January 2017


In this issue

  • Upcoming Workshops: Solar Forum in South Bend, Climate Boot Camp in Zionsville
  • The Fierce Urgency of Now: TIME TO CHOOSE in Bloomington
  • More Solar and LED Tubes at First Prez in Jeffersonville
  • Ten Pathways to Congregational Creation Care, by Marie F. Fleming, Installment Three: Worship and Stewardship
  • Lift Every Voice
  • Vigils for the Earth during the Presidential Inauguration
  • People’s Climate Mobilization, April 29 in Washington D.C.
  • Three Likely Energy-Related State Legislative Bills
  • Consider a Donation

Upcoming Workshops

Solar Forum in Carmel

Harnessing the sunshine at your congregation or home is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint and free up financial resources that can be re-directed to meaningful ministries in your faith community. Even if your congregation might not be ready for solar right now, this is a great way to get an introduction to solar energy so that you can begin planning.
St. Peter's Solar Panels
You are invited to come and learn about the new solar panels at St. Peter's United Church of Christ, and what it takes to install and finance solar power. Speakers include Phil Teague, owner of Rectify Solar; Craig Penquite and Cindy Whitaker, members of St. Peter's who helped obtain the panels, and Ray Wilson, who leads the solar and energy conservation team at Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light.

Sunday, January 29, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm, St. Peter's United Church of Christ, 3106 E Carmel Dr, Carmel, IN.

Climate Boot Camp in Zionsville

Climate Boot CampA workshop for faith leaders and members called “Climate Boot Camp” is scheduled on Monday, February 20, at Zionsville Christian Church, 120 N 9th St, Zionsville, IN.

The workshop will be 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. To register for a workshop, go to the H-IPL Calendar and select the date.

According to a recent article in Grist, most people care about climate change but don’t talk about it, simply because they don’t hear others doing so. This is a pattern of inaction that we have a moral responsibility to break—by talking and acting! Go here for more information, and register today!

The Fierce Urgency of Now: TIME TO CHOOSE in Bloomington

All are invited to a free event presented by members of nine local Bloomington environmental groups, including Earth Care, H-IPL's affiliate in Bloomington, on Sunday, January 15, from 5:00-7:30 pm, at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in downtown Bloomington.

A brief welcome will show connections between civil rights and environmental justice, and excerpts from the film, Time to Choose, will present both challenges posed by climate change and workable solutions to them.

A light meal will be served, giving an opportunity for discussion before a representative from each group will spotlight its strategy to meet the challenges. Singer songwriter Carrie Newcomer will lead the audience in song, after which people can learn more about local action.

The event is free with RSVP at choosejan15.wordpress.com. Click on the YES! SIGN ME UP button to save your space.

More Solar and LED Tubes at First Prez in Jeffersonville

Has your congregation seen some energy conservation successes? What did you do? What obstacles did you encounter? What advice can you share with others? Hoosier IPL welcomes your stories. Please contact Trisha Tull at trishatull@hoosieripl.org to send a story for an upcoming newsletter.

First_Pres_Wiring.jpgFirst Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville was a 2015 Community Conservation Challenge solar grant recipient. Between the grant and member giving, we raised $38,000 to install 12.96 kW of panels on the south- and west-facing roofs of this historic church in downtown Jeffersonville. This year, inspired by energy savings from both the panels and conservation measures, members gave another $30,000 to buy a second round of panels. One creative giving strategy was the $5000 matching gift a member offered, which was promptly matched by others.

LED_Wiring.jpgThe church had already embarked on several conservation measures, including several high-efficiency furnaces and additional insulation. We had put LED bulbs wherever they would fit, including in candelabra fixtures. This fall we tackled the 1987-vintage T-12 fluorescent lights throughout most of the first floor, in the stairwells and, importantly, in a clock tower that is lit for several hours every night.

Electricians among our membership and other volunteers gave their time to planning and carrying out the installation, removing the ballasts, replacing the tombstones, and rewiring each fixture, allowing us to reduce electricity use from 200 watts per fixture to 36 or 72 watts, depending on the brightness needed. We bought almost 250 tubes for a discounted price of $12 each, and paid 75 cents for each tombstone. Duke Energy offers a prescriptive rebate of up to half the cost for areas where the lights are used 1800 hours per year, such as the office wing and the clock tower, cutting our cost substantially.

