– Bath Church wins national award
The Neighborhood United Church of Christ is one of six national winners of the Interfaith Power and Light 2022 Cool Congregations Challenge. The annual competition accepts entries from faith communities across the United States who are working to fight global warming by getting rid of fossil fuels and creating models of sustainability in their communities.
The church took first place in the ‘Community Inspiration’ category for its persistence in successfully persuading
the city to update the land use code to allow solar installations visible from the street in historic Bath, and to
offering a five-part virtual series titled “Bath Cares for Its Climate Future” focusing on sustainability topics including
In 2017, The Neighborhood planned to install an air-source heat pump and solar system to generate enough energy to meet its energy needs. The church started fundraising and initially turned to an energy audit. Next come building weatherization, attic insulation, LED lighting and insulating window inserts. A mini-split heat pump took over the congregation’s heating duties in the winter of 2019, and finally came solar last fall.
The system is financed partly by four low-interest short-term loans from individuals, and partly by the savings already
generated by the solar system on the roof.
An unforeseen problem arose when the congregation learned that city code did not allow solar power visible from the street in the historic district where the church is located. The district pursued an amendment to the code, increasing the necessary fees and drafting several draft amendments.
“The people of The Neighborhood UCC are so grateful to receive this award. We are a congregation that embraces the belief that we see Jesus in all of our neighbors and in all of creation,” said Reverend Holly Reid, co-pastor of The Neighborhood “Climate change will bring suffering to all of creation. We believe it is the role of faith communities to provide hope by demonstrating how we can live differently.”
“The neighborhood and five other national winning congregations project a vision of the kind of world they want to live in, then realize that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” said Rev. . Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power and Light.
Interfaith Power & Light mobilizes a religious response to the climate crisis in congregations by promoting energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Cool Congregations Challenge shows that believers are united by concerns about global warming and are taking action – with or without the support of government policies. Winners provide strong moral role models for their communities, and their activities have a ripple effect on people seeking to make their homes fossil fuel free.