Chapel Hill: Community

On Faith: Solar system to power church, reduce carbon footprint

By Flo Johnston

A Chapel Hill church marked a different kind of dedication last Sunday in what was called a “Solabration: Dedication of the Church’s New 83 KW Solar System.”

Installation of the 326-panel system at United Church of Chapel Hill, 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., began in August and was completed Nov. 6 when the latest photovoltiac array on a North Carolina house of worship went online. The system is expected to generate about half of the church’s electrical power usage or approximately 110,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year.

The $240,000 project was funded as part of a congregation-wide, multi-purpose capital campaign with an option for donors to receive state tax credits for the portion of the campaign devoted to the solar project.

Although the project addressed the church’s ongoing mission to care for God’s creation by reducing the church’s carbon footprint substantially, the church also wanted a project with a visible component to inspire other churches, synagogues, mosques and temples in the state.

YES! Solar Solutions installed the panels. In a news release, the company calls this church installation its “crown jewel” because it is large and includes a trellis that spans more than 120 feet across the front of the church.

“This is truly a billboard for care of God’s creation and a daily reminder to all who enter the building of the congregation’s commitment to sustainability and future generations,” said the Rev. Richard Edens, one of the pastors.

Poetry reading

The Faith & the Arts Series at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Hillsborough will host a reading by poet and writer Linda Beatrice Brown at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29. A reception will follow.

Brown will read what she refers to as her “Mary Poems.” In these, she offers a dimension of the mother of Jesus that has not been fully explored, her very human self, her strength, sacrifice and wisdom.

Brown has said: “As women come into their own in our time, they are being met by violence and resistance at every turn. Here is a way to see the power of the Divine Feminine and perhaps more significantly, to take heart, and to recognize and affirm the power that is within ourselves.”

Brown’s first poems were published when she was 19. She is also the author of three novels as well as plays, short stories and essays. She has been a professor of African American Literature at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro.

The reading is free and all are invited. The church is located at 210 St. Mary’s Road.

Organ recital

James H. Lazenby, organist at St. Benedict’s Anglican Church, 870 Weaver Dairy Road, will present an organ recital, followed by Evensong, at the church on Sunday, Nov. 29.

The 4 p.m. recital will include works by French composers Francois Couperin, Alfred Lefebure-Wely, Cesar Franck and Jean Langlais.

Lazenby holds degrees from the Crane School of Music at SUNY and Union Theological Seminary. Before moving to North Carolina in 1990, he was organist and choirmaster at St. George’s Church in Schenectady, New York.

“We welcome all to join with us as we celebrate the beginning of a new church year, this being the first Sunday in Advent,” said Father Robert Hart, the priest at the church.


Transforming Hope Ministries, a faith-based, para-church, public, nonprofit in central North Carolina, is offering a 45-minute workshop on human trafficking that meets state standards and is free of charge.

The workshop aims to raise students’ awareness of sex trafficking, teach them what a healthy relationship looks like and equip them with skills to develop healthy relationships and avoid being trafficked.

The average age of entry into human trafficking in America is 12 to 14 for girls and 11 to 13 for boys.

Recently, Gov Pat McCrory approved an amendment on the current sex education curriculum in public schools to include teaching middle and high school students about human trafficking. The state will implement this change by January of 2016.

For more information, visit the website: http://www.transforminghopeministries.orgor contact Abbi Tenaglia, founder of the ministry, at 919-943-1477.

‘Messiah’ sing

Associate Professor Stephen A. Futrell, director of choral activities at Elon University, will conduct the annual open sing of Handel’s “Messiah” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Newman Catholic Student Center, 214 Pittsboro St.

Hosted by the Newman Center parish and sponsored by UNC Wesley Campus Ministry, the performance will mark the 50th anniversary for this highly anticipated and popular event.

Futrell will conduct a professional orchestra with professional soloists. The audience is the choir. Selections will include all of Part I and selections from each of Part II and III.

Audience members can bring their own vocal score or scores will be available at the door. The event is free and open to the community.

Contact Flo Johnston at or call 910-361-4135.