Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to Succeed with the Genesis Covenant Goal: Diminishing Church Emissions, Without Really Trying

Here we are at another Earth Day, and it is time for a little reminder from the Episcopal church that they know what is best for the world. Does anyone remember this,

"Adopted in 2009 at the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, the Genesis Covenant is 'a public commitment by the Church to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from every facility it maintains by a minimum of 50% within ten years'” (from ECF Vital Practices).
This is a joke that writes itself because at its current rate of membership decline, the Episcopal church may be able to hit that target simply from fewer buns in the pews, fewer cars driving to and from church buildings, and fewer coffee beans consumed each Sunday morning. This is an example of the "Eliminate people and greenhouse gas emissions will decrease" rule.
Most congregations find they save money when they implement the Genesis Covenant,” said Schut, “because they reduce their energy use. But the benefits go far beyond that. Community is built as people work together toward a common goal. And reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one very practical way of living out our faith’s call to care for the poor, as the poor are those most negatively impacted by climate change, caused by those very emissions.” From the Episcopal
We are halfway through those ten years, so how are things going? 
In 2009 the number of active baptized members was listed at 2,006,343 and the fell to 1,866,758 in 2013. If we factor in another 20,000 or so from the Diocese of South Carolina we have a 10% drop in membership over 5 years (and 18% over ten years). 
Total Average Sunday Worship Attendance (ASA) was 682,963 in 2009 and fell to 623,691 in 2013. The five year drop in ASA was 12% and the ten year drop in ASA was 24% (Source: The Episcopal church)
Top that! The Episcopal church is the one organization that is doing something about the impending collapse of our planetary ecosystem, and they are doing it by sacrificing the very members of their body! Wow! 

It is amazing that all this has been accomplished without most Episcopal parishes actually trying to reduce their carbon footprints, and the whole process has also seemed quite painless to most pewsitters. 

So, how will your church slash its greenhouse emissions by 50%????


  1. Anonymous3:16 AM

    "Don't you love farce..."

  2. I enjoy your posts. A question out of genuine curiosity: Why do you stay in the Episcopal church? We are catholic, considering leaving. Catholic Church has seen a comparable decline in the same number of years.

    1. There is no safe haven, and the mission field is the lost. Still I am listening, waiting, hoping that someday I will hear God's call to move on.