Since 2015, the Green Team at St. Paul’s has promoted creation care as an integral part of living out our faith. We help discern and implement ways that church operations can become more environmentally sustainable; we encourage and empower fellow parishioners to make similar commitments to environmental stewardship in their own lives and in their particular ministries within our parish; we offer opportunities and resources to connect creation care with spirituality, to advocate for environmental issues in the public sphere, and to encourage a love and reverence for the natural world. Creation Care is a recognized ministry within the Episcopal Church.
Current and Ongoing Projects
- Earth Sunday—Earth Sunday is celebrated by many churches on a Sunday close to Earth Day, April 22. Using our own resources and suggestions from Interfaith Power & Light, St. Paul’s regularly observes Faith Action Climate Week.
- Season of Creation–this is a new season within the liturgical year, observed between World Day of Prayer for the Earth (Sept. 1st) and the Feast of St. Francis (Oct. 4th); it has become an integral part of our parish calendar. For three consecutive Sundays, we use prayers, music and even special vestments to lift up God’s Creation. Sermons reflect the Season and special events are usually scheduled.
- Additional outdoor worship services are periodically scheduled at other times throughout the warmer months.
- Educational outreach–we regularly host programs that aim to inform and inspire. As part of a recent Faith Action Climate Week we offered a screening of Youth v Gov, a film about the right of our young people to a liveable future.
- Parish Garden—the organically grown vegetables have been shared with parishioners, the local Community Pantry, and most recently with recent immigrants through our partnership with the International Institute of New England.
- Eco-Stewardship at church and at home
- The Green Team works with the Hospitality Committee to provide and use compostable paper products and flatware at social events. We compost these and all food leftovers with curbside pickup service from Black Earth Composting.
- We regularly promote earth-friendly ideas in the monthly parish newsletter and weekly emails.
- We support the annual parish Thrift Sale and ongoing recycling drives, whether organized by our own parish or by the town of Bedford. We affirm the need to reduce, reuse and recycle.
- We welcome the work of other groups within the congregation who are also seeking ways to care for creation. The Men’s Group has a robust program of study and action. We are honored to work with the organizers of special events like the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper as they work to make them fully compostable.
Major Projects from the Past
- Installation and dedication of a 12 kW solar panel array on rear-roof in 2015 that generates about 85% of the church’s annual electricity needs.
- Completion of an Environmental Stewardship Assessment by Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light to identify areas for future carbon footprint reduction.
- Installation of high-efficiency windows in the sanctuary, increased insulation, and LED lights in the parking lot, with the assistance of two Diocesan ‘Green Grants’ and funds from a recent Capital Campaign.
- Opt-up to 100% green and renewable electricity through the Bedford Community Choice Aggregation program.
- Implementation of a robust composting program (see above).
- Inauguration of the Parish Garden, providing opportunities for children and adults to interact with the natural world, reminding us all of God’s bounty.