Written by Sarah Paulos, IPL Community Engagement and Program Director
Faith Climate Action Week 2023 was a big success with 1700 congregations reaching half a million individuals with climate change awareness through sermons, worship services, film discussions, and local climate action. This year’s theme was Living the Golden Rule: a Just Transition to a Clean Energy Economy. We invited congregations to examine our responsibility to transition to clean energy sources that safeguard our common home, and how our faiths call us to respond with just solutions for all.
375 congregations screened the featured film series Current Revolution to a total of approximately 9,000 people and held discussions. IPL President, Rev. Susan Hendershot hosted a webinar conversation with the award-winning filmmaker and IPL’s own Board Chair Emeritus, Rev. Gerald Durley who was featured in the film.
Congregations and faith communities across the country engaged their congregants and their wider communities with their Earth Care messages. They held Earth Day services and community fairs, climate conferences, electrification workshops, children’s and adult educational events, and hands-on activities to teach the connection between our faiths and care for our common home. They discussed the common message of caring for one another in community as voiced in a multitude of religious traditions in the Golden Rule poster included in the Faith Climate Action Week kit and how it applies to a just transition to a clean energy economy that prioritizes the well being of displaced fossil fuel workers and frontline communities.
Virginia Interfaith Power & Light’s Leah Jones, Organizing Coordinator and Water Justice Lead, shared a message, “Environmental Justice Now, Earth Month Celebrations” in an inspiring video blog:
Here are a few examples of the actions that congregations took during the week:
We did an Electrify Everything program focusing on the federal IRA, the MN Carbon-Free Energy by 2040, and seven major projects we have done at Oak Grove to cut our carbon emissions including LEDs, EVs, and EV Charging, Rooftop Solar/Community Solar and WindSource, heat pumps, deep insulation and weatherization, recycling and composting and 2 rain gardens. Sunday 4/23 Adult faith formation focused on Mass Transit bills being considered by the 2023 MN Legislature. We hosted reps from 4-5 other faith communities at our Expo.Oak Grove Presbyterian Church, Oak Grove, Minnesota
1) We’ve had an ongoing project in measuring fine particulate air pollution from fossil fuel combustion, including measuring differences in communities of color and low-income areas.
We provide simple box fan filters to all, which reduce hazardous indoor air pollution.
We recruited more “community scientists” at this event
2) At the event we sent pre-printed postcards on two climate-friendly California Senate Bills and one Assembly Bill to our legislators.
Attendees could add their own comments and then provide their return address so that we could send them to the appropriate lawmaker.
3) Attendees signed up to make appointments to speak with Oakland City Council members to encourage them to expedite our city’s ambitious climate action plan
4) We provided instructions on composting, recycling and minimizing waste.
5) The Laudato Si’ Pledge and a link to their website as well as printed copies of the encyclical were provided for attendees.
6) All attendees were treated to a vegetarian lunch from a Middle Eastern restaurant, and the climate benefits of a vegetable-based diet were discussed.St. Augustine Catholic Church, Oakland, California
We had a guest speaker who as a Chazzan (Jewish cantor) and a specialist in energy storage systems, spoke on the intersection of Judaism and clean energy plus a special talk on new and proposed legislation, and how to use them to move the dial on energy sustainability.Congregation Beth Israel Net Tamid, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Held a “Diving Deeper” discussion for those interested after our worship service, where we showed the whole of Film #2 provided by IPL. Every congregant was invited to sign postcards to Toyota re: EVs; we began a sign-up sheet for those interested in beginning a Creation Care Team. The films were an excellent source for building upon: Earth Week worship. Thanks for all the resources!Scottsdale Congregational UCC, Scottsdale, Arizona
Earth Week activities included showing the film series Current Revolution, and participating in the community Earth Day celebration. We also solicited signatures for the petition to Toyota. Our Green Sanctuary team presented a service particularly relating to the response to the East Palestine train derailment and the resulting environmental and health issues it created – trying to support our brothers and sisters in our shared world.First UU Society of Marietta, Marietta, Ohio
Taught a 2-week course using IPL materials at our 2000+ member congregation in an effort to form a committee dedicated to leading the congregation in committing to climate ministry and political action.Lutheran Church of St. Andrew, Silver Spring, Maryland
Held an electrification workshop for homeowners and tenantsSt. Andrew Catholic Community, Portland, Oregon
Read more about Faith Climate Action Week on our website, and plan to participate in 2024!