Whose backs are against the wall?

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Our charge became clear during the opening worship session. Right there in black and white one of the conference organizers had the wisdom to print the words of one my spiritual mentors Howard Thurman from his seminal text Jesus and the Disinherited. It reads:

“The masses of men live with their backs constantly against the wall. They are the poor, the disinherited, the dispossessed. What does our religion say to them? The issue is not what it counsels them to do for others whose need may be greater, but what [the Christian] religion offers to meet their own needs.”

After reading the quote, the worship leader asked the group, “Whose backs are against the wall?” It seemed to me that The Spirit had conspired to contextualize the study on climate justice that I had the privilege to facilitate for the South Georgia United Methodist Women’s annual Mission U conference. GIPL was quite honored to be invited to facilitate the study for the lovely women and I was quite excited to be one of GIPL’s representatives. Continue reading

Georgia Builds on Clean Energy Momentum with Commission’s Vote

St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Decatur going solar in 2015.

Final Decision in Approving Georgia Power’s Long Term Energy Plan

Atlanta, GA— The Public Service Commission this past week maintained Georgia’s momentum toward a clean energy future in its final decision approving Georgia Power Company’s long term energy plan.

The decision adds new solar generation while leaving work to do on promoting small-scale and consumer solar. The final decision also takes important steps to bring energy saving benefits to disadvantaged communities.

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) represented  Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL) and Southface Energy Institute in the proceedings on Georgia Power’s 2016 integrated resource plan (IRP) for meeting customers’ energy needs over the next 20 years. GIPL has engaged in the IRP process for over ten years, yielding good results with ensuring Georgia Power embrace energy efficiency and renewables as viable options to meet our state’s energy needs.

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Northminster Presbyterian Receives GIPL Grant

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Northminster Presbyterian Church in Roswell, Georgia, received a GIPL Power Wise Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to implement energy efficient lighting into their sanctuary. The church completed an energy audit with GIPL last year. From the audit recommendations, the congregation decided to upgrade their old lighting with LED lighting in their sanctuary. GIPL granted Northminster Presbyterian $6,600 to implement these changes and decrease the church’s energy output.

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Walnut Grove UMC Receives a GIPL Grant

Walnut Grove UMC

Walnut Grove United Methodist Church in Loganville, Georgia, received a GIPL Power Wise Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to install energy improvements to their Sunday school, sanctuary, and education building. GIPL conducted an energy audit at the church and, after recommendations from the audit, the congregation decided to use their $3,000 matching grant to add energy efficient insulation in the office and Sunday school building, insulate the sanctuary floor, and upgrade lighting in the education building.

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Solarize Decatur-DeKalb Launches to Over-sized Crowd

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Following the success of Solarize Athens, GIPL, Decatur Sustainability Board, Environment Georgia and Solar Crowd Source have launched a new campaign in Decatur and DeKalb County – Solarize Decatur-DeKalb. The first town hall was held on June 14 at Decatur First United Methodist Church in downtown Decatur. Organizers were thrilled with the over 150+ in attendance. “It’s always exciting to have to add more chairs for a presentation,” said Beth Bond, GIPL board member. Continue reading

Webinar Series Now Available on YouTube!

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GIPL and Hoosier IPL are excited to make our recent 3-part webinar series with the Rev. Dr. Patricia Tull available on Youtube so that you may easily view and share this wonderful exploration of the ways in which faith, particularly Judeo-Christian faith in this series, compels us to care for creation. Please feel free to use these webinars as a resource to engage your congregation in this important work or simply share with those who might find sustenance here. This series entitled “The Spirit is Willing and We are Not Faint” is a great resource for those at any level of comfort and familiarity with the conversations about the connection between faith and the environment.

The first part of the series is entitled “Rethinking Scripture, Humans and Creation.”

The second part of the series is entitled “Creating Social Movements for Change”

The third part of the series is entitled “Shifting to a Flourishing Future”

Al-Farooq Masjid of Atlanta Receives GIPL Grant

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Al-Farooq Masjid of Atlanta was awarded a GIPL Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to make improvements to their HVAC system in their building.  Al-Farooq completed an energy audit with GIPL last year to see where they could improve on energy efficiency, and they decided to use the grant to retro-commission their current HVAC Building Automation.  The mosque was awarded $5,000 in order to implement these changes. The updates to the HVAC system are estimated to cut the building’s energy cost by at least 10%!

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Trinity Presbyterian Receives GIPL Grant

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Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta received a GIPL Power Wise Energy Efficiency Matching Grant to help upgrade the lighting in their preschool building.  Trinity Church completed an energy audit with GIPL, and from the recommendations on that audit, they decided to replace their old light fixtures with T8 lights, which will increase the preschool building’s energy efficiency.  The church was awarded $5,000 from GIPL in order to implement the light fixture upgrades.

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Thurman, the Disinherited, and Environmental Justice

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Sermon delivered @ St. Paul AME Church on 3/19/16 by Demarius J. Walker. Demarius joins GIPL as a Road Fellow for the next year through the Episcopal Service Corps. 

It is an honor to be with you today and I am so glad that your Pastor Eason was willing to share his pulpit with me on this night. I join you to talk about Environmental Justice. Specifically Environmental Justice in the context of the life and work of Howard Thurman and his work Jesus and the Disinherited.

Many of you probably know of Howard Thurman but for those who need a refresher. Howard Thurman was many things, he was a preacher, a scholar, a philosopher, a teacher, a writer, a mystic. He was probably best known for his most famous text Jesus and the Disinherited, which Martin Luther King was said to have carried around with him, this text contains many of the theological underpinnings of the civil rights movement.

I first came into contact with Howard Thurman’s thought and spirit, when I attended Boston University, where he served as the first African- American dean of a white university chapel. After my father died I found myself lost and confused and so at some point I stumbled into Marsh Chapel where I found his works and his recorded sermons. I don’t think it is hyperbolic to say that Howard Thurman saved my life. His voice, his words, his ideas were living water in the desert that my soul had become. I come here tonight in hopes that in the same way that he provided me with a renewed reverence for life Thurman might be able to ignite a reverence for all of life. And I hopes that this reverence may raise our conscious concern for creation. Continue reading

Webinar Wednesdays with Trisha Tull

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GIPL  partnered with Hoosier IPL for the month of May to offer a series of webinars to equip people of faith for inspired climate action. In this series, “The Spirit Is Willing, and We Are Not Faint,” we seek to address the questions:

What strengths are being called forth among those who care for creation from a Judeo-Christian perspective? What does an ecologically sustainable future look like, and how can we know it when we see it?

This series features the scholarship of Rev. Dr. Patricia Tull, Professor Emerita of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Program Director of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light. Dr. Tull shares her work on her blog “Inhabiting Eden,” also the title of her latest book.

Watch a recording of the first webinar entitled, “Rethinking Scripture, Humans and Creation.”

Join us for Webinar Wednesdays from 12-12:45pm Eastern Time. To register, click here.