In May of 2007, Community United Church of Christ (CUCC) concluded that global warming (climate change) is real and will be a disaster for everyone, rich and poor.
We also concluded that it hurts the poor more than the rich.
Quoting the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change: “People who are poor are least able to adapt to climate change…” and “… millions … will suffer from hunger, thirst, floods and disease unless drastic action is taken…”
In response, we initiated a CUCC Focus called “Justice in a Changing Climate” to:
- Educate ourselves, Change our practices
- Provide an interfaith religious focal point of leadership and action on climate change and advocacy.
- Act to decrease the impact of climate change on the poor.
Since that time, we have held and attended education events, improved CUCC’s carbon footprint, been involved in advocacy and worked with other churches and faiths to seek ways forward.
In 2011, in collaboration with Lyle Adley-Warrick of the Raleigh Friends Meeting and NCIPL, we initiated action to decrease the impact of climate change and improve the quality of life for some Wake County low-income families. For both comfort and safety in the face of climate change, the need for home energy efficiency and insulation is increasingly important.
Fortunately, “Resources for Seniors” of Wake Co weatherizes and insulates homes for families of low income. The program is funded by the federal Stimulus program and is quite successful. Some families’ homes cannot be weatherized because the houses need minor repairs or have some debris that prevents the weatherization crews from doing their job.
To help these families, our two churches started “Pre-weatherization” home repairs or debris clean out to help make these “walk away” houses ready for weatherization.
On Easter Saturday morning, a crew of 10 people from CUCC and the Friends cleaned out the crawlspace of a house in Raleigh. The elderly man of the house told us that this enabled “Resources” to insulate his crawlspace and attic and replace his HVAC system. We were thrilled by the impact.
Since then, we cleaned out a second and a third house, made some significant repairs on a fourth, and then cleaned out a few more. We have now helped eight families have their homes weatherized that would not have been weatherized otherwise.
Along the way, we worked with people from four other churches and met some wonderful families. We pray that they each are more comfortable and will see their energy consumption decrease in the coming years. We plan to continue this work in 2013, and other people and congregations are coming on board. We are currently looking at a house near Sanford and another one in Wake County.
Finally, we have recently learned that there may also be people who need help filling out the weatherization application form, and we have begun to explore whether we can help here as well. The work continues.
Most importantly, the following people from CUCC, Raleigh Friends Meeting and beyond have been the blessings who worked on the houses to make this ministry happen this year: David and Gale Cass, Dwayne and Carrie Edwards-Cook, Lena Gallitano, Pastor Steve Halsted, Ron Howell, Tim Jensen, Marty Lamb, Patrick Lee, John Little, Cathy Marshall, Maegan Mohr, Carl Sigel, Jane Smith, Skip Stoddard, Edith Sylla, Gary Smith and Lyle Adley-Warrick.
I am moved to say that we are blessed to help, and we have had a ball at each event. I pray that we can impact climate change and increase the comfort of those influenced by it.
It would be great if you would be interested in getting involved. As you can guess, we can use your strong hands and backs, but we also need people who can listen and people who can help work to maintain and expand the program. Please contact me, Gary Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lyle Adley-Warrick (email@example.com) if you would like to join our team or get information on forming your own with your congregation.
-Written by Gary Smith, member of CUCC