In this issue
- Our New Executive Director, Holly Jones
- Upcoming Climate Boot Camps
- Exploring the "I" in Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light: Unitarian Universalists
- Green the Church Summit Invitation
- African Methodist Episcopal Church Leaders Pass Climate Resolution
- Check the Events Calendar
- Consider a Donation
Introducing H-IPL’s New Executive Director Holly Jones
Just two years ago, Hoosier IPL ventured into its changeover from a nearly all-volunteer corps to an organization guided by a part-time director, the Rev. Larry Kleiman, who brought the nonprofit to a new level of programming and visibility on behalf of Indiana’s faith communities. With Larry’s retirement, we now welcome a new director, Holly Jones.
Holly was already known to many at H-IPL through Leaves of Faith, our partnership program with the Indiana Urban Forest Council, which provides up to nine native trees to congregational grounds. She brings with her a great depth of experience leading nonprofits, writing grants, growing organizations, and inspiring sustainability efforts throughout Indiana. A geologist and certified arborist with a master’s degree in public administration, she maintains ties with her Shawnee Indian roots.
“Holly’s passion for the Earth, her strong background in not-for-profit environmental leadership, track record with fundraising and collegial style together bode well for a season of growth, building on the fruitful tenure of H-IPL's first executive director, the Rev. Larry Kleiman,” said Board Chair Reverend T. Wyatt Watkins. “We greet her arrival with excitement and hope.”
As executive director of H-IPL, Jones will oversee the varied work of H-IPL, which ranges from equipping congregations to reduce their energy use, to providing education about global warming and energy conversation, to advocating for public policies to benefit the environment, as well as focus on growing H-IPL’s presence statewide and increasing the number of H-IPL affiliates and donors.
“My passion for building resilience to climate change through local action has never been greater,” said Jones. “Having partners in the faith-based communities throughout our state is a tremendous asset in serving the greater cause.”
An energetic motivator, Holly is already challenging H-IPL’s board in their organizing, fundraising, and visioning efforts, and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership. Beyond her work with H-IPL, Holly is a potter, a spin class teacher, a Master Gardener, a sailor, bicyclist, and baker, among many other things.
Holly joins H-IPL’s program director Trisha Tull and organizing director Mike Oles, as well as a host of volunteers throughout the state, to help encourage Indiana’s faith communities to lead Hoosiers into actions benefitting the environmental health of the earth and its population.
Upcoming Climate Boot Camps
Three workshops for faith leaders called “Climate Boot Camp” are being scheduled in coming months:
- Peace Baptist Church in Gary on Monday, September 26;
- Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Evansville on Monday, November 14; and in
- Noblesville on Monday, February 20, 2017.
The workshops are led by climate scientist Ben Brabson, biblical scholar and theologian Trisha Tull, and the Rev. Wyatt Watkins, who present the scientific, theological, and pastoral challenges and rewards of speaking out about climate change. We hope to help every faith leader speak confidently and boldly about global warming and its impacts, and to encourage their faith communities to respond with vigor and hope. If you are interested in participating, or would like to nominate a faith leader, please contact Trisha Tull at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include contact information, geographical location, and leadership role. If you would like to invite the Climate Boot Camp to your community in the future, contact us as well.
Exploring the “I” in Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light
Hoosier IPL includes Indiana congregations and people from all faiths whose religious beliefs lead them to environmental efforts. In the past two months we highlighted our green Muslim community and our Friends Meetings (Quaker). This month we are proud to showcase our Unitarian Universalist leaders in action.
In September, in anticipation of the High Holy Days, we will highlight Indiana’s Jewish community. If you are Jewish and would like to contribute, please contact Trisha Tull to add your voice.
Indiana’s Unitarian Universalist Community: Deeds, Not Creeds
Unitarian Universalists like to describe their faith as one of “deeds, not creeds.” In fact, UUs don’t have any creeds at all, preferring a philosophy that is living, evolving, and continually scrutinized for new insights and new truth, including new scientific truth.
Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm seven principles, held as strong values and moral guides. They follow these principles within a living tradition of wisdom and spirituality drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience.
The seventh principle is “respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” A special correlation can be seen between this principle and the last of the six official “sources” of UU faith: Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
Many Hoosier UU’s believe that “the interdependent web of all existence” is currently in urgent need not just of respect but of active defense. They are also exploring the intersection of climate justice and other social justice movements, in particular partnering with the Black Lives Matter movement in the fight for racial justice, recognizing that a ecological, social, and economic sustainability are interconnected, and none of these can be attained without the others.
