And God said: "Let there be light," and there was light (Genesis). And the vicar saw the light, and dimmed it (Instructions from the ecclesiastical environmental management committee).

As Germany's Christian churches go green, Sunday service is becoming chillier and darker.

Shocked by the revelation that church buildings are responsible for an annual 18 million metric tons of carbon emissions -- about 3 per cent of the energy-related total in Germany -- religious leaders are cracking down on prodigal parishes.

Churches that achieve a big reduction in their carbon footprint receive a special label of approval, the so-called Green Cockerel.

Vicars have already begun proudly displaying the symbol in the hope that it will attract environmentally sensitive worshippers.

"We're emitting from our churches about the same as the whole state of Slovenia," Jobst Kraus, of the Bad Boll Academy, calculated.

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