Oregon Interfaith Power & Light (OIPL) engages the faith community to strive for accountability in our individual and collective energy decisions in an interdependent world (see full mission and vision statement in left column). OIPL offers educational and consulting services, resources and information regarding energy stewardship, a solar congregations program and the Energy Stewardship Covenant. Sign up for renewable energy today to support OIPL. Borrow an educational DVD or video for your congregation. Order a book to benefit OIPL. Be inspired by stories!
A Call to a Higher Road for the Pacific Northwest
On Dec. 9, 2015, the Board of Directors of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon voted to issue a letter calling for a halt to the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. It was presented to the board by EMO's Oregon Interfaith Power & Light. The letter is now available for clergy and lay faith leaders to sign on to (read letter). The letter comes just as many public input processes for start for permitting of several of the proposed projects. The letter calls upon all cities, state governments and port authorities of the Pacific Northwest to follow the lead of Portland City Council in calling for a halt to building new fossil fuel export facilities. Fossil fuel export is an issue that will have a tremendous impact on the quality of life in the Pacific Northwest and on climate change, and all faith leaders are strongly encouraged to sign. Sign the letter now.
Oregon Interfaith Power & Lights' Faith and Fossil Fuels Initiative aims to educate and mobilize Oregon's faith community around environmental justice, health and climate threats posed by fossil fuel transportation and fossil fuels export terminals planned for the Pacific Northwest. Turning our beautiful region in to a "carbon corridor" is out of alignment with our vision of "Shalom for All Creation."
Joining with other groups and organizations, we will engage the faith community in policy and civic engagement opportunities around fossil fuel transportation and terminals. We are sharing stories of how people are affected on the frontlines, developing faith resources for action and reflection, and providing a faith voice on the issues. For more information or to get involved, call (503) 221-1054, ext. 214.
As part of the educational component of this effort, we held a consultation in the Columbia River Gorge on July 31, 2015, where we met with tribes, activists, local civic leaders and members of the faith community. We learned how local faith communities have responded and then reflected on the spiritual and ethical aspects of what we experienced. On October 16, we visited areas proposed for oil terminals in Vancouver, Washington. Read a story on this field trip and a discussion with Dan Serres of Columbia Riverkeeper. A statement on the ethical and spiritual aspects of fossil fuel exports is being prepared in anticipation of the public input opportunities coming up on a number of proposed fossil fuel export facilities in late 2015 and early 2016.
What can you do?
Stay informed on upcoming climate change issues and take action individually or with your congregation! The second half of 2015 is packed with opportunities to make your voice heard on fossil fuels and climate on local, state, national and global levels. From the UN conference in Paris to the fossil fuel exports infrastructure here in Oregon, see how you can make a difference! Download OIPL's Climate Action Guide.
On March 3, 2015, over 100 people of faith and allies gathered for the Interfaith Climate Advocacy Day at First United Methodist Church in Salem to bring faith voice to energy and climate policy in the 2015 Oregon Legislation. Our priorities were the Clean Fuels Program sunset removal (SB 324, which passed in the House on March 4), Coal to Clean to sunset all coal in Oregon (SB 477/HB 2729), and the Transportation Package to support equitable low-carbon mobility and jobs. Participants also educated their members on the need to put a price on carbon. At least 40 visits to legislators were made, shoring up support for the Clean Fuels bill under a well-funded attack by the oil industry. To start the event, an powerful inspirational reflection by The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell was given (download "Climate Change and People of Faith").
Oregon Interfaith Power & Light is offering resources and information on fossil fuel divestment and updates on what Oregon congregations and denominations are doing. View Resources. Please e-mail your updates and suggestions of additional resources to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read July 25, 2013, Catholic Sentinel article about Bill McKibben's interfaith conversation, "Climate activist urges faith leaders toward fossil fuel divestment," an event presented by OIPL.
Sign on now to the Oregon Climate Declaration calling on the State of Oregon as well as city, county and other jurisdictions to cease new investment in the 200 companies that own the vast majority of listed fossil-fuel reserves, and then to divest from ownership of stocks and bonds of these companies.
Please sign the online petition now as an individual, committee or congregation. We also encourage you to gather signatures at your congregation. Download a pdf version of the petition and help reach our goal of 100,000 signatures.
View a list of resources including public input opportunities, fall events, organizations, and reports and articles.
On September 19, 2013, the EMO Board produced a resolution calling for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement on coal exports in the Northwest. Read the resolution.
Help members of your congregation care for God's creation by improving home energy efficiency. Download Weatherize for Good flyers to hand out at your congregation and encourage members to save energy and money.
Energy efficiency in your congregation facility is important, but if all the members in your congregation improved the energy efficiency of their homes by 15 percent or more, the collective impact would be even greater. OIPL can also arrange for a presentation for your adult education program, men's or women's group, or small group on the Weatherize for Good Program this winter or spring. Call (503) 221-1054, ext. 214, to arrange this.
