Green Church Initiative

This section of the Wiki has the objective of assembling resources for Christians to build a Green Church? thier own Communities and to share Green Church Design? and our Green Church Vision. There are developments now underway by some groups and I hope that they will participate here and provide inspiration to many others.

A Letter from Rick Nelson to all people of faith Including members of the Solaroof Community February, 2004

I am pleased that this group is spiritually motivated to work for the good of all and respects people of all faiths who will make their best effort to protect and restore God’s sacred Creation. In particular, I would love to see my fellow Christians striving to be good stewards of the planet for the benefit of future generations. I also refer you to Collaboration Is The Key for further thoughts on the need for a spirtual solutions to material problems.

After 9/11 I wrote a message on this subject but I have not felt inclined to share it until now. So those of you who might be interested in a “green” Christian point of view on sustainable development are invited to read below. Don’t hesitate to share with me any comments you may have by visiting the Green Church Vision where you can create a link you your thoughts on this subject.

I would like to share with you a vision:

I pray that the Lord might work in and through us to spread a very important message about the need for sustainability in our individual and collective lifestyles and inspire His people with vision for change. This is for our physical benefit and spiritual growth but also for the protection and stewardship of the natural environment, God's sacred Creation.

I am urging that we use both our spiritual vision and advanced technology to find fundamental solutions for sustainable economic growth and that will overcome problems that are now restricting our individual and collective development. These natural limits have been reached because our lifestyle is out of balance with the environment (Creation). For this situation to change, our homes and communities should reflect a deeper harmony with nature (nature reflects God’s Will). Green Buildings and Green Communities would reflect a new way of living that can renew and enrich our lives by applying technology solutions that benefit environment and can help restore and heal the planets’ damaged ecology.

Conventional buildings have a greater energy demand and environmental impact than the transportation sector but there is little effort to advance the technology of building design. Our homes are our largest personal possessions and investments yet they produce no yield, return or benefit other than shelter (and comfort IF we can afford the cost of air-conditioning and heating). The solar energy that is received by the roof areas of buildings can, on the average, exceed by about 8 times the energy potentially consumed for a building’s complete climate control, lighting and heating (when using efficient sustainable design). But buildings are not adapted to harvest this energy. The roof construction is generally opaque although artificial lighting is exclusively dependent on electricity – our most costly form of energy. Water is precious, yet rarely is there any urban or building design priority given to the efficient collection of rainfall. Food in cities is in great demand but the urban landscape is a concrete and asphalt desert that overheats in the sun. The urban rooftop space is a resource that is unused, close at hand and of great value.

I would like to share with you my insight in relation to the above that may provide some answers by means of a new and advanced construction technology, which I call the Sola Roof. This is a transparent roof construction method that, while it provides shelter and day-lighting to buildings and ground level spaces beneath, also is equipped to grow an extensive plant leaf-canopy at the roof-level to capture and transform the sunlight for various uses. The urban landscape would be transformed by this technology into vibrant, productive, cool and verdant garden-like spaces.

The Sola Roof is a new style of "Green Building" that would produce food and horticultural products as well as Green Energy by feeding enriched CO 2 to plants to produce Biomass and Bio Fuels? – a strategy that could greatly mitigate Global Warming. As solar energy is received by the transparent roof envelope it is transformed by the plant-based Blue Green system into useful energy products – while this process also regulates comfortable and productive living/working/recreational environments and produces pure water from condensation of plant transpired moisture. Rainwater collection and waste water treatment for reuse is an integral aspect of this “ecological life support” system. The Sola Roof design can integrate direct Photovoltaic electrical energy production that will harmonize with plant photosynthesis – since plants use mostly red light while solar cells absorb towards the blue spectrum. This roof envelope achieves the objective of having sufficient daylight filtering through the Sola Roof to provide adequate natural light for the sheltered (shaded and cool) spaces below.

One of the early applications that I would recommend for the use of the Sola Roof technology is the construction of "Green Churches". These Green Churches would teach the community the various principles of good stewardship and encourage a sustainable life-style not only in theory but also in practice. Such leadership, which is based upon both vision and a personal level of experience, can empower individuals to change their lives. The Green Churches would also focus on healing the rift between man and nature, stress-reduction through the realization of the abundant provisions granted by God to his good stewards, including well-being, fitness and good nutrition. A Green Church might incorporate a residential conference center that will give visitors the opportunity to acquire direct knowledge that will permit him/her to rebalance with nature.

Equipped with this experiential understanding the individual Christian will soon discover the ability to change and adopt a "Green", sustainable way of life – could this be “the fruit by which we may be known”? The Sola Roof can pave the way to a new prosperity built on a lasting foundation and neither energy nor environmental limits will restrict the growth of Blue Green Communities. If we build such a project it will, I believe, be overwhelmed by the interest of a large number of people – and seekers after faith – that have been brought to a deep awareness of a need for change. We all know in our hearts that our personal choices are at the root of: energy problems, poverty problems, ecological degradation, and the loss of wild habitats and species. We (the materially blessed, wealthy people of the West/North) properly bear the burden of guilt for the spread of deserts, the disruptions associated with global warming, the serious problem of the ozone hole and for the pumping of billions of tons per year of toxins into the biosphere. We are convicted for both our acts of failure and our failures to act.

Brothers and Sisters, not so far ahead - when Global Warming really heats up - we could be helping people understand the real issues on a personal level - since the energy crisis is about both the wise application of technology and spirit (vision). I see myself as a collaborator who can encourage and point to real options for individuals and communities to change and transform themselves into the sustainable communities of the future (an aspect of the coming Kingdom?). Step by step – by building Green Churches, by Garden Homes, and by Eco Communities – this is the practical path to a "fruitful" future for all the children of God. Please don’t hesitate to learn more about the Sola Roof and Blue Green solution for energy and Global Warming – at the Website below.

Sharing my vision and believing in my personal responsibility to act on faith will, I hope, inspire you to action. I have this prayer: "attempt great things for God, expect great things from God". Therefore I am taking this step in faith, to ask you to consider joining in this work in progress as Green Church Community builders.

Working in unity through Christ to build sustainable communities – I remain yours truly,

Rick Nelson

Together we can BUILD a sustainable future