David Cox, a United Methodist church member and environmental activist in Salem, Oregon, regularly gathered with other like-minded church members over the years to make sense of the lack of government and business effort to address the climate crisis. Their discussions eventually led to looking in the mirror. “What are we doing beyond complaining about this?” they asked themselves. A simple question then moved them toward significant and tangible action.
Exploring possibilities, this group of activists from 6 Salem Methodist Open Door churches now power their churches with solar energy. This is what taking responsibility looks like: tangible action.
Leadership sets direction. Leadership motivates followers. Leadership breaks through hesitancy.
By living their values, faith leaders provide guidance to congregants as they make sense of how to be good stewards of God’s earth. They provide direction and answer the question “how do I live my best life?”
With this in mind, the Oregon Interfaith Solar Campaign is motivating others in faith communities to take similar steps to limit or eliminate their use of fossil fuels. Specifically, the campaign helps churches engage congregations in the effort to combat climate change. With congregational investment of time and resources, faith communities can power their buildings with solar energy. Not a radical concept!
The effort is working. Churches taking these steps are modeling “walking the talk”. Asking their communities to invest in these actions demonstrates how taking tangible action against a shared problem combats despair.
Some of these congregants now have solar panels on their own roofs. Others have joined a community solar array to get clean energy without having to put panels on their roof. All agree that doing something tangible builds momentum and saves them real money.
As community members facing the greatest existential crisis that we have known, I run into people regularly struggling how “little ole me” can make a difference. If you’re a member of a faith community and want to participate in the Oregon Interfaith Solar campaign it’s your time to take a leadership role. We can work with you to turn your congregation into an environmental leader.
If you want to support the effort to bring solar power to faith communities in Oregon, you can contact the campaign at oregoninterfaithsolar.org.Contact the Campaign
We will help you understand the financing of a solar project and help to determine if your church will work for solar panels. And if you’re not a church member, but want to support this effort, we encourage you to join in and help other churches take these vital steps.