GIPL held our second annual Green Team Summit on Sunday, January 27, 2019. We are grateful to The Temple for hosting us again this year! To celebrate the end of our 15th Anniversary year, John Anderson Lanier, Executive Director of the Ray C. Anderson Foundation offered a keynote address during dinner. Continue reading
Gary Garrett is a GIPL Board member and attends Kirkwood United Church of Christ in Atlanta. In honor of Earth Day, the GIPL blog features Gary’s reflection on the impact of his own church’s commitments to stewardship and sustainability. Kirkwood UCC won the GIPPY Light award in 2014 for excellence in worship and education for implementing their denomination’s Mission 4/1 Earth program. Continue reading
Make plans to kick off Earth Week with GIPL by attending the 10th Annual GIPPY Awards featuring keynote speaker Dennis Creech of Southface.
Creech has been a leader in sustainability initiatives for the past four decades. As co-founder and director of Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, he is part business manager, energy advocate, and community organizer. Most importantly, he is a trusted leader across the Southeast, able to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders towards a common goal of building sustainable communities. Continue reading
This year’s Light Award was given to Saint Philip AME Church at the Ninth Annual GIPPY Awards in March. Accepting the award for St. Philip was Voncile Hodges, Executive Director of the Saint Philip Community Development Corporation.
GIPL’s Light Award is presented to Saint Philip AME Church in Atlanta for its excellence in education and outreach to the community with their sustainability initiatives.
Saint Philip hosts an annual Earth Day Green & Clean Event every spring, where residents across Atlanta can responsibly dispose of all manner of items. The church collected tons and tons of paper to be shredded, paint to be recycled, Styrofoam and clothes. You name it – it seems they take it.
They also include a yard sale and flea market to raise money and promote thrifty shopping. They see this annual event as a way to educate their community – to highlight the benefits of recycling and protecting the environment. It’s been an important educational tool to residents who take advantage of this annual event.
Saint Philip also has focused its sustainability initiatives on environmental health, helping their congregants make the connection between healthy lifestyles and supporting a healthy planet. They began a parking lot market as they make plans to phase in a larger farmer’s market and store onsite – actually in an abandoned building adjacent to their property that once was the only grocery store serving that neighborhood along the South Candler corridor of Dekalb county.
Next month the parking lot market will be open every Saturday offering fresh organic foods and educational programs on health and the environment. This is a much-needed outreach program for this community that could be considered one of Atlanta’s food deserts.
GIPL is pleased to honor St. Philips AME Church with the Light Award – for being a beacon of hope and light to our community.
GIPL’s Power Award is given annually to the congregation who exhibits excellence in energy efficiency while embracing new sustainable practices.
Central Presbyterian is no stranger to environmental action. They have incorporated Creation Care into their congregational life for over a decade and have been at work of making their historic sanctuary and other buildings models of efficiency and sustainability. After a Southface energy audit in 2008, and with the help of GIPL, Central Presbyterian installed solar panels to heat water being used for showers and laundry in their men’s night shelter that serves over 70 guests nightly during the winter months. With a sanctuary that was built in the 19th century, they knew that energy efficient retrofits would need to be well thought out. Continue reading
The Eighth Annual GIPPY Awards were celebrated in true fashion last week as folks gathered, desserts were enjoyed, thoughtful words shared, and trophies were awarded. Most importantly, everyone was inspired to return to their respective congregation and continue this important work. Many thanks to First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta for hosting us. Fifield Hall was filled with close to 100 faithful stewards of God’s earth. Rabbi Moti Rieber shared stories of success and challenge with his environmental work in Kansas and witnessed to the power of advocacy. The upcycled trophies were taken home by these worthy winners:
Kirkwood United Church of Christ (Atlanta) – Light Award for excellence in worship and education for implementing their denomination’s Mission 4/1 Earth program.
Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur) – Trailblazer Award for inspiring work with their Eco-Atlanta Explorations Class
All Saints’ Episcopal Church (Atlanta) – Trailblazer Award for greening their annual parish picnic and making it fun and sustainable for all generations.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (Atlanta) – Congregation of the Year for excellence in embracing sustainability in a variety of ministries throughout the church.
One significant difference this year was GIPL’s Power Award winner. We decided to celebrate the power that one person has to affect change. GIPL honored Myrtle Lewin of Ahavath Achim Synagogue (Atlanta) and dedicated Trees Atlanta volunteer. As a worthy Power Award recipient, Myrtle brought together GIPL & Trees Atlanta to plant trees on MLK Day and organized a Tu B’Shvat Seder as an interfaith gathering to celebrate the Jewish New Year of the Trees.
It is our joy to celebrate these faithful stewards of God’s good creation and draw attention to their worthy efforts! Future blogs will share each ministry’s award-winning story so stay tuned. Until then, keep on the earth-honoring journey and let us know how GIPL can further support your efforts to care for Creation as a witness to your faith. You can always reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Andrews Presbyterian church was innovative in its sustainability efforts this past year. What struck a chord with us was their effort of making their annual foot race, called Race 4 Grace , a Green Event through Athletes for a Fit Planet. They made a pledge of sustainability which required them to reduce paper waste by having at least 80% of pre-race registrations completed online, providing recycling & compost bins at the event, providing public transportation to the race, offering a clothing and a shoe recycling/reuse program, and hosting environmental education at the race (provided by GIPL). The church even donated leftover food to a local shelter, and had volunteers that staffed all of the dedicated environmental opportunities.
The congregation has demonstrated an organized, thoughtful and well-documented commitment to creation care for several years under the leadership of folks like Susan Phillips & Mary Evans – but they also have a mighty group of women on their committee who, frankly, just get it done. The majority of this church’s sustainability efforts are led by dedicated laity who incorporate these values of stewardship into their daily life of faith.
This past year FCCD launched Chalice Thrift, a church-run thrift store that creatively recycles and resells gently used goods including housewares, clothing, children toys and such. As a frequent shopper there, I can attest to the impressive inventory and how it’s well-merchandized. And because of the efforts of an all-volunteer staff, Chalice Thrift is able to donate over 90% of their proceeds. The shop opened August 4, 2012. Doors are open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for sales and to receive material donations. In just the first three months of operations, the store generated over $3500 in income. There is a display outside the store that reminds customers that their purchases support ministries all over the world.
FCCD has also worked very hard to embrace energy efficiency, installing automated controls for the heating and air conditioning system. They have also begun an aggressive recycling program, with a goal of reducing their waste by 50%. Way to blaze a trail FCCD in an effort to reuse and recycle!
In 2005, someone asked at the St. Alban’s church’s annual meeting, “How much do we spend on utilities?” That simple question started a quest that continues today at St. Alban’s. They have cut their utility bills in half, earned an Energy Star Congregational award in 2010, they were one of the first 28 congregations in the nation to win this award and the only award given in Georgia, and they earned an Energy Star in 2011 and 2012.