Episcopal Earthkeepers Circle Partners with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light

The Episcopal Earthkeepers Circle received the first MIP grant of the 2015-16 program year.

February 11, 2016

From The Rev. Tom Harries:

MINNEAPOLIS - The Episcopal Earthkeepers Circle was the first recipient of a Missional Innovative Partnership (MIP) Grant for the 2015-16 program year. The funds will support collaboration with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light on the Episcopal Church in Minnesota's Mission Opportunity 2016: Engaging God's Mission Through Engaging All God's Creation.

The goals of the Episcopal Earthkeepers Circle for Mission Opportunity 2016 are to:

  • Collect and share success stories from Episcopal faith communities via Facebook, the ECMN website, and email communications
  • Establish a network of creation care people in and among our faith communities by establishing a primary Earthkeeping contact and encouraging the formation of local “green teams”
  • Have each faith community take two new steps in each of the following three areas of creation care: Practical Action, Spiritual Practice, and Systemic Change (and have those faith communities share their success)
  • Have each faith community complete an energy audit, if they have not recently done so
  • Establish one or more community solar arrays

The MIP grant will support the foundational work of contacting each faith community to establish a primary contact person and encourage their Earthkeeping work. In the process, we will start collecting and sharing stories, so that all of us can inspire and support one another. But, you don't have to wait for us on that. If you have a past project you're proud of, or a current project you're excited about, post it to our Facebook group.

Realizing that each faith community begins from a different place, we do not have a set program. We offer resources to faith communities as they take their own logical next steps. We've provided a next step covenant and an energy audit agreement as ways to get started and share what you plan to do. Do you hear the emphasis on collaboration and sharing of stories here? We're inspired to act when we have a sense of possibility and we know we're not alone. You can help foster that by sharing your stories.

Many great things are already happening! This past year, the Earth Matters group at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Minneapolis accomplished many things, including: monthly meetings (generally the third Monday of each month), a weekend of Earth Day events, a screening of the documentary “Do the Math,” participation in the Tar Sands March in St. Paul, an updated energy audit of the building, research on solar options (both on-roof or a community solar garden), and a lot more. Meanwhile, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Roseville has already installed solar panels on their roof. Ascension Episcopal Church in Stillwater will focus on creation care during their Lenten study series, with a Climate Conversation and discussions of solar energy and divestment/reinvestment, a screening of the documentary "Merchants of Doubt," and information on faith foundations for Earthkeeping. And those are just a few of the events we’re aware of.

Our partner in this MIP is Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MNIPL), which is the Minnesota affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light (IPL). Although now an interfaith organization, IPL began as Episcopal Power & Light, helping Episcopal faith communities access clean energy (which is why it has a name that sounds like a power company). MNIPL in turn partners with Enerchange, Cooperative Energy Futures, and other organizations to support faith communities in caring for God's creation. By partnering with MNIPL, the Episcopal Earthkeepers Circle can connect Episcopal faith communities to MNIPL's extensive resources, and work ecumenically on energy efficiency, community solar, and systemic change.