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Keen to be green

A range of green initiatives by Bulimba Uniting Church is fully expressing the Christian call to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation and provide sustainable stewardship of earthly resources. Journey reports.

What started with a small solar panel in 2012 has blossomed into a full suite of “Green Church” policies at Bulimba Uniting Church as the congregation continues to seek new ways to implement sustainable environmental practices.

From insulating the church’s roof, installing water-efficient devices and tanks, adding LED lights and replacing whitegoods with lower emission models, the church has been undergoing transformation to meet its goal of being a zero CO2 emitting church by 2020.

The importance of the gospel is central to Bulimba’s drive for environmental sustainability. Rev Beatriz Skippen, Bulimba’s minister, says Green Church simply comes back to bringing glory to God.

“God is the creator and we are stewards of his creation,” says Beatriz. “The Christian mission is to proclaim God’s reconciliation for the whole world and that includes people in relation to God and to each other and to the Earth in which we live.

“Discerning good practices in the way we deal with the environment is parallel with how we exercise fairness and justice in regard to each other.”

And the church’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by the wider community: Bulimba was recently awarded a sustainability grant from the Brisbane City Council which will go towards undertaking an energy audit and replacing inefficient lights and appliances with more sustainable options.

For Gary Lynch, a congregation member who has been an active part of developing the church’s green approach, it is an evolving process.

“We are constantly looking at new ways to improve,” says Gary. “We include an annual review due date in our policy to keep ourselves
accountable and so we keep active in striving to be a green church.

“We are particularly proud that we have achieved very good results with little cost. For example, we replaced an old energy-inefficient fridge with a new one. The savings we achieved in energy were recouped with the cost of a new fridge within three years.”

Fellow congregation member Marnix Vunderink believes that any congregation can pursue sustainable environmental practices with the
right planning.

“Start small and first do a practical CO2 reduction initiative together before developing your own green policy,” suggests Marnix. “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel: look at some other church policies and pick what is important to you and your congregation. Please feel free to ask us [Bulimba Uniting Church] for a soft copy of our policies.”

For more information about Bulimba Uniting Church’s Green Church policies visit bulimbaunitingchurch.org.au

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