By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Church undergoing renovation for energy efficiency

A joint venture of the Trinity Lutheran and McMinnville United Methodist churches, MCM also hosts a free community breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturdays. And it serves coffee and snacks to all comers on a daily basis.

When Trinity’s Rev. Mark Pederson and McMinnville United’s Courtney McHill presented a comprehensive plan for reducing MCM’s carbon footprint, at a cost of almost $200,000, they were anticipating some consternation. So they were prepared to strike a compromise.

But members of their congregations insisted on voting the entire package up or down, and they voted it up. They embraced the the idea of restoring a facility dedicated to restoring the human spirit in return.

Pederson said he thought they might need to tear the building down and start over, but decided instead that there was enough life in it to justify a makeover. McHill said that better matched the churches’ restorative mission.

MCM has contracted the work to Cellar Ridge Energy Works. Marketing Director Zack Geary said the company’s goal is an 80 percent reduction in the facility’s carbon footprint.

“People who come to worship are going to see almost none of this,” Pederson said. “That they made the decision to do this anyway, that’s exciting.”

McHill echoed that, saying, “This is what we’re called to do. It’s our mission.”

“I think it’s great to have churches care about the environment,” Pederson said. “A part of a faithful life is really taking care of God’s creation.”

He commended the Rev. Kent Harrop of First Baptist with leading the way locally, saying he had set a meaningful example.

The building was constructed in the 1940s. The front portion of the sanctuary was remodeled in 2000, and an expansion was undertaken two years later.

Geary said Cellar Ridge will be replacing many windows, plus installing thermal windows that press into existing frames, providing double-pane benefits without sacrificing the existing stained glass. He said it will also be replacing or refurbishing wooden doors, installing additional insulation, upgrading the heating system, sealing air leaks and installing solar panels capable of supplying almost 30,000 kilowatt hours of power annually.

Lumen Christi, a Roman Catholic offshoot led by priest Sandra DeMaster, also uses the sanctuary. It holds a Mass at 5 p.m. ever Sunday.

Pederson has led the Lutheran congregation for more than 10 years. McHill took the Methodist helm two years ago. Then Christi joined the team.

Pederson said the three congregations enjoy a tight relationship with each other, and with their many community partners.


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