Church crosses in the dark
By Kim Bo-eun
Red neon crosses scattered beneath the night sky are a common sight in cities across the nation but that is about to change.
The lights of the crosses on top of churches will be turned off or changed to energy saving LED lights across Seoul and Gyeonggi Province in an effort to reduce electricity consumption.
Anyang in Gyeonggi Province started campaign. The Anyang Christian Council agreed with the city on May 24 to remove crosses from some 100 churches.
Although concern over safety was one reason behind dismantling the spires, the move is bound to save energy.
And about half of the 460 churches of the city’s Christian council are currently turning off lights on crosses from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. every day.
The move will also be good news for citizens who view the bright crosses as light pollution.
“Criticism of churches has grown along with the rise in the height of the spires,” said Han Gwan-hee, the head of the council. “This is not the essence of the Bible therefore we have decided to turn off the lights and return to its essence.”
Churches in the capital city are also taking measures to conserve energy.
Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and Kim Young-joo, representative of the National Council of Churches in Korea signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on energy conservation and production on May 25.
Some 5,000 churches in Seoul belonging to the council will replace the bulbs of the crosses on their church buildings with LED lights. They will also establish facilities that use alternative power such as solar energy.
Seoul will provide loans of up to 1 billion won for individual churches, to cover 80 percent of the costs of their energy saving projects, at a 2.5 percent interest rate.
With some 20,000 member churches nationwide, and nine participating religious bodies including the Presbyterian Church of Korea and the Korean Methodist Church, the National Council of Churches in Korea will spread the energy saving movement across the country.
The council has also promised to promote using public transportation when people go to church on Sundays.
“We will endeavor to expand the number of participating churches while continuing to raise awareness of the city’s policies,” said an official at the city’s Green Energy Division.