Pres_LED_Sticker.jpgWe also invested in information stickers. Each fixture’s interior sports a sticker informing future generations that fluorescent tubes will no longer work in the rewired light. We put the seven-year warranty information on each new tube, and a third sticker on each fixture’s exterior showing the green team’s logo and “LED.” In a series of workdays, we rewired, changed the bulbs, cleaned the fixtures, and safely disposed of the old fluorescent

We look forward to seeing the benefits of both the additional solar array and the reduced energy use from our lighting.

Ten Pathways to Congregational Creation Care

by Marie F. Fleming

Installment Three: Worship and Stewardship

6. WORSHIP It is impossible to overestimate the power of worship to form the kind of community we are called to be. An alternative lectionary series called the Season of Creation can be used during the month of September to worship with various aspects of creation - wind, water, soil, animals, plants and more. Visit www.letallcreationpraise.org for a range of resources. The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentary, edited by Norman Habel, David Rhoads, and H. Paul Santmire, brings to light the way God’s regard for creation permeates the lectionary scriptures for Season of Creation. 

Discover Hoosier IPL’s Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar at www.hoosieripl.org/lenten_carbon_fast_calendar. For a 30-day devotional that includes scripture, prayer, reflection and action steps, download Stewardship of Creation: A Thirty Day Discipline from Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago, Web of Creation.

7. STEWARDSHIP Good and faithful stewardship is about more than money. It encompasses the way we use and share all the resources God gives us. Creation-centered stewardship seeks to live lightly upon the Earth, cultivates a mentality of abundance and gratitude, recognizes the richness of simple, non-consumeristic living, and equips people to live out these convictions. Simple ways to expand the congregation’s understanding of stewardship include establishing a recycling program at the church, substituting paper and plastic cups for re-usables. holding classes during Advent to help families simplify holiday gift giving, and sharing locally produced food.

For a book study, see Jen Hatmaker’s 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2012).  This is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and children to varying degrees) over seven months identified seven areas of excess and made simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism and overindulgence.

For hands-on suggestions for youth, see Jenn Savedge’s The Green Teen: The eco-friendly teen’s guide to saving the planet. (New Society Publishers, 2009). www.g2ggreen.org.

Green Church: Reduce-Reuse-Recycle-Rejoice by Rebekah Simon-Peter (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2010) uses Scripture and Science to remind us of our responsibility to creation and, even more importantly, that we are truly an integral part of creation. It includes sidebars featuring Things to Think About, Spotlight on Science, Green Facts, and Greening the Church, Share Facts and Action Steps. Amazon Link. Find the leader guide for a 6-session study at Amazon Link.

To be concluded next month.

Marie F. Fleming is a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor and certified in Permaculture Design and Teaching, and is a co-founder of Indiana Green Chalice, a ministry of the Indiana Region. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where she and her husband, also a pastor and permaculturist, are involved in congregational creation care ministries at St. Thomas Lutheran Church. Together they seek to create a self-sustaining homestead on their 6 acres of north-facing woodland and maybe ½ acre of sunshine.

Lift Every Voice

Hands.jpgAs we celebrate the prophetic leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this month, we also reflect on what he, Mahatma Gandhi, and others have taught us about the importance of showing up to support democracy, the importance of challenging our leaders to live the ideals the U.S. takes pride in. Let’s make 2017 the year we build our own resilience for change by showing up to lift our voices to advocate for our home, the earth, and all its inhabitants.

The incoming presidential administration has nominated climate deniers and fossil fuel advocates to the cabinet and EPA, and indicated it will abandon important policies to curb emissions like the Clean Power Plan and the Paris agreement. In addition, in Indiana itself, challenges to rooftop solar are expected to be introduced that would hinder our state’s progress toward energy independence. As citizens and people of faith, we have a responsibility to make our voices heard. The opportunities begin early and will likely unfold for months to come.

