Both this year’s winners of Green Sacred Spaces (GSS) awards hail from Elmira. Trinity United Church and Elmira Mennonite Church will be presented the GSS Award on May 12. The award recognizes the contributions the two churches have made towards making a more sustainable environment.
Organized by the GSS Network, the awards are handed out annually two a pair of faith-based communities in Waterloo Region.
Committed to the environment, Trinity United Church adopted several conservation methods throughout the church including installing energy-saving light fixtures and a low-flow toilet retrofit. The church also composts and has a no pesticides policy. Last summer the organization installed a 10kw solar array, helping to produce energy.The church has also held several environmental community events including the Woolwich Healthy Communities’ environmental movie nights. Last week the church showed the documentary ‘Revenge of the Electric Car”. The film explores the electric car craze and the future of the automobile as a film crew go behind the closed doors of some of the major automakers to chronicle the story of the resurgence of the electric car.
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Elmira Mennonite Church (EMC) has shown their appreciation for the environment through numerous environmentally-themed worship services and stewardship-themed Sunday school classes. The church underwent an energy upgrade, installing additional insulation, programmable thermostats and energy efficient lighting. It has also adopted a rigorous recycling program using green bins and rain barrels. The church has also installed a 7.2kw solar array to the roof of the building to produce energy.
“We are trying to meet the standard of being environmentally sound and we have always been a church that focused on being good stewards of the earth while advocating living a simple lifestyle,” said Pastor Steve Janzen of EMC. “We were very glad to learn that we will be receiving the award.”
There were three main criteria that had to be met to be eligible for the award which included completing an energy retrofit, mirco-FIT or community garden. Involvement in outreach programs in the community; educating other faith communities and engaging in local sustainability and energy conservation educational events.
“These two faith communities were chosen because they both showed very adventurous leadership, both of those churches installed solar panels last year and both hold environmental events and help educate members of their community about environmental issues,” said Jane Snyder of the GSS Network.
This year’s local recipients will receive the award at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Kitchener during a event called Powerful Investing: Plug in Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Opportunities in Waterloo Region, where a panel discussion will be held about community power.
For more information about the Greening Sacred Spaces Network, go to www.greeningsacredspaces.net/waterloo.