First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara announces the installation of 30 solar panels on the southwest facing roof of the church. This action was undertaken in response to the Resolution of Witness enacted at the 29th General Synod of the United Church of Christ (GS29). All UCC churches were encouraged to take steps toward carbon neutrality (operate with a net-zero use of fossil fuel, greenhouse gas emitting energy).

In 2006, church member Peter Preiswerk suggested getting a bid on solar panels for the church. The bid was for $68.000. The Finance and Facilites Team could not see a way forward at that time. The idea took hold, however, and a bequest from long-time member, Jean Southwick in 2012 provided a way! “Now’s the time to do solar,” said Jack Orr, chair of the Finance and FacilitiesTeam. By following the recommendations in an article from the News-Press featuring the Solarize Santa Barbara campaign of the Community Environmental Council, the solar panel project became possible. Council Moderator Mary Howe-Grant returned from General Synod 29 with an energized view of our need to finish the work, citing the Resolution. Along with strong encouragement from the Church Council and the support of the congregation, installation of solar panels became reality.

Our path to benefits from the solar energy project was long with significant sign posts along the way.

• 2006 Peter Peiswerk sounds the call

• 2009 The church is “energy audited” , all lighting replaced with energy efficent types

• 2012 Southwick Endowment

• 2012 News-Press article: CEC Solarize Santa Barbara

• 2013 29th General Synod of the United Church of Christ Resolution of Witness: On Making UCC Church Buildings More Carbon Neutral

• 2013 Unanimous acceptance of a $34,000 bid on solar work from REC Solar

• 2014 Faithfully celebrating new ministry of solar power

About First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, UCC: We are a progressive Christian community where we believe in a God of many names, source of all creation; we strive to follow the teachings of Jesus by practicing love and forgiveness; we honor the sacredness of creation; and we accept the challenge to serve as God’s hands in creating a community and world of compassion, justice and reconciliation.


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