September 2016


In this issue

  • Upcoming Climate Boot Camps
  • Upcoming Using Energy Prudently Workshop
  • Have You Joined H-IPL?
  • Want Trees? Sign Up for Leaves of Faith Now
  • Exploring the “I” in Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light: Our Jewish Community: Practicing Shabbat and Mending the World
  • Green the Church Summit Invitation
  • Solar Panels at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Merrillville
  • Climate Leadership Summit Report
  • Consider a Donation

Upcoming Climate Boot Camps

Three workshops for faith leaders called “Climate Boot Camp” are being scheduled in coming months at:

  • Peace Baptist Church in Gary on Monday, September 26; 
  • Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Evansville on Monday, November 14; and
  • Zionsville Christian Church in Zionsville on Monday, February 20, 2017.

Climate Boot CampThe 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. To register for a workshop, go to the H-IPL Calendar and select the date of your choice. If you have questions or would like to nominate a faith leader, please contact Trisha Tull at 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.

Upcoming Using Energy Prudently Workshop

The next Using Energy Prudently Workshop will be held on Saturday, October 8, 10 am-2 pm, at First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Using Energy PrudentlyH-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? To maximize the likelihood of implementing a deep energy reduction plan, each congregation should send a team of two to four people. Ideally, this team will include 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 to participate, and what do we get?

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

To register, go to the H-IPL Calendar and select the date.

Have You Joined H-IPL?

Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light is only five years old. We operate on a shoestring budget with a part time staff and many dedicated volunteers. We are steadily growing, and working with Hoosiers, we seek to make a huge impact in our state. Individuals, congregations, faith groups, environmental organizations, and businesses are invited to join forces with us, volunteer, and take advantage of the programs we offer.

Our People
Joining us as an individual is very simple. Go here to sign up for our newsletter. Be an environmental evangelist: If you have friends, green team members, or other congregation members who might be interested, please forward this newsletter to them and encourage them to sign up. Consider a donation to help keep us growing, and when you see a volunteer opportunity that interests you, please contact the staff directly!

Congregations may enroll to affiliate with us or to take the further step of energy conservation commitment by becoming a Using Energy Prudently congregation. You may also enroll in one or several of our congregational programs:

  • Download and use the free Using Energy Prudently Guide here.
  • Enroll in Energy Stewards here.
  • Enroll for the Leaves of Faith Canopy Project here.
  • Enroll for Task of the Month here.
  • Enroll for the Household Energy Conservation Survey here.
  • Find out here how you can take steps to install solar panels on your congregation’s roof.

Faith-Based Regional Groups may consider forming a Hoosier IPL regional affiliate. Learn about our affiliate program here.

Denominations and interfaith groups interested in working with Hoosier IPL to encourage your congregations in environmental stewardship may form partnerships with us for joint programming and information sharing. Learn about denominational partnerships here.

Environmental organizations seeking to partner with us to join in common cause for mutual benefit may find out more here.

Businesses offering environmental services or supportive of faith-based environmental nonprofits may consider partnering with us as well, and can find out more here.

Please think and pray about how you might join in our efforts!


Want Trees? Sign Up for Leaves of Faith Now

Indiana Urban Forest CouncilFall is the time for tree planting, and summer is the time for tree planning! Hoosier IPL partners with Indiana Urban Forest Council to offer the Leaves of Faith Canopy Project, a program for planting up to nine native trees on congregational grounds over the next three years. You provide the volunteers to plant and water and membership dues of $100/year for three years. IUFC provides the high quality trees, help with species selection, site plan review, planting instructions, and a bucket with instructions for care. To learn more or to sign up, go here.


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 three months we highlighted our green Muslim community, our Friends Meetings (Quaker), and our Unitarian Universalists. This month in anticipation of the Jewish New Year, we are delighted to showcase Jewish perspectives on creation care.

Our Jewish Community: Practicing Shabbat and Mending the World

Jewish faith begins with creation. The Torah commences with bereshith bara’ Elohim…: “In the beginning, G-d created,” and outlines the many wonders of the world that came into being “in the beginning”: light, sky, sea, land, and the diverse creatures that fill them: birds, fish, land animals, and finally, late on the sixth day—which by Jewish reckoning is late Friday afternoon, just before Shabbat begins—human beings. So, according to the Genesis story, the first full day humans enjoyed was the holy day of divine rest. Having seen all things come into being, the Holy One saw that all creation was very good, and then rested.

Star of David Recycling LogoThe restfulness of Shabbat, or Sabbath, is a wonderful metaphor for the spiritual dimensions of ecological action. Shabbat is a day of release from busy commerce, a day of gratitude, simplicity, and satisfaction, enjoyed with family and community.