Households can probably never get a better financial deal than the one currently available through Clean Energy Works Oregon and Weatherize for Good. Customers get instant rebates and can pay for low-interest loans directly on their energy bill. Lower energy costs help payback the loan. Oregon Interfaith Power & Light's partner on this project, Weatherize for Good, is a group of ethical and high quality home performance contractors and community organizations who are committed to helping the environment, economy and community, both through the houses they serve and the jobs they create.
Apply now. Call (503) 893-9240 for someone to walk you through the online application.
The Earth Words contest has been cancelled for 2015. Please check back in the fall for details about the 2016 contest.
Earth Words provides an opportunity for congregations to remember their deep faith connections to the Earth and inspire sustainable living. The goals of Earth Words are to raise awareness of the need to care for creation and sustainable living within Oregon’s faith community and of the need for and value of good preaching, homilies and faith messages on the Earth; to motivate the faith community to get more involved in caring for creation; and to raise the visibility of Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns.
Earth Words 2014 Winning Sermons
- “It’s a God Thing” sermon series by The Rev. Donna Pritchard
- “No Time But Now… There’s No One But Us: An Earth Day Sermon” by The Rev. Thomas Disrud
- “God’s Dance Party” by The Rev. Brooks Berndt
View 2011 OIPL winning sermons:
"The God of Passionate Love," by
Rev. Brooks Berndt
"Blessed Are the Meek," by Rev. Audrey de Coursey
Easter sermon by Katherine Brick
"New Occasions Teach New Duties," by Vern Groves
View 2010 OIPL winning sermons:
"Earth Day: As Big as Christmas and Easter," by the Rev. Dr. Steven Koski, First Presbyterian Church, Bend
"Theology and Church Basements," by the Rev. Brooks Berndt, First Congregational UCC, Vancouver, Wash.
"A Communion for the Community," by the Rev. Katherine Jesch, Unitarian Minister in Portland
View 2009 OIPL winning sermons:
"Earth Sunday," by the Rev. Robyn Hartwig, St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Beaverton
"Where Are We From," by the Rev. Rev. John Pitney, First United Methodist Church, Eugene
"A Life-Giving River," by
the Rev. Brooks Berndt, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Vancouver, Wash.
View 2008 OIPL winning sermons:
"Opening Our Eyes to the Sacred," by the Rev. Kent Harrop
"Earth's Disciples," by the Rev. Barbara Campbell
"And God Said That It Was Good," by Terry Buchholz
From left: Rev. Dr. David Wheeler, Kathleen Dean Moore and
Jenny Holmes at the forum. Photo taken by Joe Walicki.
On May 14, 2011, we held a Climate Ethics and Equity Forum at First United Methodist Church in Portland. The event was attended by over 90 people. Participants enjoyed a keynote presentation by Kathleen Dean Moore, a lively panel discussion, and breakout sessions on a wide range of topics including Indigenous Rights, Biodiversity and Wildlife Habitat, and Profits, Debt and Climate.
View a summary of the breakout sessions and a contact sheet of presenters.
This year we have been blessed with the challenge of raising $5,000 entirely from individuals, congregations and businesses, thanks to a match grant from The Regeneration Project. Your support is needed now as we build a strong foundation of grassroots support key to the mission of engaging Oregon's faith community in climate solutions and providing leadership on the ethical dimensions of energy and climate change.
There are a number of ways that you can show your support.
- Give a one time gift to support our work at www.emoregon.org/donations.php.
- Consider becoming a Partner for Climate Care (OIPL Partners) by providing monthly support for this important work. To sign up, go to www.emoregon.org/monthly_giving.php.
- If you own a business, sign up to become a supporter, or if you know of a business that we should contact, email email@example.com.
- Hold a special Earth Day or pocket change offering to benefit OIPL.
- Put OIPL in the Outreach, Mission or Social Justice budget of your congregation.
- Host a Cool Harvest, low-carbon meal at your house or congregations with a free-will offering to OIPL.
For a limited time we are offering a free copy of the book Love God Heal Earth to people who sign up for Partners for Climate Care or donate $100 or more. Love God Heal Earth brings together 21 highly regarded spiritual leaders from diverse faiths to make the case for environmental stewardship.
If so, your refrigerator is likely gobbling up your congregation’s cash and burning extra energy resources that harm Creation! Consider an energy-efficient upgrade that will bring relief to your operating budget and reduce your congregation’s carbon footprint! Energy conservation is good stewardship of financial resources and Creation. Learn more.
Oregon Interfaith Power and Light is pleased to offer a very user-friendly tool to aide your congregation in its greening process. The Cool Congregations Carbon Checklist and Action Menu provides a checklist of items that contribute to your carbon, and overall environmental, footprint along with concrete actions you can take to reduce your footprint. It is intended to be used after your congregation determines its carbon footprint using the online calculator at www.CoolCongregations.com, but can be used independently as well.
