There’s a story up on MSNBC discussing the immediate effects that rising energy prices are having on volunteer ministries. We’re seeing something similar here in Bethlehem…
Link: High gas prices hammer businesses – Nightly News with Brian Williams – MSNBC.com.
In Colorado, [the increased costs are] all coming out of Cheryl Graydon’s pocket. She’s a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, delivering food to the sick and elderly. She has had to pick up extra routes after other volunteers backed out.
“They’re seniors, they’re on fixed incomes, they can’t afford the gas,” says Enid Bordon with Meals on Wheels. “They’re not volunteering.”
And they’ve been hammered by a crescendo of events — at home and abroad — all coming together at the pump: Instability and tension with Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nigeria, and sky high consumption here at home. The last week of June represented the second highest oil consumption on record — 9.5 million gallons a day.
The other danger of course is that there will be another hurricane disruption of refined product supply this summer. If that happens gas and oil prices could jump to more than $4/gallon.
Here in Bethlehem a group of us spent last January setting up a video conference system for diocesan committees to use. It’s already being used, and will be used more I expect as energy prices continue to climb. It might well be worth thinking about installing something like this in your diocese this summer if you haven’t already.
Parishes should probably bite the bullet and get their heating plants cleaned and tuned for the winter. A couple of years ago we did this at Trinity Church in Bethlehem, and for an expense of about $10,000 we managed to lower our yearly oil heating costs from about $15,000 to $7,000. Get the weather stripping done now. We’re not likely to have as mild a winter as we had last year.
(Besides the money savings, it’s just good environmental stewardship.)