Green Team works to care for creation

Members of Montevallo Presbyterian Church are working to be better stewards of the environment. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT/Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO — Montevallo Presbyterian Church (USA) has decided that it’s more rewarding to be environmentally friendly when it comes to caring for creation.

Bill Peters, the Montevallo Presbyterian coordinator of the “Green Team,” was the ideal church member to undertake a “go-green” initiative within the church campus.

“It started under the leadership of our former pastor, and she suggested we establish a green team,” Peters said. “As I have an environmental background, so I volunteered to coordinate the effort and recruit some others for the green team.”

A former environmental protection director for Jefferson County, Peters holds onto a continuing effort for a healthier world, and worked with his team of volunteers to revamp certain environment-impacting aspects of the 1902 church building.

The team didn’t start small, however. The members, with the support of their pastor, Rev. Wendy Harris, jumped immediately into renovations.

“In the education and fellowship area, we renovated it in 2008. We were able to insulate the walls, which had no insulation at all. (The lack of insulation) made it really hard to heat and cool,” Peters said. “We put in energy efficient windows and Energy Star appliances.”

While Energy Star appliances have been on the scene for quite some time, the opportunity for churches to be eligible for an Energy Star label has only been available for a little over a year.

“For several years now, (the Energy Star program) has been available for commercial buildings, but only in late 2009 it came available for churches,” Peters said. “It’s a fairly recent thing for churches to be eligible for that.”

Montevallo Presbyterian holds a very distinct recognition when it comes to the Energy Star honor.

“We’re the first Presbyterian church in the United States (to have the Energy Star recognition). It’s an interesting thing for this little congregation to accomplish,” Peters said.

And the Green Team isn’t finished making an impact.

“We’ve had an outreach effort. Members of our Green Team have been to several other congregations that have shown interest in what we’ve done. We’ve gone to them and made presentations,” Peters explained. “Because of that, some other churches in the area have put Green Teams in place, and are working toward the same idea.”

“A lot of the spirit of all this is continual improvement,” he said. “We’re called to that (personally) along with caring for creation.”