CENTERVILLE — It’s not every day that a church can boast of offering physical evidence of the power of God.
The community is invited to celebrate with the church in a big way, said church officials.
“We hope it will be a beacon to the community,” said the church’s vicar, The Rev. Lyn Zill Briggs, of the solar panel installation. “There is a lot of traffic on Main Street. People will see the solar panels. It will draw attention that we are here and that we care about the Earth’s resources.”
The church will be “Powered by God” in more ways than one, said Deborah Davidson, church junior warden and solar project co-chairwoman, as she anticipated the solar panel installation this spring by contractor Intermountain Wild and Solar.
She said the 96 panel solar array will generate enough electricity to cover most of the church’s electricity needs.
“Reducing our carbon footprint allows us to demonstrate our commitment to stewardship of the Earth,” she said. “It helps to actualize one of the Five Marks of Mission of the Episcopal Church: ’to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the Earth.’”
The panels will allow the congregation a chance to offer educational programs for community members of all ages to share information about solar energy, she said.
“We are setting up with the schools in the area,” said Briggs. The church is also installing a solar energy lab.
“Elementary schools have a unit on environmental issues in their curriculum. Hopefully the teachers can plug into that and use this as a field trip destination,” she said. “We will have a monitor to see how much is being generated at any one time.”
The solar panels were made possible through a grant from the Blue Sky Renewable Energy Program sponsored by Rocky Mountain Power last spring. The grant covered 60 percent of the cost of the panels. Parishioners are contributing to a capital campaign to pay for the additional 40 percent of the project’s cost.
Briggs said the small group of 100 parishioners have worked hard to raise the additional $30,000 they needed for the project. Currently, they have only about $5,000 more to raise.
“This is a generous congregation and God has always provided what we need even though we are small,” Briggs said. “We asked everybody to donate in memory or in honor or in Thanksgiving for something. I really believe people want to give and offering them every opportunity to give is a good thing.”
Briggs said she believes the solar panels will become part of the legacy of the church.
“This is a project that is not just for the people that are here right now but for future generations of the church as well,” she said. ”I am excited that the kids that are here now will remember the days when the solar panels were put up. It will become part of their memory, part of their history.“
The solar panels aren’t the only way the church aims to serve the community and provide good stewardship of the planet’s resources.
The church also hosts a community garden.
”We’ve got a lot of land and we’ve turned part of it into a community garden,“ Briggs said. ”That’s been fun for gardeners. People in the area that don’t have access to garden plots can come over and get a plot that they can care for all summer.“
Briggs said gardeners at the community gardens are encouraged to give part of their crop to the Bountiful Food Pantry so those in need can have fresh vegetables.
”It’s part of our mission ... to connect with the community and to be good stewards,“ Briggs said. ”It’s brought the church members together working on projects that we care about.“