Bishop Yeom Su-jeong of Archdiocese of Seoul is like my own older brother. I paid a visit to him in his office at Myeongdong Catholic Cathedral on a snowy day last winter. When I was about to leave the place, he accompanied me to the entrance of the building to see me off and had our pictures taken. I felt deeply grateful.
In addition to an attitude of modesty, he showed that he is the type of a person who puts good plans into practice without hesitation. After I explained about Seoul Metropolitan Government’s campaign to reduce the number of nuclear power plants through energy-saving efforts, he said right there and then that Catholic churches would take part in the campaign. On March 29 this year, we signed the MOU for energy saving. At his request, the 225 cathedrals and 250 welfare facilities of Archdiocese of Seoul set up a plan to save energy by 5~10% every year. The 1.43 million churchgoers of the archdiocese are expected to join the campaign as well.
The energy-saving campaign involves the replacement of existing lightings with environment-friendly LED lighting, improvement of use of building energy, and production of new and renewable energy through the improvement of the relevant system at cathedrals and welfare facilities. Seoul Metropolitan Government will subsidize part of the expense and provide assistance, such as energy diagnosis and relevant know-how or information. The Archdiocese of Seoul will encourage churchgoers to take part in the energy-saving campaign by providing an introduction on the Sunday worship program, Catholic Times, and PBC Broadcasting.
Earlier, the Korea Federation of Presbyterian Churches (KFPC) and Seoul Metropolitan Government agreed to work together for energy saving and sharing with less-privileged neighbors. On April 4, KFPC Chairman Rev. Gwon Tae-jin and I signed the Agreement on the Promotion of Network of Love-Filled Villages. Both parties agreed to work together in ten selected projects focusing on coping with climate changes, sharing love with neighbors, and restoring communities. Toward that end, 50 students and 10 teachers will be selected from 200 churches to have them attend an educational program on new and renewable energy at the Energy Dream Center in Sangam-dong as part of the project for training 12,000 eco-friendly people through exchanges with C40 member cities all over the world.
I am very grateful to Bishop Yeom Su-jeong and Rev. Gwon Tae-jin for their sincere collaboration with Seoul Metropolitan Government’s worthwhile causes.