Second Baptist Church Pastor Wallace Shepherd took part in a “Justice Delegation” to Washington, DC in 2008 with colleagues from the Santa Barbara area, expecting to work on general justice issues; instead, after hearing about environmental issues, he returned, and was transformed.
Knowing that the most significant thing he could do for his members would be to lead by example, Second Baptist joined EcoFaith, a Santa Barbara-based organization devoted to Creation Stewardship. Next, Second Baptist had an energy audit on the building, energy-efficient lighting was installed, along with energy-efficient office equipment, resulting in a 50% reduction in utility bills.
As a result of facility changes, an educational initiative was launched for the members, including an Energy Day; distribution of compact fluorescent bulbs; ride-sharing to church; and a series of classes focused on sustainability issues such as food, water and energy use. But Second Baptist efforts aren’t stopping at the church door. Current and future members are encouraged to sign a pledge to undertake efficiency measures in their homes. Right now, Second Baptist is in the process of getting a permit to build a six-unit senior housing complex, which will employ solar energy.
The award was given by California Interfaith Power and Light (CIPL) based in San Francisco — in a ceremony at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco to honor outstanding California congregations for their efforts to be good stewards of energy and respond to climate change. Ed Begley, Jr. was Featured Emcee.
Pastor Wallace said, “We here at Second Baptist Church through this ECO friendly movement now can say that God has woke us up to a higher understanding of what it means to be a good steward. This award is just one of many small steps that we must take in order to create a more spiritual and healthy environment. However, most impotently this will help motivate those in the future to be more mindful of our creator and our purpose to take care of this garden of Eden for generations to come.”
CIPL is a network of over 500 member congregations who aim to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy. Nationally, the Interfaith Power and Light campaign is active in 38 states, working with a powerful force of over 10,000 congregations.