Green Church in the Green State

15 February 08 | Posted in Stewardship

All Souls Interfaith Gathering, founded in 1999, prides itself on being one of the greenest churches in the Green State. Their new sanctuary is a model of ecological correctness: locally harvested wood, bamboo flooring, compact fluorescent lights and a furnace that will heat using grass, corn and wood pellets.

I’d like to think we’re cutting edge, said the Rev. Mary Abele. She heads a congregation of 70 that is growing every week. “I suspect some come now because of our environmental practices.”

The new sanctuary’s west-facing windows capture one of the most stunning views you’ll ever see–rolling farm land, Lake Champlain and the snow-capped Adirondack Mountains beyond.

When the building opened, Abele told the Burlington Free Press that the views are “inspiration to help us understand who we are in connection to the environment and the divine.” It’s a theme that runs through everything ASIG does.355_all_souls_dedication-0182.jpg

“The building needed to blend with the surrounding site rather than stand out. (We needed to) play the building down, make it inviting, make it calm, play on the beauty of the site and surroundings, let the building be the shelter from which one can appreciate the whole,” said Marty Sienkiewycz of SAS Architects in Burlington, VT., who designed the project with congregation members.

At ASIG, the earth is woven into every service. “There’s a connection between the environmental and the spiritual,” said Laurie Caswell Burke, ASIG’s environmental coordinator.

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