INDIANAPOLIS – In stunning robes, turbans and a yarmulke, members of 19 Indiana faith traditions processed into the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Indianapolis to convey a single message: It is our sacred obligation to care for this fragile Earth.
More than 200 Hoosiers of faith from across Indiana responded in unison, “All creation is a song of praise to God.” Participating in the launch event was the Rev. David V.W. Owen, executive assistant to Indiana United Methodist Bishop Mike Coyner.
Faith leaders launched the new statewide faith-based organization, Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light (H-IPL), the 38th state affiliate of the national Interfaith Power and Light. Its mission is: “To bring Hoosiers of faith together as stewards of creation in order to promote energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and related sustainable practices.”
The March 5 launch did just that. Clergy and scientists, such as Indiana University physicist emeritus Dr. Ben Brabson, paired up to explain why Hoosiers of faith must act – and how they can. They introduced participants to ready-to-use tools to equip congregations and their members to significantly cut energy use to help, and 100 “Task-of-the-Month” toolkits were distributed.
United Methodists were well represented. When the gathering divided into small groups to discuss how their faith group might assume this challenge statewide, United Methodists had 12 participants. Our churches are helping lead the way with an Indiana Conference Creation Care Team. This team challenges congregations and members to reduce energy use by at least 10 percent this year compared to 2010. This challenge is being issued in light of the following social principles on climate change.
“The adverse impacts of global climate change disproportionately affect individuals and nations least responsible for the emissions. We, therefore, support efforts of all governments to require mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and call on individuals, congregations, businesses, industries and communities to reduce their emissions” (Social Principles paragraph 160.D).
“Members should also work to make their own congregations more aware of the issue of global warming and create policies and practices which reduce greenhouse gas emissions from congregational infrastructure” (2008 United Methodist Book of Resolutions).
It is our sacred obligation to care for this fragile Earth.
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