submitted by Jay Vestal, Mountain Sky Conference Creation Justice Task Force
In February 2022, Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC), Salt Lake City, Utah proposed a grant request to the Mountain Sky Conference Creation Justice team to install a Level II EV charger in the sanctuary parking lot. Such an installation would continue the congregation’s ongoing commitment to Creation Care. An increasing number of our church members have chosen to transition from polluting internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles to plug-in hybrids and now, battery electric vehicles. An EV charging station at CUMC would provide another location in the ever-expanding network of chargers being installed throughout Utah and fill a blank spot in the EV charging system along a main traffic artery.
As envisioned, the charging units would be open to use not only to our congregation but to the public as part of our community outreach efforts and a demonstration of our congregation’s commitment to Creation Care through “green” actions.
With a grant of $250 from the Mountain Sky Conference and a donation from the church’s Permanent Endowment Fund, CUMC was able to leverage a grant from the State of Utah Department of Air Quality which matched 50 % of the final installation cost of $3,073.00.
Addressing a need
Unfortunately, the Salt Lake Valley is saddled with some of the worst air quality in the United States. The mountains that rim the valley can prevent normal air currents from clearing the air. In Winter, inversions set in as colder, polluted air gets trapped under a layer of warmer air. In Summer the trapped air is less visible, but unhealthy just the same. Pollution from factories, heating homes, and specifically, the tailpipes of ICE automobiles make the air we breathe unhealthy for days at a time. A recent study showed that the effect of Utah’s air pollution takes about 2-years off the average life expectancy of a resident. While the solutions to this problem are multifaceted, more than 40% of the total pollution comes from the transportation sector. One part of the solution is to transition private automobiles from internal combustion engines to non-polluting electric vehicles as quickly as possible. A major barrier to this transition is the lack of a comprehensive EV-charging system in our state.
How we tell our story
The new two-station EV charger was installed on May 8, 2022 and went into operation immediately. The charger location is featured on Plug Share and other cellphone apps available to EV users showing the availability of the chargers, and that they are free to the public to use.
Two signs mark the parking spots now reserved for electric vehicles. The church’s EV location is listed along with other businesses and non-profits who have been awarded a matching grant from the Utah Department of Air Quality on a website, LeadersforCleanAir.org. And, the church’s location is featured on EV apps showing the precise location, hours of operation, and that while there is no cost to charge an EV at CUMC, we encourage donations through a prominent QR code on the charger signs which states: “Use this QR Code to contribute to Creation Care Efforts of Christ United Methodist Church. Thank You.”
Would you like to learn more about the Mountain Sky Conference Creation Justice Task Force and ways your church can go green? Visit the Creation Justice Task Force webpage
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