Lit-up Anglican churches go dark in green move: Let there be less light

October 7, 2008

The Church of England is telling its members, yes, let there be light—just not so much of it.

Reversing an eight-year campaign to brighten up the evenings, the church has come up with new guidelines backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams urging parishes to cut back on the use of outdoor floodlights, in the interest of reducing their carbon footprint.

The move marks a sharp switch in Anglican enthusiasm that received a major boost for exterior lighting eight years ago, when Britain’s Millennium Commission awarded about $4.4 million to install floodlights at some 400 places of worship.

The church’s new guidelines suggest that all this lighting up at night has gone a bit too far in these days of global concern over carbon emissions.

Lighting consultant Roger Gardner, who helped oversee the Anglicans’ Church Floodlighting Trust, told journalists that in addition to growing concerns over light pollution, “churches are at the mercy of energy companies, like the rest of us.” The new guidelines advise that nightly lighting be reserved for special occasions, such as celebration of an anniversary. –Religion News Service