Not only is this a lovely metaphor for the peace of ecological living, but for many Jewish communities it is literally a fast from a host of ecologically costly activities: driving, cooking, handling money, turning on electric lights, appliances, and equipment. Especially wherever and whenever farm animals engage in hard labor for humans, the Shabbat has served as a day of rest for them. In short, the weekly observance of Shabbat allows Jews to relinquish control of the world for 24 hours—enabling relinquishment on many levels the other six days of the week as well.

Tikkun Olam GraphicEvery Shabbat, Jews pray in the Aleinu that the world will soon be healed under G-d’s sovereignty. The rest of the week, they are enjoined to answer that prayer, to work to make things right, to practice what is called Tikkun ‘Olam, or “mending the world,” or “repairing the world.” According to an ancient rabbinical story recorded in Midrash Kohelet Rabbah, inspired by Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) 7:13, “When God created the first human beings, God led them around the Garden of Eden and said: ‘Look at my works! See how beautiful they are—how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.’” (Rabbi Lawrence Troster, “Ten Jewish Teachings on Judaism and the Environment”).

Environmental Activities in Indiana

Panel Installation Beth ShalomCongregation Beth Shalom in Bloomington was the first Hoosier synagogue to take radical steps to reduce their building’s energy footprint. Working in tandem with five other Indiana congregations through the terms of an Office of Energy Development solar grant administered by member Madi Hirschland, Congregation Beth Shalom reduced their electricity use by 27% (beyond what the new solar panels provided) and their natural gas use by 61%. This laudable achievement succeeded mainly through thermostat setbacks, occupancy sensors, and installing high-efficiency HVAC systems. Beth Shalom’s deep and growing commitment sets the example not only for Jewish congregations, but for members of all faiths, of practicing tikkun ‘olam.

Bureau of Jewish EducationThis past March, Rabbi Paula Winnig, executive director of the Bureau of Jewish Education in Indianapolis, participated in an interfaith panel at Christian Theological Seminary hosted by Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light, enlightening a rapt audience on Jewish principles underlying environmental sensibilities and actions. Many know about the ancient laws of kashrut, in which the eating of some animals is kosher, but not the eating of others, and some slaughtering practices are allowed, but not others. As Rabbi Winnig pointed out, kashrut rules out the cruelty to both animals and laborers that is regularly practiced in factory farming installations. “If animals and workers are not treated with dignity,” she said, “then it is not kosher.” The laws of kosher enforce ethical limits on what humans might do in daily life, and like Shabbat, they demonstrate to us that we are better off when we live within the limits creation imposes.

The Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation has begun a new group called the Adamah (“earth”/“land”) Initiative. Under the leadership of Hoosier IPL board member Dori Chandler, this group is exploring new ways their congregation can put their ecological understandings into practice. Recently they met with H-IPL staff members Holly Jones, Mike Oles, and Trisha Tull to learn more about how H-IPL’s programs for energy conservation and environmental justice initiatives could help them fulfill these goals. We welcome them and celebrate the synagogues throughout Indiana that seek likewise to practice a living faith that mends the world.

Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light wishes our Jewish members a most blessed Rosh Hashanah (New Year) 5777, beginning October 2 at sunset. The High Holy Days continue through Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), Sukkot (Festival of Booths), Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day), and finally Simchat Torah (the Joy of Torah). Leshanah tovah tikatevu: may you be blessed in the coming year.

Green the Church Summit Invitation

Green the Church SummitThe 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.

Solar Panels at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Merrillville

H-IPL's Executive Director, Holly Jones, and grant administrator, Jared Evans, joined with the people at New Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Merrillville to celebrate their new solar panels on Saturday, August 20th. Darrell Boggess of S.I.R.E.N. (Solar Indiana Renewable Energy Network) made a presentation about solar technology to over 100 parishioners and members of the public. It was a joyous celebration of an impressive accomplishment. The church fed both our bodies and our spirits.

Ebenezer Baptist Church
New Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Merrillville showing off their solar panels and their team of volunteers.

Climate Leadership Summit Report

Key leaders from throughout the state met on Wednesday, August 24th, at the Interchurch Center in Indianapolis. Representatives came from Indianapolis, Gary, Kokomo, Whiting, Carmel, South Bend, Bloomington, and more. Indiana Mayors talked climate science, conservation strategies, and action plans to help their communities.

These pioneers need continued support on the ground. We hope our congregations and regional affiliates will continue to push for green growth at the local level. A concrete state-wide policy goal is for our state to prepare a climate resiliency plan soon.
Holly Jones and Joe Hogsett

HIPL's Executive Director, Holly Jones with Indianapolis' Mayor, Joe Hogsett

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.

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