CREATION CARE MINISTRY
The Episcopal Church’s Covenant for the Care of Creation is a commitment to practice loving formation, liberating advocacy, and life-giving conservation as individuals, congregations, ministries and dioceses. It is helpful to review this as our Creation Care Ministry moves forward using this covenant as our guide:
In Jesus, God so loved the whole world. We follow Jesus, so we love the world God loves. Concerned about the global climate emergency, drawing from a range of approaches for our diverse contexts, we commit to form and restore loving, liberating, life-giving relationships with all of Creation.
LOVING FORMATION For God’s sake, we will grow our love for the Earth and all of life through preaching, teaching, storytelling, and prayer.
LIBERATING ADVOCACY For God’s sake, standing alongside marginalized, vulnerable peoples, we will advocate and act to repair Creation and seek the liberation and flourishing of all people.
LIFE-GIVING CONSERVATION For God’s sake, we will adopt practical ways of reducing our climate impact and living more humbly and gently on Earth as individuals, households, congregations, institutions, and dioceses.
To learn more about Immanuel’s Creation Care Ministry and Action Team, contact Denise Freeland at email@example.com.
NEW! 2023 Clean Energy Tax Credits for Consumers (a benefit of the Inflation Reduction Act)
Click here to check out some of the items included in the new law.
Click here to read "The Climate Crisis: Here's How YOU Can Help"
Click here for information on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle
Click here for a comprehensive guide on planting native trees: why and how.
Click here for the latest information and FAQs on Immanuel’s solar project.
Click here for the list of native plants growing in Immanuel's garden.
January 22, 2023: Forum Hour on "Climate Resolutions"
The definition of the word “resolution" is “harmony." A climate resolution is one way you can help restore the planet, bringing God’s Creation to a more harmonious state.
What will your climate resolutions be for 2023?
Check out the slideshow below to see how some Immanuelites are caring for God’s Creation with their commitments made at the recent Forum Hour, complete with selfies!
Other commitments made, but no selfies taken:
* I will replace my gasoline-powered tools and yard equipment with ones using battery power.
* I will begin to compost my food waste.
* I will vote for elected officials who support clean energy.
* I will stop using single-use plastic water bottles in favor of reusable, refillable ones.
* I will learn by reading more about climate change.
CREATION CARE NEWS
April 30, 2023
Solar Project Update
Since our solar panels went live on June 7, 2022, they have produced over 54,000 kWh of clean, sustainable electricity. This represents 83 percent of the electricity our solar vendor, SES, estimates the system to generate annually. It also represents over 84,000 pounds of carbon dioxide not emitted into the atmosphere and is the equivalent of 635 trees being planted!
Immanuel has received ten months of Dominion Energy electricity bills since our solar panels went live. The chart below shows electricity consumption and costs for Zabriskie/Parish Hall for those ten months (June – Dec 2022 and Jan – March 2023 **with solar).
As shown, Zabriskie/Parish Hall used roughly the same amount of electricity (measured in kWh) for the past ten “solar months” -- as it did for the same ten months in 2021. However, because our solar panels generated 64 percent of the electricity the building used, the cost of power purchased from Dominion was $ 4,085.48 versus $8,264.69 – a savings to date of $4,179.21 (over 2021 costs for same period). The savings would be even greater had not Virginia’s average electricity rates increased 20% between December 2021 and December 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, mostly due to last year’s spike in the price of methane gas and coal.
In addition to electricity bill savings, by going solar, Immanuel expects to receive approximately $3000/year from the Virginia Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program. The first two checks totaling $1,785.00 arrived in December 2022 and February 2023. When you apply the SREC earnings to date, Immanuel’s actual cost for electricity for the ten-month period is $2,300.48 – a savings of nearly $6,000 (over 2021 costs for same period).
The chart also shows Zabriskie/Parish Hall electricity consumption/costs for 2019, the last pre-Pandemic year – also the year on which SES solar savings estimates were based. kWh consumption in 2019 is roughly same in 2018, 2017, and prior years (after spray-foam insulation and new energy-efficient windows were installed in 2008). Annual kWh consumption plummeted in 2020 after March 2020 Pandemic shut-down. kWh consumption was higher in 2021 and 2022, but still significantly under pre-Pandemic levels, probably due to less building use (fewer services and events in Zabriskie than in 2019 and prior).
The solar panels generate the most electricity during March through October. It will take a complete year of monitoring both the solar electricity production and checking our Dominion bills for annual generation and dollar numbers. You can click here to monitor the daily, weekly, and monthly electricity output.
July 21, 2021
Sacred Space - Memorial Garden
Our team continues to think about how to integrate sustainable practices into our planning and care for the grounds at our church. We are working with Chain Bridge Native Landscapes, a local company focused on integrating native plants and sustainable design, on several areas of our property that need new planting, especially to deal with rainwater management and erosion control.
The newly-planted area behind Zabriskie Chapel features Packera aurea (Golden ragwort), Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire), native ferns, and rushes, to name a few. A complete list of the garden plantings will soon be available. We hope these plants inspire parishioners and visitors alike to consider incorporating native plants for use in home gardens.
As we go through this landscaping process, we are also considering the other areas on our property, most especially the Memorial Garden, and we hope to contract with this company for further discussion and planning throughout the summer and fall. We have been blessed to have strong parishioner support over many years to care for the gardens and other spaces on the property, and we look forward to engaging many in the parish in projects on the grounds through 2021 and beyond.
May 20, 2021
Good Samaritan Collection Bin
New! The City of Alexandria is committed to recovering resources sustainably and has launched a Reuse Map and Directory. Reusing items is an effective way to save natural resources, protect the environment, and reduce costs.
Immanuel’s Good Samaritan collection bin for gently used clothing is now listed in the Alexandria Reuse Directory under “Donate or Drop Off.”
Our bin is located just off the Zabriskie parking area.
Our Trex Bench has arrived and was assembled and placed in the Memorial Garden by Shawn Whitman.
It is a powerful reminder that our parishioners and friends kept 500 pounds of plastic bags out of our local streams, rivers, and bellies of wildlife by donating the plastic bags and films to Immanuel’s Recycling Challenge. Our bench is the product responsibly created for us by Trex from our 500 pounds of plastic collected. And all of this was happening during the pandemic.
We invite you to go sit on the new bench and take some time to reflect on the past year. Thank you to all who participated in the Recycling Challenge and for caring for God’s Creation in this way.
--Submitted by Denise Freeland
January 21, 2021 Creation Care News