"Solar energy is a potential win/win for churches everywhere,” Elizabeth Scribner noted at a Diocesan Convention workshop. “Christians can help heal God’s creation while saving their churches money that would be better spent on ministries than utilities.”
As a member of the Diocesan Task Force for the Stewardship of Creation, I had the pleasure of introducing Elizabeth—who is also my wife—at the Task Force’s workshop on solar energy for churches. Elizabeth’s father, Sam Yates, our fellow parishioner at Cathedral Church of the Advent, founded Eagle Solar & Light in 2016 to provide solar energy and LED lighting to residences, businesses, nonprofits, and churches. While pursuing herPhD in Mathematics at UAB, Elizabeth serves as Eagle Solar & Light’s Technical Adviser.
At our Task Force’s workshop, Elizabeth demonstrated ways solar energy is already becoming pivotal to a sustainable future. First, she explained how solar energy works, on and off the grid. Next, she provided ideas for how churches might move towards solar energy.
Elizabeth not only “talks the talk” but also “walks the walk” as our home is powered by the sun! As readers ponder whether solar might be worth pursuing for their home, business, or church, I will illuminate the reasons our family decided to go solar.
As the executive director of Black Warrior Riverkeeper, I constantly witness fossil fuels polluting Alabama’s water, air, wildlife, and communities. Switching our home to solar was a natural reaction to that ubiquitous problem, as well as a way of saving money over time. Far more than professional or financial considerations, however, our faith was the main factor.
Elizabeth and I have been enriched by many Bible verses relating to the care of God’s Creation. Restoring Eden, a Christian environmental organization, has compiled a helpful list at restoringeden.org/bibleverses. But above all, we were inspired by God’s grace, that undeserved gift surpassing all others. Our gospel focus finds the cross and resurrection of Jesus ever and only at the center.
What does stewardship of creation mean to us in light of the Good News? How do we keep Jesus Christ our redeemer as the focus of this endeavor?
Being good stewards of creation is an example of bearing the fruits of the spirit. As we live in light of the gospel, we are increasingly concerned about the two great commandments that Jesus gave us: love of God and love of neighbor.As the poet Wendell Berry says, “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”
Humanity was not called to maintain creation in entirely original, pristine form. God created us as a part of nature, so we will have an impact on it. What kind of impact should we have? In my humble opinion, we are called to utilize the great gifts God has given us for our own survival and enjoyment in ways that do not diminish our current and future neighbors’ opportunities to do likewise.
Charles Scribner is a member of the Cathedral Church of the Advent and the Diocesan Task Force for the Stewardship of Creation. The Task Force exists to educate the people of the diocese, to promote eco-justice, and to provide opportunities for service in the stewardship of God’s creation. The Task Force meets bi-monthly to plan events, prepare educational and liturgical materials, and coordinate activities. They are appointed by the Bishop for 3-year terms. This group recruits parish Liaisons. The Task Force has produced curriculum materials for adult formation classes and has a web site and a Facebook group to facilitate communication.