Celebrate good news with Interfaith Power & Light by helping us honor some of the greenest congregations in the nation. The Cool Congregations Challenge winners once again prove that America’s faith communities lead the way as changemakers! We hope you are as inspired by these religious communities transforming their faith into healthy and sustainable actions as we are.
Every year we invite people of faith across the country to tell us what they’re doing in response to climate change by entering the Cool Congregations Challenge. In 2023 we received twice as many applications as the previous year. Together these congregations are reducing emissions by 1300 tons annually! IPL acknowledges the excellent work of all applicants with a listing on our “Be the Change” webpage. Click “Be the Change” on our winners’ page to see the complete list of congregations that applied.
Winners were selected from 150 entries across six categories: Community Inspiration, Cool Planner, Electric Vehicle Leader, Energy Saver, Renewable Role Model, and Sacred Grounds Steward. “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.
There were so many inspiring stories that made the decision difficult. We’re excited to announce our winners!
Winners included: an ambitious plan to go zero emissions by People’s Church in Kalamazoo in Michigan that has already reduced by 20%, an EV demo day at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church that drew hundreds and prompted the city of Indianapolis to offer their EV demo days at St. Luke’s,Battlefield Farm/Harvest Fellowship, a tiny congregation’s locally grown veggie delivery to a food desert in East Knoxville, Tennessee, Ascension Lutheran’s courageous 17-year-long upgrade project that cut energy use by 60% in South Burlington, Vermont, a small Laudato Si committee at St. Anthony Catholic Parish in Sacramento that convinced the parish to install solar, then changed the diocesan attitude, creating a climate action plan for the entire diocese serving 100 churches in California, and a project at Grace Church in the Mountains in Waynesville, North Carolina that transformed a traditional church lawn into a wildlife haven and organic vegetable garden serving their food pantry.
Click here to read about the winners.
Each inspiring winner will receive a $1,000 prize. Three runners up in each category will also receive a $500 prize.
Our winners represent congregations of many different faith traditions that have come together around one common goal—to respond to climate change by reducing their carbon footprint.
“These six 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. Whether a small or large congregation, rural or urban, these projects demonstrate that when we work together, we can create positive change, save energy and money, and live out our calling to care for Creation.”, Rev. Susan Hendershot, IPL President.
Due to the difficulties of making improvements during Covid, IPL will again expand the project eligibility window for next year’s Challenge to include projects completed in 2021, 2022, and 2023. If your congregation qualifies, plan ahead to apply!