20090206 Praise the Lord, swim for energy

Rev Chris Short and Matthew Nott for the big event each in their individual way
Rev Chris Short and Matthew Nott for the big event each in their individual way

IT COULD possibly be the only time this has happened.

On Sunday, St John’s Anglican Church will conduct its morning service at Brogo Dam while swimmers and canoeists conduct a fundraising event in the water.

Named the Country Energy Lifesaving Energy Brogo Dam Big Swim, it is the brainchild of Clean Energy for Eternity (CEFE) and part of a series of swims designed to raise money for wind turbines and solar panels for surf clubs, fire stations, and now a church.

This swim is for the installation of a 2kW system of photovoltaic cells at the church which will help towards the shire’s target of 50/50 by 2020.

The church is a popular venue for community activities, having excellent facilities of space, quality acoustics and catering facilities.

However, its old-style church and hall have large open areas and high roofs, meaning high costs for lighting, heating and cooling.

The production of clean energy through solar panels will reduce the carbon emissions and costs.

Half of the $25,000 total cost will be from CEFE’s energetic and innovative fundraising efforts with the other half coming from the Federal Government rebate for qualifying non-profit community groups.

As part of the eligibility requirement for a grant, St John’s will provide education concerning solar energy technology to school children and community groups.

According to the Reverend Chris Short, the solar panels will be “a significant step in the parish’s program to reduce our carbon footprint and to share in the church’s mission to care for God’s creation”.

“Matthew Nott and CEFE are helping with this as their birthday present to us in our 150th year,” he said.

“We are very appreciative of what they are doing and it is really exciting to do something with the community in this way as the church has to exist as part of the community.”

Mr Nott said CEFE was always looking to engage with different sections of the community.

“We are willing to help any organisation that is keen on renewable energy,” he said.

“And Rev Short has been extremely supportive since CEFE began.”

It is believed that St John’s may be the first church in the Diocese and possibly in Australia to install solar panels as a result of community effort.

Mr Nott said he would love to see a mosque and a synagogue become part of the religious places that had renewable energy.

“No matter what people’s race or religion and no matter whether they are rich or poor, live in the city or country, climate change will affect us all,” he said.

With a large number already registered, swimmers and canoeists are encouraged to join in on Sunday with onlookers invited to join the congregation in a service of worship at 9.30am at the boat ramp.

In a generous donation, canoes will be available to use at no cost, courtesy of Brogo Wilderness canoes.

Two 10-seater buses will leave from St John’s at 8.40am, but bookings are preferred on 6492 5555.

Rev Short said the service would be held in a “shady place near the boat ramp with flat rocks that can be used for seating”.

Rev Short advised people to either take a cushion or a folding chair, but said drinks and morning tea will be provided for swimmers, visitors and parishioners.

Anyone wishing to support the project may send their sponsorship or donation to Anglican Parish of Bega – Big Swim, PO Box 50, Bega, 2550, or contribute on the day.