JAN 11, 2021: The Divine Mercy Church in Sungai Ara is no newcomer to the eco-friendly scene. Since 2019, it has won three Penang awards for its green initiatives and has been certified as a Green Parish.
The latest award is the Penang Green Event award for 2020 for its Eco Fair themed Zero Plastic Waste held on Feb 15-16 last year. This award was given last November by the Penang Green Council, set up by the state government to help businesses, government agencies and departments and the people to opt for eco-friendly alternatives.
In 2019, the parish won two awards – the Green Office award from the Penang state government and the Aqua Save award from PBA Holdings Bhd, which manages water supply and distribution for the state. The parish also received the Green Office Certification from Penang Green Council, making it the first parish in Malaysia to get green certification.
There is a rooftop vegetable garden set up to grow fresh vegetables to meet the shortage during the pandemic lockdown last year. It is called Divina Hortus (Divine Garden in Latin). The plan is to get enough revenue to sustain the project and also to be able to give the vegetables to the poor. The blessing of the Divina Hortus, which is on the rooftop of the church building, was on July 18 last year.
Apart from this, the parish also has started: a recycling centre; an enzyme-making project; an eco-friendly cafe; regular gotong royong (communal work) to maintain the cleanliness and maintenance of the church; kitchen waste composting project; a rain harvesting system; vertical gardens; and a solar power harnessing system.
Here is a news clip on the achievements of Divine Mercy Church on Vatican News which was up on the same day this story was published (added on Jan 12 at 9.40pm Malaysian time).