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You are here: Home » GreenFaith in the Media » Press Clips » Redeemer in Morristown making headway towards 'green' certification

Redeemer in Morristown making headway towards 'green' certification

By Sharon Sheridan
Morristown Green

An article about Church of the Redeemer's work in the GreenFaith Certification program


Morristown is getting a bit “greener,” thanks to the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.

Redeemer is on a two-year path to certification by GreenFaith (a national interfaith coalition for the environment) as a “green” religious institution. Aiming to live out its mission “to seek God’s justice and wholeness for this earth and all its inhabitants,” Redeemer formed a “Green Team” to infuse care for the environment into the congregation’s worship, religious education, justice initiatives, spiritual practice and stewardship.

In the wake of Super Storm Sandy last fall, Redeemer held a “Save the Trees” worship service, during which many of those attending signed a letter to the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori seeking support for the replenishment of New Jersey’s lost and storm-damaged trees. Members also signed a petition in support of New Jersey’s re-entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. By 2018, New Jersey’s ongoing investment in clean-energy programs through the initiative will help the state avoid 127,000 metric tons of global-warming pollution annually, as much as is produced by more than 24,300 of today’s automobiles. Redeemer is also one of the few churches with an established Creation Season on its liturgical calendar.

On the stewardship front, Redeemer is undergoing an institutional energy audit using the Energy Star Portfolio Manager. This is an interactive energy-management tool that tracks and assesses energy and water consumption on the church’s campus in a secure online environment. Portfolio Manager will help Redeemer identify under-performing buildings, verify efficiency improvements and receive EPA recognition for superior energy performance.

Other green initiatives in the works include better use of programmable thermostats; increased use of CFL and LED lightbulbs; serving fair-trade, organic, shade-grown coffee and vegetarian options at church functions and events and eliminating the use of bottled water; installating faucet aerators and low-flow toilets; upgrading the recycling program; using green cleaning chemicals; minimizing the use of chemical lawn and plant fertilizers; and landscaping with native plants.

As a greening church, Redeemer also is charged with taking a sustainability leadership role in the local and wider community. Toward that end, Redeemer is working with the Bethel AME and Morristown Presbyterian churches to address the environmental stewardship and justice issues associated with the presence of the Whippany River watershed in the section of Morristown traditionally known as “the Hollow.” On March 22, Redeemer will host a dinner for the leadership of all three churches to learn more about these issues and how they best can be addressed. That event will be followed the next day by the annual Whippany River cleanup.

Redeemer  also is investing the church’s endowment monies in a sustainable, responsible portfolio. The portfolio avoids investing in companies that damage the environment, seeks out investments in sustainable business, agriculture and forestry, and supports shareholder advocacy initiatives that engage corporations to become more responsible, sustainable corporate citizens. In addition, Redeemer’s finance committee soon will consider the current proposal to divest from fossil fuel companies entirely in order to have a fossil-free portfolio.

At its annual awards dinner last fall, Sustainable Morristown nominated Church of the Redeemer for a sustainability award, due to its greening initiatives and participation in the GreenFaith certification program. Redeemer has been a compassionate advocate for peace and justice in our community for many years. The green ministry is adding another dimension to that legacy.

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