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E-M:/ NEWS RELEASE - BLESSING OF SOLAR PANELS / WINDMILL



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Enviro-Mich message from KWinch5940@aol.com
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THE MICHIGAN INTERFAITH GLOBAL WARMING CAMPAIGN         

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                
Monday, June 11, 2001               

CONTACTS
Kim Winchell (517) 695-2402
Rev. Charles Morris (734) 284-7727
                                 
With bright sun streaming down and powering the sound system, about seventy 
people of various faith traditions came together to celebrate a unique 
blessing of a church's solar panels and windmill, as they called for a 
national energy policy that counters the threat of global warming by 
emphasizing clean, renewable energy sources.

Wyandotte, MI - June 10 - In perhaps the first such gathering of its kind, an 
enthusiastic crowd from various faith traditions joined in a responsive 
prayer of blessing for the solar panels and a small windmill recently 
installed on the roof of the rectory of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, as 
parish priest Rev. Charles Morris stood on the third-story roof and blessed 
the renewable energy devices with holy water.  

A gust of wind came up providentially at just the moment the blessing focused 
on the wind turbine, causing it to rotate for the first time that day.  The 
renewable energy system will supply half of the electricity needs of the 
rectory building.

    Members of the Michigan Interfaith Global Warming Campaign helped 
organize the special celebration, which also featured a short press 
conference and the release of a timely statement, "Let There Be Light!  
Energy Conservation and God's Creation," signed by 35 religious leaders of 
Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations and communities in Michigan.

    "The Judaic teachings are very clear : God's covenant is with all of 
creation, from generation to generation.  Humans are to carefully steward the 
Earth and its resources in ways that do not bring harm to our world.  Moving 
towards a cleaner, more efficient energy policy and working to counter global 
warming is the way of faithful stewardship," said Rabbi Marla Feldman, 
President of the Jewish Community Council of Metro Detroit, and a signatory 
to the Michigan leaders' statement.

During the press conference, Sister Virginia Pfau, President of the Sister 
Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community in Monroe, told of steps 
taken by the Sisters to incorporate the use of geothermal energy in their 
large headquarte building.

"This event today exemplifies our message and our work," said Kim Winchell, a 
Lutheran and the state coordinator of Michigan's interfaith campaign, which 
began in 1999.  "We of various faith traditions are united in our concern 
about the effects of global warming; we are encouraging actions within our 
own communities to use energy in the most responsible and faithful way; and 
we are urging our nation's leadership to develop a national energy policy 
which does not increase the problem of global warming by relying too heavily 
on fossil fuel use and development."

The leaders' statement describes energy conservation as both a personal and a 
public virtue, and it stresses the justice aspects of this global problem and 
points to the "moral responsibility" of the United States "to lead a 
transition to new and sustainable global energy use."  The statement will be 
sent to President Bush, Energy Secretary Abraham, and other elected 
officials.  Organizers of today's gathering hoped that Rep. David Bonior, the 
only member of the Michigan Congressional delegation able to attend, would 
personally take word of the event and its message back to Washington.

    "Today, we the people of faith are dreaming a new dream of the Earth," 
said Rev. Charles Morris. "In this moment of crisis and opportunity, may we 
and our government's leaders have the vision to choose the path to a more 
sustainable and creation-healing energy future. Today, we recommit ourselves 
to the legacy we leave our children and our children's children, to the 
seventh generation."


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