Year of Water - St Stephens Monona WI

The Year of Water
St Stephen's Lutheran Church, Monona WI
St. Stephen’s Lutheran is located in Monona, Wisconsin and the city sits against a lake, Lake Monona. The quality of the lake is an ongoing concern for residents, given farm runoff and recreation opportunities and such. 

Along with that, the community saw a 37% spike in water bills in 2012, so it has been declared the Year of Water. It was a chance for residents to value what they have and to strive for conservation. 

The congregation’s Green Team jumped in with fairs and displays and class sessions to raise awareness and to encourage conservation. They offered weekly water tips in the bulletin. They had a toilet in the narthex to show bricks in a tank to reduce volume of flushes, as well as an “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” sign. Another presentation was on plastic tubing for hot water efficiency.

The big project that year was a “Barrel O’ Fun” event. St. Stephen's “rolled out the barrel” (a polka phrase, played at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games) to share rain barrels in the congregation. They were able to customize to meet people’s needs and provided 40 rain barrels from $5 to about $40. Sunday School students painted barrels, too! These will continue to expand onto church grounds, including helping water the congregation's community gardens.