By Carletta Waddler
Pastor Walter August, Jr., and his 9,000-plus and growing member church, Bethel Family Baptist Church, in Houston, TX, have served the Houston community for nearly 17 years. The church is known for its progressive ministries that provide after-school programs, vocational training, food and financial assistance for the under-served.
Most recently, Bethel Family has embarked on a path of environmental stewardship with its energy efficiency initiatives. The church has set a goal of becoming the first ENERGY STAR labeled minority congregation church in the United States. They are engaged in a campaign to raise five million dollars to help build a 56,000 sq. ft. building that will allow the church to expand its social service programs.
Their commitment to energy efficiency will not only help protect the environment, but will assist the church in saving thousand of dollars in energy bills in their current and future buildings. Both the new and existing facilities will undergo energy audits and will begin implementing the necessary steps to retrofit the buildings.
In addition to retrofitting its own facilities, the church is committed to becoming a valuable community resource for the emerging green economy. They provide training for green collar opportunities in the Houston market, which is the 15th largest market for green collar jobs in the United States.
For existing contractors and engineers, trainings focus on how to update their skills for green collar jobs. For others, the trainings focus on how to tap into the green economy, or provide solutions on how to change the direction of an existing business model.
Once members receive the necessary certifications for either themselves or their business, the church will work in tandem with its consultant Sustainable Training Services (STS) to provide job placement.
For those not seeking certification, the church offers free workshops that provide practical energy efficiency solutions for everyday living.
Sustainable Training Services, LLC (STS) is dedicated to bringing minority contractors and individuals into the green economy. They coordinate the resourcing, training, outreach and associated support for the development of an evolving energy efficiency and renewable energy workforce, with a goal of economic independence and a pathway out of poverty for individual workers.
With Bethel Family’s innovative and comprehensive approach, the church is well on its way to becoming a leader in environmental stewardship within the faith-based community and throughout the entire Houston region. For more information on STS, visit www.sustainabletrainingservices.com.
For more information on Bethel Family Baptist Church, visit www.bethelsfamily.org
Reprinted with permission of GreenForAll.