Vigils for the Earth during the Presidential Inauguration

In the days surrounding the presidential inauguration, people of all faiths, all over the country will gather together in prayer for Creation and a sustainable future for our children. Interfaith Power & Light is working with People’s Climate Movement, Franciscan Action Network, GreenFaith, and others to organize 100 vigils in the first 100 hours of the new administration. IPL aims to host 20-30 vigils between Jan 20th and Jan 24th.

By demonstrating that people of faith all over the country are concerned about the climate and speaking out publicly, we will put pressure on the new administration to moderate its positions, and embolden members of Congress to champion a clean energy future and to recognize that leadership on climate is a moral imperative for our nation.

Are you and others in your city/neighborhood interested in hosting a vigil between January 20 and 24? If so, Hoosier IPL and the national Interfaith Power & Light offices can help. Go here for more information and for some downloadable resources from IPL. And if you do wish to organize and would like help promoting your event, contact us at Hoosier IPL and we will gladly work with you!

People’s Climate Mobilization, April 29 in Washington D.C.

Remember the 400,000 strong People’s Climate March two years ago in New York City—the largest single event on climate, ever? Consider planning to travel with family, friends, and neighbors to Washington D.C. on April 29—one week after Earth Day—to make sure the world knows that the U.S.’s environmental movement will not be stopped. If you cannot make it to Washington, what kind of even can your community organize in solidarity with this mobilization?

Three Likely Energy-Related State Legislative Bills

From Laura Ann Arnold, President, Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance

Three legislative proposals will likely be introduced during the 2017 Indiana General Assembly. These will be important for clean energy advocates to follow and speak up on. Remember that two years ago Indiana’s citizens deflected a proposal to radically alter net metering, and be ready to do so once again.

1. Legislation modeled after Texas law on Home Owner Associations (HOAs) and restrictions on solar installations. A newly elected Republican State Senator is expected to introduce the bill. We are currently gathering more specific examples of HOA problems in Republican Senate Districts including HOA restrictive covenants which prohibit solar installations.

2. Legislation to clarify the current unclear legal status for third party purchase power agreements (PPAs). The proposed legislation will be restricted to local units of government, school, libraries and non-profits as a local government financing tool since they cannot utilize the 30% federal investment tax credit. Several Republican House members including one in a significant House leadership position are expected to co-author the legislation. The bill will also include some proposed changes to net metering to: 1) clarify the net metering cap of 1 MW as per customer meter and not per customer, 2) language to allow meter aggregation, virtual or remote net metering; and 3) increasing the current utility cap on net metering from 1% to 2% to a utilities summer peak load.

3. We anticipate proposed legislation to be introduced in the Indiana State Senate which will fundamentally change the current net metering (and possibly interconnection) which is part of the Indiana Administrative Code. Such ANTI-SOLAR proposed legislation will be advocated by the Indiana Energy Association (IEA), which includes the five electric investor owned utilities (IOUs). We expect the IEA proposed legislation will be coupled with cogeneration language sought by the large industrial customers. A prominent Republican State Senator in leadership is expected to introduce this legislation. One likely scenario will be to follow previous actions on energy efficiency and demand side management (EE/DSM) where state legislators gutted a program called Energizing Indiana which had been established with specific EE/DSM goals via a 2009 order of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).

This year is the so-called long session of the Indiana General Assembly. The Indiana Senate reconvened on January 3, and the Indiana House the following day, and adjourn no later than April 29. The Indiana General Assembly works at a fast pace and bills must move from their “house of origin” by the end of February. The most important state legislative task during the long session is the adoption of a new two-year state budget.

Indiana elected a new Republican Governor Eric Holcomb who is the current Lt. Gov. Holcomb will take office on January 7. Both the Indiana Senate and Indiana House maintain Republican Super Majorities.

For more information contact: Laura Ann Arnold, President, Indiana Distributed Energy Alliance (IndianaDG) at (317) 635-1701 or Laura.Arnold@IndianaDG.net.

As these legislative moves unfold, please stay alert to opportunities to phone, write, or visit your state legislators and offer your opinions. Taking the time to do so matters very much. Exercising our citizenship in this way means we can help guide the conversation at the statehouse.

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

This is a crucial time in our work to address climate change. 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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