This press release from one of our congregations is a good reminder that sending a press release to your local news sources is a good way to let your neighbors know about you and your projects. They can also inspire others in your community to take similar actions.

State College, PA – The University Mennonite Church (UMC) has received a grant from the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF) to help cover the cost of solar panel installation on their meetingthouse located at 1601 Norma Street in State College.

The solar power system will consist of 56 roof-mounted panels which will produce approximately 27,000 KWh annually. The solar installation project is a major component of the church’s initiative to make their facility a Net-Zero Energy building. Other components of the UMC Net-Zero Energy plan include reducing annual electric consumption to about 24,000 KWh by replacing existing resistant heating units with high efficiency heat pumps, using programable thermostats, and converting to more energy-efficient LED lighting.

The UMC Net- Zero Energy planning process grew out of the congregation’s theological calling to care for God’s creation.  After a comprehensive professional energy audit completed in 2020, the components of the plan were discerned through the congregation’s study and consideration of practical alternatives.

“We are extremely grateful and humbled by the support of WPPSEF in our endeavor to become better stewards of our resources and the environment. We hope that we will be able to encourage and provide information to other churches that are contemplating moving towards ‘net-zero’ energy” says Kate Heinzel, pastor of UMC.  Joel Morrison, WPPSEF Fund Administrator, stated: “UMC’s Net-Zero Energy plan can serve as a model for others in the Centre County region.  Coupling energy efficiency improvements first to reduce their electric use followed by installing on-site electric production from a renewable energy technology is an approach often advocated by WPPSEF.  This approach leads to a deeper energy reduction and less reliance on the electric grid’.


University Mennonite Church, is a welcoming community of Christians who identify with the Anabaptist faith tradition. We understand that caring for the earth is a key part of our Christian calling. We affirm the Creation Care Resolution of the Mennonite Church USA calling on congregations to “commit to growing in their dedication to care for God’s Creation as an essential part of the good news of Jesus Christ”. We are working within our congregation and community to identify and take actions promoting Environmental Stewardship and Environmental Justice. Visit for additional information about University Mennonite Church.