Five Congregations Awarded for Climate Leadership

Apr 19, 2021 | Press Releases

Press Statement

For Immediate Release: April 19th, 2021

Five Congregations Awarded for Climate Leadership

Interfaith Power & Light Announces ‘Cool Congregations’ Challenge Winners —

Innovative projects installed solar, upgraded church facilities, and sequestered carbon by restoring native habitat

OAKLAND, Calif., April 20, 2021 — Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) is pleased to announce the five national 2021 Cool Congregations Challenge winners. The annual contest accepts applications from religious congregations around the United States who are addressing global warming in their facilities by reducing their carbon footprint and creating models of sustainability within their communities.

Winners were selected from 70 entries across five categories: Cool Planner, Sacred Grounds Steward, Energy Saver, Renewable Role Model, and Community Inspiration. “The Cool Congregations Challenge winners this year undertook a wide range of creative and inspiring projects to care for Creation and promote climate justice in their communities,” said Rev. Susan Hendershot, IPL president.

Winners included: a student-led initiative to install solar on a Catholic church school in Detroit; new heat pumps to replace fossil fuel heat sources in a rectory of a small church in Massachusetts; sequestering carbon and capturing rainwater by restoring land to its native habitat at a Presbyterian church in Maryland; cutting carbon emissions by 36 tons with upgraded lighting in Colorado; and an Islamic Center in Lansing, MI who first installed their own solar, then made a gift to their neighboring Lutheran church to help them install a new solar array. Each inspiring winner will receive a $1,000 prize. See the list of winning congregations below and read more here.

“These five congregations are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” said Rev. Hendershot.

The Cool Congregations Challenge shows that people of faith are united by concerns about climate change and are taking action – with or without support of government policies. The winners provide strong moral role models for their communities, and their activities have a ripple effect. These congregations’ success should also encourage the Biden Administration to increase the ambition of our international climate commitments, and commit to cut U.S. emissions by at least 50% by 2030 (see letter sent to Biden, here: https://interfaithpowerandlight.org/2021/04/faith-leaders-call-on-biden-administration-to-step-up-climate-commitments/

Listed below are the five $1,000 prize-winners by Category:

Community Inspiration 🙏🏽

Islamic Center of Greater Lansing

920 S. Harrison Rd

East Lansing, Michigan 48823

Contact: Thasin Sardar



Energy Saver 💡

 Church of Our Saviour

21 Marathon Street

Arlington, Massachusetts 02474

Contact: Ginger Webb



Renewable Role Model

Gesu Detroit Church and School

17180 Oak Drive

Detroit, Michigan 48221

Contact: Fr. Phil Cooke



Sacred Grounds 🌳

Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church

611 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd

Severna Park, Maryland 21146

Contact: Karen Royer



Cool Congregations Planner 📋

First Plymouth Congregational

3501 South Colorado Blvd.

Englewood, Colorado 80133

Contact: Larry Strawser



To interview any of the winners, contact Sarah Paulos at sarah@interfaithpowerandlight.org


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