TOWNSEND -- This month the Townsend Congregational Church will be the first church in Townsend to install solar panels as a part of its effort to help the environment cope with global warming.

The reality of climate change has people of faith seeking to create a better world for future generations. In fact, houses of worship leave a notable environmental imprint. Per capita, per hour of use, houses of worship are among the least efficient buildings, and the United States has more houses of worship than any other country!

The members of the Townsend Congregational Church felt a strong need to become better stewards of the environment and, in the process, have worked with experts at SunBug Solar for a good part of the last year to achieve this goal. SunBug Solar is a locally owned and operated energy consulting and service company offering solar solutions for community organizations, businesses, schools and homeowners.

SunBug Solar teamed up with Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light (MIP&L) and Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) to build a program that provides an affordable renewable energy choice to houses of worship across the state.

This April the church participated in the United Church of Christ's Mission 4/1 Earth movement. Nationally, 100,000 advocacy letters were written encouraging political leaders to enact laws that will lead to a sustainable planet and one million hours were engaged in earth care over 50 days. Part of these hours was spent right here in Townsend, educating the community during the Earth Day festival on the common and in classrooms at Spaulding Memorial School.

Realizing that the reduction of global warming requires the efforts of many, the Townsend Congregational Church is looking for opportunities to share this solar initiative within our wider Townsend community. Through its partnership with SunBug, MIP&L and HEET, the church is able to bring a solar program to its members and the residents of Townsend at little to no charge up front.

We are currently looking to host a gathering at the church with SunBug representatives and our neighbors to learn more about this project and to discuss how you too can reduce your carbon footprint on the environment.

Information on this will be posted on the church's website (TCC@UCC.com) or you can call the church office to be put on the solar interest mailing list (978-597-8925).