This is why several congregations throughout Indiana are working hard, side by side with H-IPL, to shrink their ecological footprint both where they meet and where they live:
•The UU Church of Indianapolis; the UU Church of Bloomington; All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis, the UU Church of Columbus, and the UU Church of Muncie have all installed solar panels on their rooftops, many of them in partnership with grants from the Indiana Office of Energy Development. The UU Church of South Bend is in the process of installing its panels, and other congregations are actively seeking to join the renewable movement. See a lively video about Muncie’s installation and the commitments it reflects here.
Above: UU Bloomington celebrates its panels with a banner: “We’re Solar Powered! Caring for Our Earth”
Above: All Souls Unitarian Church’s installation in progress
• Several UU churches around the state have joined or are working to join the UU’s Green Sanctuary Program, a denominational certification that encourages environmental justice, green worship, ecological religious education, and daily sustainable living.
• Both the UU churches of Bloomington and Indianapolis have signed Interfaith Power & Light’s Paris Pledge, working toward carbon neutrality by 2050, and are encouraging others to do so.
• Many of H-IPL’s most active volunteers spring from the UU community, from Board Vice-Chair Ray Wilson, member of UU Indy and leader of Using Energy Prudently, to Bruce Russell-Jayne, Board Treasurer and retired UU minister, to Molly O’Donnell, member of UU Bloomington who also works in several other environmental initiatives, including the Monroe County Energy Challenge, where she is an acclaimed Energy Leader. They along with a host of other environmental leaders such as Stephanie Kimball (Bloomington), Wayne Meyer (Muncie), Kevin Bump (West Lafayette), and Allen Gifford (Columbus) have often served as the voice of reason and urgency when it comes to living out environmental justice in Indiana.
Unitarian Universalists from nine congregations across Indiana met in early June to form connections across the state for support and encouragement. They toured the UU Church of Indy, which has reduced its utility bills by over 45% through energy conservation actions and solar panels. They also discussed collective goals and dreams, and explored H-IPL’s Using Energy Prudently website and tools, including Energy Stewards, a program to track energy use, costs and—with success—savings. This web-based program allows subsets of congregations to view one another's progress as an incentive to stay on task. Hope was expressed that UUs could become the first entire Using Energy Prudently Acclaimed Denomination, and they challenge other faith groups to a little friendly competition on that goal. Can your denomination beat that?
According to Wayne Meyer of Muncie, history has shown that spiritual conviction and moral fervor—and not financial bottom-line calculations—have made the real difference in bringing about major social change. Environmental degradation and the climate crisis that human beings, especially in industrialized countries such as ours, have wreaked upon the natural environment constitute our generation’s challenge to human and ecological survival. The Unitarian Universalists among us work to help bring humans to live in harmony not only with one another but with nature’s remarkable web of existence.
Green the Church Summit Invitation
The African American church has been on the frontline of the most important social movements of the last century. Black churches have a powerful role to play in fighting for clean air and water--and increasing health, wealth, and opportunity in our communities.
Green for All works to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Their goal is to make sure people of color have a place and a voice in the climate movement; that black neighborhoods are strong, resilient, and healthy; and that as the clean energy economy grows, it brings jobs and opportunity to underserved communities.
You are invited to attend the national “Green the Church Summit” on October 25-27 at the New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. At last year’s summit in Chicago, 300 African American church leaders enjoyed praise and worship, toured environmental justice projects, and took workshops on taking green actions in local communities.
Interested? Sign up here to be notified when registration opens. Until then, please save the dates, October 25-27 in your calendars, and know—as we do—that the Earth is the Lord’s.
African Methodist Episcopal Church Leaders Pass Climate Resolution
This month the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest Black denomination in the world, founded in the U.S. in 1816, voted at their general conference in Philadelphia to hold local, state, and national policymakers accountable for climate action to make the Paris climate agreement viable, and to “support climate policies that will protect families, create healthy and safe communities, and build a clean energy future.”
Drawing the connections between climate chaos and the health of children, the elderly, and those with chronic illness, the 2.5 million member denomination passed a resolution committing themselves to support climate policies to build a clean energy future. “Climate is not just our issue; it’s everybody’s issue,” said Bishop Vashti McKenzie, Presiding Prelate of the Thirteenth Episcopal District of the AME Church. “It’s very important for the AME Church to reach out and work with other faith traditions on climate solutions so that we ensure a legacy of a healthier, safer world for future generations.”
And indeed, the AME church in Indiana is well positioned to join this surge. They include three of H-IPL’s solar panel grant churches—Shaffer Chapel AME in Muncie; Turner Chapel AME in Fort Wayne, and Olivet AME in South Bend, as well as AME members from throughout the state.
Congratulations on this historic step!
Check the Events Calendar
Check the H-IPL on-line calendar for future events in your area, including movies, lectures, and workshops.