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Green Committee


“Greening” the Kitchen Stove or Don’t Keep the Fire Burning

The Gethsemane Green Committee has a lot of great ideas about how Gethsemane can go greener. Our last project was simple – at last year’s Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, the Green Committee suggested using “real” plates and silverware instead of disposable ones. Gethsemane already had the supplies, so the Green Committee helped by bussing tables and washing the dishes afterwards. It was during this time spent in the kitchen that Rich Brendel (on the property committee) taught us about the problem of the kitchen stove. And thus, our next project was born!

We learned that every hour of every day, whether the stove is in use or not, eleven pilot lights are burning natural gas. This reminds me of the Parable of the Bridesmaids from Pastor Cheryl’s sermon on November 12.  But in this version, there are eleven bridesmaids with pilot lights instead of lamps waiting for the bridegroom to come and bake a casserole or cook pancakes. But the bridegroom only comes once or twice each year and then buys takeout instead of cooking. Is keeping those lamps burning just a waste of energy? Maybe there is a moral to that parable after all!

Natural gas is one of the fossil fuels that we humans commonly burn for energy – the others are coal and oil. When burned it releases methane and carbon dioxide, which are greenhouse gases. These are the gases that accumulate in the earth’s upper atmosphere, like a heat-trapping blanket, which are contributing to global climate change. Research also shows that burning natural gas indoors is a human health concern. It produces nitrogen dioxide, which can be harmful, especially for people with asthma. According to the church gas bill, we are paying around $40-$50 each month (~$500 per year) to keep these pilot lights burning.

Most gas stoves today have an electric ignition, so the gas valve is only open and lit when the stove is in use. Our older stove (from 1962) does not have this feature, and turning the valves off for an extended time can cause the valves to become clogged, or a gas leak could develop, so this is not an easy or safe solution.

For an action to be sustainable or “green” it should have benefits in three areas – People, Planet and Profit. This is called the triple bottom line of sustainability. Replacing our gas stove with an electric model hits all three of these targets: better health for all of us, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and savings of around $500 each year. If we can find a used model in good condition, we will save even more resources. The Green Committee hopes to raise up to $4,000 for the stove replacement project, and our first fundraiser is a Pancake Dinner and Movie night on Friday, April 12, 2024. You can buy tickets from Green Committee members at church, or online here. Other ways to help include volunteering at the fundraiser, donating for supplies or making a larger sponsorship donation. On April 12, we will be using the stove’s grill to make those fluffy pancakes – at last the bridegroom has come!

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