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Diocese, churches expand earth-friendly practices

By Kathy Dellwo

While walking around her garden at Paulsen House and the grounds at St. John Episcopal Church, Gloria Waggoner realizes the natural system is efficient. 

“It only breaks down when humans interfere.  If we work with nature and not against it, we will benefit,” she muses.

Gloria continues to work with nature and spread environmental awareness throughout the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane.

“Outside the lawns and gardens are flourishing from seven years of purely organic methods for feeding and weeding,” she said.

The Myrtle Paulsen Quiet Meditation Garden at the rear of the parking lot is open to the public weekdays from early morning until evening, spring through fall.

“In our daily practices inside, we use earth- and people-friendly cleaning products and are changing to fluorescent light bulbs throughout the house as incandescent lights burn out,” she said.

In addition, all office papers, magazines, cardboard and newspapers are recycled.  The diocese subscribes to an on-site shredder and recycle bin from a local company for office correspondence and envelopes. 

Gloria added that appliances are being updated to those bearing energy stars for efficient performance, and she plans to investigate alternative power sources for some energy needs. 

She loves to talk with individuals and groups about the environment, and about social and economic justice. 

“I am still engaged in working with the churches in our diocese towards going as ‘green’ as possible,” she said.

For example, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist has stopped using chemicals outside and serves fairly traded coffees at their Coffee House. 

St. David’s Episcopal Church is “on the path, heading in the direction of more environmentally friendly practices,” she said.  “They use only recycled paper for their bulletins and are recycling more and more.”

St. Stephen’s Church had decided to be a pilot project for environmental action.

“It will be interesting to see how far we can go with defining green in each church as there is such a desire to respond to the earth’s and peoples’ needs,” Gloria said.

In the basement of Paulsen House, the nonprofit, environmentally aware lifestyle boutique, Rosa Gallica, offers fair-trade foods, skin products and other items, plus antiques, art, organic fertilizers and garden accessories. 

The boutique also offers free environmental educational material and organic bedding plants.

“The first step toward helping our environment is to live in the present moment, to meditate, think, and to really see and observe nature, the nature within us and all around us,” Gloria said.

For information, email or call 624-3191.

The Fig Tree - © June 2007