April 2017

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In this issue

  • URGENT: Anti-Solar Bill Still Alive, Despite Opposition and Amendment
  • Interfaith Power & Light’s Faith Climate Action Week 2017
  • Congratulations to Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Evansville!
  • March for Science in Washington DC, April 22
    People’s Climate Movement March in Washington DC and Indianapolis, April 29
  • Republican Pro-Climate Resolution
  • Attending an Environmental Event or Faith Meeting?
    Interested in Helping Promote Hoosier IPL?
  • Using Energy Prudent Workshops in South Bend and Richmond
  • Report on Creation Care Conference in Evansville
  • Inhabiting Eden at St. Luke's United Methodist Church
  • Share Your Earth Week Stories
  • Check the Events Calendar
  • Consider a Donation


Anti-Solar Bill Still Alive, Despite Opposition and Amendment

Senate Bill 309, which will decrease and eventually do away with net metering in Indiana, taking away the rights of homes, businesses, and congregations to get fair credit for contributing energy to the electrical grid, has passed in the state Senate and is now making its way, with further amendments, through the House of Representatives. Even as amended, it allows utilities to impose new fees and charges to put grid-tied rooftop solar out of reach for citizens.

Here are some ways to take action.

  • Read Hoosier Environmental Council’s analysis here. And here
  • Read this legal analysis of the threat by Citizen’s Action Coalition. 
  • Read about the House Utilities Committee passing of the bill on March 29 here.

URGENT: Please call or write your state representative TODAY to urge her or him to vote NO on SB 309. A final vote may occur this afternoon.


Interfaith Power & Light’s Faith Climate Action Week 2017

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Faith Climate Action Week will take place across the U.S. during Earth Week, April 17- 23, 2017. Join with more than 1200 faith communities to spread the word about climate change and take action on the greatest moral issue of our time.

Order your kit now, and receive 100 postcards for your senators, a prayer flag project, global warming fact sheet, action sheet, social media photo project, and access to extra materials – all for just $15. There are a limited number of pre-printed kits so order yours now, or download your kit from the website for free. Please click here to order your 2017 Faith Climate Action Week kit.

The theme of the 2017 Faith Climate Action Week is “Act on Climate” and will focus on how we can protect our climate and energy policies. It is vitally important that our elected officials know that, as people of faith, we demand action on climate change and that we believe having strong climate policies is our moral obligation to protect future generations. With your help, we can make sure the faith voice is heard loud and clear in Washington.

The Faith Climate Action Week website provides sample sermons, worship resources, and other printable materials. With your help congregations in all 50 states will take part, and with your help will send thousands of postcards to senators to urge them not to weaken the EPA and our climate protections. Click here to find downloadable and printable materials.

Once you plan your Earth Day festivities, talk, or other event please post them on our Faith Climate Action Week Event Calendar to invite your community to learn and talk about climate change.

Join us for a whole week of Creation celebration and carbon-cutting activities. Visit Faith Climate Action Week’s website to find more information and activities around this exciting event.

Congratulations to Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Evansville!

Bethlehem UCC has been working very hard to conserve energy in their historic church building on the outskirts of Evansville. Led by their pastor, the Rev. Mark Sirnic, and Green Team chair Susan Sirnic, along with many volunteers, they have been insulating walls and replacing many single-paned windows with insulated walls and glass. They replaced several older heating and cooling systems with new, high efficiency units, zoned and regulated by programmable thermostats. They added a 6000-square-foot “Welcome Area,” with high efficiency walls, windows, HVAC, and lighting, and replaced incandescent lighting in the sanctuary with LED lights. In their offices, they installed power strips for all computer equipment to eliminate “phantom” energy use.
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And now all this is running on solar! This past December, they installed a new 54.4 kilowatt solar array on their grounds just outside the building. The system, provided by Morton Solar of Evansville, should produce around 70,000 kilowatt hours per year, enough for about85% of their electrical needs, saving around $8,500 annually—over and above the savings from energy conservation. This means Bethlehem UCC’s community will reap the economic benefits for many years to come, and will be able to educate their members and children, as well as the surrounding community, by setting an example of true clean energy as they set about their mission of “welcoming all who seek God, growing in faith, and loving neighbor as self through action”—including not only service to the community’s poor, contributions to national and local missions, and pursuing creation care and environmental justice. (Pictured above: Pastor Mark Sirnic showing off the ground-mount panels.)

