Solar Celebration Draws 200 people in Bloomington

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BLOOMINGTON,IN--On Sunday, March 3, H-IPL and the four Bloomington solar grant recipient congregations organized the first of our 24 OED grant workshops, a Solar Leadership Celebration and Forum in Bloomington.  Two hundred people from Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, evangelical and mainline Protestant, and Unitarian faith traditions participated.

The Celebration featured, among other things, a vegetarian pitch-in feast, a skit written and acted by faith leaders from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian traditions, the song “If not now, tell me when” sung by nationally-known folk singer Carrie Newcomer, and a sing-along led by the Episcopal Creation Care Team (most notable for everyone assembled singing, to the tune of the the “gloria” chorus in  Angels We Have Heard on High, “Sooooooooooooooooolar power, inexpensive energy”).  H-IPL board chair Rev. Dr. Lyle McKee spoke to why action is so urgently important and recognized nearly everyone present for specific actions on behalf of the Earth.  The celebration ended with a klezmer clarinet -piano duo enticing people to their feet to dance out of the hall.

During the Forum, engineer Woodie Bessler from the Southern Indiana Renewable Energy Network (SIREN) made a compelling case for the cost-effectiveness of installing solar panels. The program was capped by State Representative Matt Pierce enjoining us that, because our elected representatives follow, it is up to us to lead (by going solar).

The overflowing crowd that required us to be close together, the celebration program that was not completely polished, and the blurring of lines between organizers, performers and participants generated a feeling of warm community. The word with which many people described the event was “amazing” (or simply, “wow”).  Perhaps that reflected the thrill of such a diverse group of lay and clergy coming together in joy and play to tackle this issue.