strive to reduce our electricity and gas usage by
25%; our members will also conserve energy in their homes; we will host some
events highlighting energy conservation and renewable energy for our neighbors
and neighboring churches.

Our first solar forum will take place this
Wednesday evening, November 18, with a chili supper at the church (222 Walnut,
Jeffersonville, IN) followed by a presentation by Darrell Boggess from SIREN in
Bloomington about the benefits of solar energy.

Soon I will continue the conversation on rethinking scripture….

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