Mission and social Justice (MSJ) carries out its responsibilities by promoting social action, by encouraging consideration of Christian principles and issues in social, political, economic, cultural and ecumenical fields, and by keeping the congregation informed about and engaged in the broad mission of the United Church of Christ and Eliot's outreach program.
Recently the MSJ Committee sought input from Eliot members about what topics most mattered to them out of a list of five options. The parishioners voted and Climate Change was determined to be the topic they most wanted more information about.
As a result, a number of talks will be scheduled at Eliot with experts in the field of climate change. For a time they will be posted on the Eliot's homepage. Afterwards a link to the interviews can be found below, in chronological order.
An archive of interviews by date:
9/8/2020 Interview with Yonder Gillihan
9/28/2020 Interview with Vince Maraventano
10/23/2020 Interview with Fred Small
What can an individual do
Eliot Church is a Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light (MassIPL) Success Story, and our boilers are one of the reasons. In December 2014, The Eliot Church building received the EPA’s Energy Star designation! From MassIPL's profile of Eliot: "The net results of all the improvements? Eliot has reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by 46%. Although conversion to a high efficiency gas-fired heating system accounts for much of that, Eliot’s overall energy efficiency is also high. The average house of worship in the Northeast U.S. uses 50 kBTU of energy per square foot. In 2013 Eliot used 28.9 kBTU per square foot." Read the full report.
This is only one aspect of Eliot's efforts toward stewardship of God’s beautiful creation, and our efforts to address climate change. Environmental Stewardship is a shared core value in our congregation. Here's an overview of what we've done in the last decade, and what's happening now:
2003 Joined MassIPL
Installed programmable thermostats and new zone values for five heating zones within the building
2006 Hosted a community showing of “An Inconvenient Truth” sponsored by MassIPL
Installed roof insulation and high-energy fluorescent lighting
Members held a community work day to clean radiators and seal fireplaces
2007 Members walked across the Commonwealth in the Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue organized by Religious Witness for the Earth
2007 Eliot Energy Efficiency Evangelists lowered their personal carbon footprints by engaging in a Lenten Carbon Fast using David Gershon’s “Low Carbon Diet” workbook
2008 Planted 70 street trees in Newton in cooperation with the UCC’s Re-leaf Ministry, MassIPL and Andover Newton Theological School
2009 Rev. Tony Kill active in promoting a resolution at the annual meeting of the MA Conference which endorses 350.org, Bill McKibben’s grassroots organizing campaign
2009 Made a large capital investment in new high-efficiency, gas-fired boilers and heating distribution system
2010 MassIPL’s Leadership by Example Award awarded to Eliot, and accepted by Rev. Tony Kill and Doug Stuart at MassIPL annual meeting
2010-2011 Members obtain Mass Save home energy assessments as part of MassIPL’s Noah Challenge
Many Years: Participate in Charles River Cleanup work days on Earth Day
2014 Multiple Sermons and Adult Forums on Climate Change; September observed as a Season of Creation in Worship and Sunday School; Five Eliot Members walk in the People’s Climate March. Plans continue on new ways to reduce Eliot's Carbon Footprint and to support those affected by climate change.
2014 Earned EPA’s Energy Star certification
2015 At Eliot Church’s fall congregational meeting, Eliot members voted:
"YES" on installing solar panels on our roof (hopefully by Earth Day 2016)! Thanks to Betsy Harper and Dave Persampieri for their time, efforts and expertise putting that resolution together;
"YES" to working in the coming year to increase our divestment from fossil fuels from 15 to 20 percent.
Thanks to Ginny Robinson, Patrick O’Reilly, Pastor Reebee and and a cadre of others for moving us forward, and thanks to our investment team for tackling how to implement it.
Eliot is part of Answering the Call: An Interfaith Gathering for Climate Action - and participates in the Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action.
Associate Pastor Reebee testifies at the State House as part of an interfaith delegation in favor of Carbon Pricing.
2016 Eliot partners with MassIPL for a Sustainable House of Worship (SHOW) Forum to share best practices with other churches, and with 350MA/Newton to host a Carbon Pricing Forum.
Solar panels are successfully installed, providing 95% of our electric needs.