St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church: Super Stars in Greening

This report was written by Rev. Margaret Collins for St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, in Crapaud, PEI (Celebrating 175 Years of Worship & Witness 1841 – 2016). It is part of a report prepared for the Anglican Church of Canada’s “Creation Matters” initiative in partnership with FCG, where by with the help of grants through this ACC’s initiative, 19 Anglican Parishes across Canada participated in FCG’s Green Building Audit between 2014 and 2015. 12 of these parishes have had a year to make some of the improvements recommended for their places of worships. These parishes are planning public events to showcase the audit later on in the year.

Insulation on Belfry Hatch, Walls & Floor – Windows have plastic cover for winter

Insulation on Belfry Hatch, Walls & Floor – Windows have plastic cover for winter

The year 2016 marks 175 years of worship and witness for the Anglican Church in Crapaud, Prince Edward Island. As we reflect and give thanks for God’s guidance and providence over these 175 years we are also conscious of re-dedicating ourselves as stewards of creation and of all God’s gifts to us. St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church is a small congregation of approximately 60 households. Although no longer able to afford full time, ordained ministry we are striving to maintain our congregational life, witness and outreach through a shared ministry of devoted lay leadership and the part-time ministry of our priest, the Rev. Margaret Collins. We are the inheritors of a beautiful property situated on the south shore of Prince Edward Island which includes a church designed and built in 1901 by William Critchlow Harris, a noted Island architect.

In the autumn of 2014 we were asked by The Rev. Marian Lucas- Jeffries of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI Environmental Network to host a “Greening Sacred Spaces” public information session for faith communities in Prince Edward Island. We were open and more than willing to undertake this project and partnered with Winsloe United Church to send out public service announcements, media articles and notices for this event to the faith communities on P.E.I. We were heartened to welcome a gathering of approximately 15 folks from the Presbyterian, United, Roman Catholic and Anglican communities to an information session conducted by Stephen Collette, Green Audit Manager for Greening Sacred Spaces Canada.

As a result of this information session the Parish Council of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Crapaud decided to apply to The Anglican Church of Canada for a grant to access a Green Audit from Greening Sacred Spaces Canada. We were thrilled to be the first parish in our diocese to apply for and be accepted to undergo a Green Audit.

Garbage Sorting through building

Garbage Sorting through building

In January of 2015 we welcomed Stephen Collette to our parish. He had graciously accepted to be our preacher at Sunday worship and then to remain in the parish to conduct the Green Audit. The parish Property Committee along with a few interested parishioners gathered with Stephen both before and after worship and participated in the conduct of the Green Audit. All those involved in the Green Audit were both impressed and enthused by Stephen’s passion and insights.

Basement Sill InsulatedCentral. Vacuum cleaned & in use

Basement Sill Insulated. Central Vacuum cleaned & in use

Shortly after Stephen’s visit we received our Green Audit Report and were, again, impressed and inspired by its detail and recommendations. The Green Audit Report presented us with “workable” and attainable recommendations for increasing our energy conservation, lowering our fuel and energy consumption and becoming a “greener” parish. What has been striking is not only the response to these recommendations but also the enthusiasm for looking at our property and skills/gifts found within our human resource as gifts to be utilized in promoting a “greener” approach to everyday living. Throughout the remainder of 2015 we began work on some of the recommendations from the Green Audit and are now seeing cost savings and the beginning of new outreach ministries. We look forward to implementing more of the structural improvements in 2016.

Thus far we have:

  • Insulated the church belfry and its hatch
  • Insulated major portions of the church attic
  • Installed low flush toilets
  • Dampered down heating vents in basement bathrooms (heated throughout winter)
  • Installed heat monitors in basement bathrooms that report through security system if temperatures are in danger zones (thus saving on heating usage)
  • Installed garbage sorting stations (that are now being requested by other congregations)
  • Started using paper cups at fellowship events (or use china cups)
  • Installed a new 3 sink system in church kitchen (to fulfill health regulations) and for use with small events to avoid using dish washer
  • New, more energy efficient doors with weather stripping installed in front entrance
  • New Entrance Doors with weather stripping

    New Entrance Doors with weather stripping

  • Installed new fiberglass oil tank, had furnaces cleaned and efficiency checked
  • Insulated church basement sill, where accessible
  • Cleaned mildew from electrical room, replaced damaged gyprock, re-insulated and finished electrical room
  • Make use of ceiling fans in church
  • Upgraded kitchen microwave to more energy efficient model
  • Vent holes placed in lexan covering stained glass windows
  • Exterior floodlights are on a timer
  • Central vacuum cleaned and used for cleaning building
  • Not covered in audit but as a result – installed new, energy efficient windows in Rectory
  • Added extended downspouts to Thrift Shop and Church and adjusted grading around Church
  • Expanded the ministry of our seasonal Thrift Shop. One of the outreach ministries this little congregation has maintained for over 30 years is the running of a Thrift Shop for the local community during summer months (they operate out of an unheated garage conversion on our property). This ministry was in danger of coming to an end last year as the members of the ACW (Anglican Church Women) felt that their group was getting too old and small to continue the undertaking. A group of three energetic and enthusiastic women stepped forward and offered to take responsibility for continuing and broadening this ministry. They have continued to recycle, re-purpose and offer for reuse clothing, appliances, furniture and a host of other items.
  • A craft group was organized and created “garden art” for sale using reclaimed items like dishes for glass garden flowers. In the spring parishioners donated perennials from their own gardens for sale at low cost to encourage the use of native and low maintenance plantings. This group has also made contact with the Charlottetown Homeless Shelter, Transition House and First Nations’ Women’s Centre, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and Mission to Seafarers (Halifax) and donate clothing and items from our inventory to these groups at no cost. This past summer they contacted local market gardeners and began offering fresh produce for sale as well. They hope to broaden their scope in 2016 by offering our sizable property as a site for what they plan to call St. John’s Market – offering tables for rent to local gardeners, farmers, artists, and other individuals thus providing fresh produce (hopefully) at good prices and encouraging the “buy local” campaign to sustain small community vibrancy and lower gas usage and fossil fuel emissions.
  • Our grounds are maintained pesticide free and low maintenance perennials are used
  • At our Annual Rogation Service we partnered with the provincial Department of the Environment and gave out spruce seedlings to encourage the re-planting of hedgerows. Included display by local Watershed Protection Group.
  • Rogation Service 2015 Children’s Talk – Why We Plant Trees – Sharing in Caring for Creation

    Rogation Service 2015
    Children’s Talk – Why We Plant Trees – Sharing in Caring for Creation

    Annual Rogation Service advertised province-wide to encourage support for local agriculture and stewards of the land. Articles in two newspapers and PEI Agricultural Newsletter

  • Reported on our Green Audit experience at regional gathering of Anglican churches on PEI

As we begin our journey through 2016 our Parish Council is committed to continue to work on other recommendations found in the Green Audit as we approach maintenance and repair tasks and also seek to make our buildings and property more energy efficient and sustainable.