Bethlehem has been leading the way in community education as well, having hosted both a Using Energy Prudently workshop and a Climate Boot Camp, as well as Sustainable Indiana’s “Green Light” celebration. And now they are southwest Indiana’s first solar-powered faith community! We at Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light congratulate the leaders and members of Bethlehem United Church of Christ on their fruitful efforts, and pray that many others will follow in their footsteps.

Speaking of which…

Stay tuned for solar stories from the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, which installed 43 solar panels (11.61 kW) in March, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, which is installing 199 ground-mount panels (60 kW) this week, and First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, which just signed a contract to install 45 panels (15.3 kW) in June. Between the four projects, that amounts to about 447 panels, 141 kW, enough to prevent emission of 81 tons of CO2.

March for Science in Washington DC, April 22
People’s Climate Movement March in Washington DC and Indianapolis, April 29

Remember to support the many citizens who believe that science should be heard and respected, and that action to mitigate against climate change should increase, not decrease.

The March for Science (not Silence) will be on Earth Day, April 22, sounding a call to support and safeguard the scientific community, to take a public stand and be counted in an era when the careful, beneficial findings of science are being discounted. Satellite marches are being planned in South Bend, Lafayette, Terre Haute, Indianapolis, and Evansville.

The People’s Climate March is the following week, on Saturday, April 29. The faith contingent website of the People’s Climate March is now up and running here. You can find information about other events in D.C. during that week, hospitality, transportation, and much more.
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Buses to the march are available. One leaves from Hammond in northern Indiana on Friday at 5:30, making stops in Elkhart and Fort Wayne, and returning to Hammond by 9:00 am Sunday. Find information here. Two buses will leave from Louisville, KY at 8:00 p.m. Friday and return by 6:00 a.m. Sunday. Find information here.

A sister march is being planned in Indianapolis on April 29 at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 550 N. Meridian Dr., at 11 a.m. Contact Amanda Shepherd for more information. Whatever march you join, be sure to register in order to be counted!

If you plan to go to D.C. for the Science March and would like to join faith/ environmental events going on for Earth Week, find out more here. You are especially invited to First Presbyterian Church of Howard County, MD (9325 Presbyterian Cir, Columbia, MD 21045) to join Trisha Tull, who will speak at a Saturday morning education forum (9:30-1:00) on the Christian faith and creation care, preach in worship Sunday morning at 8:30 and 10:30, and lead at their Earth Forum on Sunday afternoon, offering a keynote address at 2:00 and a workshop on green teams at 4:00.

If you plan to go to D.C. the next weekend for the Climate March and would like to meet up there with other Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light supporters, contact Trisha Tull. If you remain in the nation’s capital on Sunday, be sure to catch her preaching and speaking at New Hope Presbyterian Church (17930 Bowie Mill Rd, Derwood, MD 20855). Worship is at 10:00 and there will be a discussion during coffee hour.


Republican Pro-Climate Resolution

congress_(1).pngIn the face of repeated dismal news about U.S. and state political actions against creation’s health, one light glimmers that should be known, hailed, and thanked. The Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington D.C. has been working hard to help build a coalition of Republican lawmakers who believe climate change is happening and support action to avert it. On March 15, seventeen House Representatives reintroduced a resolution that affirms that climate change is real, human-caused, and must be addressed by Congress. Read the story here by Emily Wirzba of FCNL, which includes a list of the resolution’s sponsors. Read the Bloomberg story “Republicans Break Ranks with Pledge to Fight Climate Change” here. Read the press release by Rep. Elise Stefanik, one of the leaders of the effort, here. Read the text of the resolution here. Read the letter signed by 35 national religious leaders supporting this resolution here.

As the Bloomberg article noted, this resolution is important not because seventeen representatives can stop the current dismantling of climate efforts, but because they represent the massive forces outside of Congress—the markets, other governments, climate change itself, not to mention the majority of American people who now believe climate change is a threat, and support governmental action against climate change. These are the forces that can turn the tide, and may be doing so even now, with our support and participation.

