Kalamunda Uniting Church’s Sustainability Committee was born out of the congregation’s commitment to the preservation of God’s creation. Dr Libby Mattiske, respected plant ecologist and member of the congregation, chairs the committee.
During its five years of existence, the committee has encouraged the congregation to take part in a range of initiatives such as Sustainable September, the installation of solar panels, a communal herb garden and fruit trees, and regular cycling over motor vehicle use.
The congregation have seen benefits from some of these initiatives. With the church a visible and known location in the centre of Kalamunda, locals enjoy picking herbs and fruit, such as limes, oranges, mandarins, lemons and passionfruit from the gardens. As an added bonus, this has helped create a sense of community and has provided an input, on top of refreshments and craft, to the town’s regular Kalamunda Village Market.
While the outlay cost was expensive, the solar panels, one of the committee’s first projects, now produce enough power that the church doesn’t have to pay electricity bills during the summer months. Locals in the area have also noticed the panels and it has been a conversation starter with members of the wider community.
“I think it’s bringing awareness the need to be careful with energy,” said Rev David Tressler, minister at Kalamunda Uniting Church.
“The church is used all the time during the week, constantly; as a result a lot of energy is used. So trying to have an ethos of sustainability, you really do want to save energy.
“There’s a number in the congregation who really believe it’s important. There’s a strong support for it.”