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We’ve Gone Solar!

Scott Landis2by Scott Landis
Pastor, Mission Hills United Church of Christ

It is clear that God has given us an enormous responsibility in caring for creation. That challenge is spelled out in the first chapter of the first book of the bible when God gives humankind “dominion” or perhaps better translated “stewardship” (Genesis 1:26) over the created order. The word “dominion” is often erroneously thought of as domination, or to have ultimate power over and to use however we want. We have begun to see and experience the ramifications of such use or abuse. For years scientists and theologians have been clamoring for responsible use of our precious and limited resources. Responsible use translates into decreasing our carbon footprint by doing all we can to reduce greenhouse gases that continue to increase our planet’s overall temperature.

We all know the effects of global warming. Most of us agree that this IS the major contributor to so many of our ecological problems, among them rising sea levels, increasingly violent hurricanes, extremes in heat and cold, drought and floods. While it will be incredibly difficult to reverse current trends, to do nothing or to act as though the problem doesn’t exist is both irresponsible and abrogates our responsibility as earth stewards and global citizens.

At Mission Hills United Church of Christ we have been considering for years various ways of reversing the trends of environmental abuse. We began with the elimination of Styrofoam cups. That moved us toward using washable plates and utensils for almost all church functions. More recently we replaced all our lights with LED fixtures, and removed most of the old inefficient air conditioning units. Now we’ve taken an even bigger step. We’ve gone solar! After deliberation, and prayerful preparation, we have installed over 60 solar panels on our roof and with the click of two switches we are on our way to harnessing the beautiful San Diego sun for all of our electricity. In fact, we will generate an additional amount of electricity that will be sold back to SDG&E, a savings which will completely pay for the solar panels in seven years!Solar panels

There have been many compelling arguments on how much going solar would eventually save the church. It is true, once the panels are paid for, we will save thousands each year in utility expense. While this is an important consideration, I believe, as faithful stewards of all our resources,that moving in this direction is the right thing to do.

God has given us a beautiful gift in this place we call home. To live in San Diego is a double blessing as we have the opportunity to experience one of the most beautiful aspects of creation each time we visit one of our beaches or take a short drive to the mountains and breathe in the crisp fresh air. But we delude ourselves if we believe all this will exist forever without proper care. Like anything else we view as precious, the earth needs us now more than ever to offer care, to do all that we can to ensure it will remain the gift we currently enjoy long into the future.

We often hear words of frustration when it comes to the enormous problem of global warming, but we can do something about it. The problem may appear overwhelming, but even little steps in the right direction contribute toward a change that matters. If you are considering “going solar” in your church or in your home, please contact us at Mission Hills (619-296-2169, info@missionhillsucc.org).  We’d love to tell you about our experience and share some of what we have learned.

Creation is a gift. Let’s all do all we can as stewards of the earth to take care of that gift so that our and future generations will be able to enjoy all that has been entrusted to us.

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