A hearty thank you to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the 17 House Republicans who took a public stand, and to the many people who have worked to bring them to this point.


Attending an Environmental Event or Faith Meeting?
Interested in Helping Promote Hoosier IPL?

tablingmaterials.pngWe are distributing complete materials to promote Hoosier IPL and its programs through our affiliate groups around the state. The “table in a box” doesn’t actually include a table, but it DOES include a black tablecloth, a H-IPL table runner with our logo, some stand-up signs, samples of the UEP guide, Task of the Month, and other booklets, flyers, and a sign-up sheet for receiving the newsletter and more information.

If you are hosting or attending an event and would like to borrow the “table in a box” to set up for it, please contact Trisha Tull, who will be happy to make arrangements.


Using Energy Prudent Workshop in South Bend and Richmond

UEP GraphicThe next Using Energy Prudently Workshops will be held on Saturday, April 15, 1:00-5:00 pm, at the Islamic Society of Michiana (3310 Hepler Street, South Bend, IN) and on Saturday, April 22, 11 am - 3 pm at First Friends Meeting in Richmond. H-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently workshops equip congregations with the tools they need to greatly reduce energy use in houses of worship and save significant funds for other purposes.

Gain practical information about sealing your building's envelope; maintaining and replacing HVAC equipment; using zoning and thermostats to slash energy waste; lighting technologies for various rooms; and detecting energy hogs in your building.

Who should attend? Send a team of two to four people, including a leader from the Building or House Committee, a trustee, and green team member.

Why participate?

Savings: Your congregation can save a lot on utility bills by cutting out waste. And these funds can go straight into mission. One of our congregations cut its energy use by 50% – and is saving $10,000 a year.

How-To Help: You can do this! With stories and step-by-step tools, we’ll show you how to cut your congregation’s energy use and get your congregation on board. You’ll have time to figure out what will work for you. You’ll get just what you need to put your learning into action.

Support: And you’ll leave with a community. The workshop will give you a network that can support you as you save your congregation money for mission.

What is the cost, and what do we get?

  • $20 for the first congregation member attending
  • $10 for each additional member
  • Registration covers refreshments and a notebook of materials to take with you.

Watch for registration on the H-IPL Calendar. Advance registrations helps with planning, but participants may also register at the door.

Report on Creation Care Conference in Evansville

On Saturday, March 25th, the Evansville H-IPL affiliate, Tri-State Creation Care held its second annual spring conference at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Last year’s conference was Tri-State’s debut event and enjoyed a great success in bringing people together from all faith backgrounds around a shared love of nature. The hope this year was to repeat this unique event following the same formula of an inspiring keynote speaker followed by a selection of breakout presentations. The keynote for this year’s event was Kyle Kramer, director of the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center of Louisville. His talk focused attention on the ”Great Work” that stands before humanity to properly care for our earth and the need for a spiritual footing to shoulder it. His wisdom, the diverse gathering of people of many faiths, and the shared concern for our planet made for an energizing event that Tri-State hopes to carry on in future years.

Inhabiting Eden

From Betty Brandt from Indianapolis Green Congregations and St. Luke’s United Methodist Church.

St. Luke's United Methodist Church's Creation Care Ministry is using “Inhabiting Eden” as a theme for Earth Day this year, to lead into studying Trisha Tull's book by the same name in the month of May. Betty reports that she recently found a poem by Judy Chicago that beautifully combines the themes of social justice and caring for creation, and wanted to share it with friends across the state. Here are the concluding lines from The Merger Poem (and you can read the entire poem here):

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And then all will cherish life's creatures
And then all will live in harmony with one another and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.


St. Luke's plans to host an art exhibit for Earth Day that will feature photos and this poem.

Share Your Earth Week Stories

If your affiliate or congregation is participating in an Earth Week or Earth Day celebration or event, please share pictures and brief stories to Trisha Tull, and we will publish them next month!
 

Check the Events Calendar

Check the H-IPL on-line calendar for future events in your area, including movies, lectures, and workshops.

Consider a Donation

Grassroots efforts to address climate change are more important than ever. Please consider a gift to help H-IPL continue to grow and build the movement to care for creation in 2017.

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