Tuesday, April 03, 2007

STATEMENT: First Congo to host light-bulb party April 7

WILLIAMSTONW, Mass. -- The Habitat Crew will meet Saturday, April 7 from 5 to 8 pm at the First Congregational Church for a "Light Bulb Changing Party". The party was inspired by the Church Council's hope to make First Congregational Church a green church, and the decision to start the greening process by changing the incandescent lights in the fellowship hall to energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. When youth leader Beth Davis asked the council if there was some way the group could help, the reply was jokingly "How many Habitat Crew members does it take to change a light bulb?"
The answer was it just can't be done without the help of Harry LaGess, the church sexton. After researching the availability of extra small bulbs to fit the chandeliers in the halls, he concluded that switching to regular florescent fixtures in the ceiling tiles would provide superior lighting for significantly less energy and cost. However he found 54 incandescent light bulbs throughout the church for the Habitat Crew to replace with compact fluorescents. According to Rachel Payne, a member of the church, who recently did her high school senior project presentation on "Making the Commitment to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions," each bulb can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 600 lbs over its lifespan compared to incandescent light bulbs. Hopefully the 54 light bulbs will save over 32,000 pounds of CO2 emissions.
In addition to replacing the light bulbs, the group is also collecting used inkjet and laser toner cartridges for remanufacturing. Many printer cartridges can be refilled at least once, and companies that remanufacture printer cartridges will actually pay anywhere between a few cents to a few dollars for empty cartridges. The Habitat Crew will use the money raised by collecting these cartridges to fund future Habitat for Humanity building projects. Donations of used printer cartridges can be placed in the large green boxes near each entrance to the First Congregational Church.
If the weather permits, the Habitat Crew will also move the heavy wooden snow diverters back into the church basement. This will help the outside of the church look its best for Easter and the upcoming "COOL Noon" rally for action on climate change which will be held on Saturday, April 14 from noon to 2 pm, on the front steps of First Congregational Church. This event is part of a national day of action, Step It Up, organized by climate change scholar and activist Bill McKibben. The façade of the church will be decorated to illustrate a graph of the dramatic spike in carbon emissions in the last hundred years— with the final point extending 60 feet to the church’s steeple. The event will feature music by student performers from Williams College and Mount Greylock Regional High School, and opportunities for people to take action to fight climate change.
The Habitat Crew is a high school service group that has emerged out of the church's traditional youth ministry over the past six years. Students affiliated with many other religious communities and nonaffiliated students have also joined the group to help build affordable housing with Habitat for Humanity and to work on projects with other local service organizations like the Berkshire Food Project and the Family Life Support Center's Louison House Shelter. "We love getting together to do service work as a group, and many of the students have described it as life changing," Davis explained, "For example, with the Light Bulb Changing Party, the real question is ‘How many light bulbs does it take to change the world?’”
The First Congregational Church of Williamstown is located at 906 Main Street (Rt. 2) opposite the top of Spring Street. The building is fully handicap accessible and parking is available behind the Church off of Chapin Hall Drive. For more information please call the Church office at 413-459-4273 or e-mail fcc.willi@verizon.net


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