It wasn’t enough for Father Charles Morris, a Catholic Priest, to tend to his flock, the parishioners of St. Christopher Church in Detroit. He had to be a good steward and care for the Earth as well. In its 10th year, the Michigan Interfaith Power and Light held their annual conference on October 4, 2012.
“Madonna University seemed to be a good place to hold the conference because they are a member and have a commitment to sustainability; they also have their own sustainability taskforce.” Father Morris chuckled with excitement.
The conference also coincided with the 75th anniversary of Madonna University, the Franciscan Symposium, and the feast of St. Francis, the patron Saint of Madonna, who also happens to be the patron Saint of Ecology.
First held in 2003 at Marygrove College, the conference now travels around the state to accommodate members. Doing this brings together others in the religious community to learn through discussion on how to reduce, reuse, recycle and conserve our precious energy resources.
Participants of the conference took part in workshop sessions that helped them understand the green initiatives of the state, “particularly ballot initiatives going forth in November on renewable energy, as well as how the community can create the tools they need to put their faith in action. If we are who we say we are then at the heart of all of our faiths and traditions is to care for God’s creations.” said Father Morris.
Father Morris knows what he is talking about as the former Pastor at St. Elizabeth Church in Wyandotte where he helped parishioners to steward in the here and now. The church had an energy audit, installed solar panels, which reduced their peak energy demand by sixty percent over five years. They also use water collectors, installed a wind turbine and a solar attic fan which allowed them to be partially off the grid. During the great blackout several years ago the church was able to ride it out with no service interruptions.
But St. Elizabeth did not stop there they also planted an organic garden and held classes in sustainable living.
Father Morris continues to go green. “We have the first catholic cemetery in Michigan to be certified by the Green Burial council.” Again he smiles. There are no vaults or embalming fluids unless they are plant based and coffins all made of biodegradable materials like pine, or a shroud “all materials that go back to the earth. We are part of the great cycle of life; from cradle to grave.”
We have asked Father Morris to use GreeningDetroit.com as a green informational and educational resource. Our site is filled with information to educate, stimulate and help you to participate in this green movement.
Author: Tina Riley-Humphrey, representing GreeningDetroit.com