Lenten Guide: Powering Down, A Less Is More Proposal
Seeds: Coalition on Environment and Jewish Life's Program Bank
Check out the Final report of the Governor’s Climate Integration Group. The report features recommendations for the Governor, the Global Warming Commission, the Oregon Legislature and state agencies. The Climate Change Integration Group (CCIG) was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongkoski to develop a framework for making intelligent and well informed decisions to minimize the adverse impacts of changing weather patterns to our lives while creating economic opportunity. EMO’s Environmental Ministries director, Jenny Holmes, served on this committee. Interested in a discussion on what a changing climate means for ministry in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest? Call Jenny Holmes at (503) 221-1054, ext. 214.
Looking for great prices on high-quality, energy efficient products like light bulbs and thermostats for your home or house of worship?
Visit ShopIPL.org, the new online energy-efficiency store for congregations and their members. Oregon Interfaith Power & Light is one of 26 state “IPL” organizations that are collaborating to bring energy efficiency and emissions reductions to congregations across the country.
ShopIPL.org works like the fair trade coffee programs that many congregations participate in already. Your congregation can buy products like compact fluorescent light bulbs in bulk, members can order products for their own homes and businesses through the congregation, and youth groups or other groups can sell energy efficient products for fundraisers. Individuals also can purchase directly from the Web site.
ShopIPL.org is an especially good resource for consumers who are new to the idea of energy efficiency. The site includes detailed descriptions of products and explains how they save energy.
Congregations and their members who purchase from the site can receive substantial discounts. After creating a new customer account at "Log in," just enter the discount code "ShopIPL." You will get a 10 percent discount when you sign up under your congregation in the drop down menu. If your congregation is not listed, have it added by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or order under Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon. A portion of the proceeds from ShopIPL.org support Oregon Interfaith Power & Light's education programs.
Kill A Watt is a simple device that allows you to access how efficient your appliances really are and to determine the sneaky "phantom load" that your appliances draw even when you turn them off. Learn more about Kill A Watt in our fact sheet. Watt's Up? is a more sophisticated electricity monitor that allows measurement of both current and voltage. The U.S. phantom load is responsible for two billion tons of carbon being emitted to the atmosphere each year. Congregations that have signed the OIPL Energy Stewardship Covenant may borrow Kill A Watt or Watt's Up for free. Others may rent for $10 per week. You may also purchase these items on ShopIPL at a discount.
Wanting to improving lighting and office equipment efficiency in your congregation or business? PGE provides helpful resource that makes improving efficiency simple on PGE's Business page.
Looking for ideas for improving efficiency in your home? Visit PGE's Home Energy Savings page.
Energy Trust Offers Audits and Incentives to Congregations: If your congregation is in the territory of PGE, Pacific Power, NW Natural and Cascade Natural Gas, your energy efficiency upgrades may qualify for incentives on heating, lighting and kitchen equipment. They also provide energy audits. View more information.
Looking for a way to help pay for a youth group field trip? How about a way to purchase energy-efficient light bulbs for your congregation? Try the OIPL CLF Fundraiser! It is available to congregations in all parts of Oregon, no matter who provides your electricity. The fundraiser includes several water saving items in addition to a diverse selection of CLF blubs. The products are highest quality from ShopIPL.org.
To get started, send an e-mail to email@example.com. We will e-mail you a fundraiser packet that will include instructions, order forms, a product list and a bulletin insert to promote your fundraiser. You can customize the forms to fit your particular needs.
You’ll need a coordinator (“Team Captain”) to collect all the orders and submit them to OIPL. Write a check to OIPL for the total wholesale cost (listed on the Team Captain order form) and keep the additional money for your congregation. We’ll pay for the shipping! Orders will be filled in within two weeks
The Energy Trust of Oregon’s Change a Light, Change the World CFL Fundraiser is a great way to promote conservation ethics for your congregation, school and organization while raising money! By participating in the Change a Light, Change the World fundraiser, your organization will sell energy efficient, ENERGY STAR® qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Organizations earn a 50 percent profit on every bulb sold. What’s more, organizations can now earn a bonus of up to $1,000, based upon sales. This program is available only to congregations, schools and organizations that purchase their electricity from PGE and Pacific Power. Please use OIPL’s CLF Fundraiser described above if you are outside of PGE and Pacific Power territory.
Why Buy CFLs?
- CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last as much as 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
- CFLs sold through the fundraiser save, on average, $30 or more in energy costs over the life of the bulb when replacing a standard incandescent bulb.
- CFLs come in a variety of colors, sizes and styles; they are safer than standard incandescent bulbs; and they help fight global warming.
As a participating organization, you will receive all the materials you need to make your fundraiser a success, including:
- Easy-to-use order forms. Each order form contains benefits of CFLs and pricing information.
- Marketing materials such as newsletter copy, CFL facts, posters, sample bulbs and form letters for parents.
- Assistance throughout the process to help you achieve your fundraising goals.
The environmental benefits of using CFL’s are tremendous. It is important, however, to dispose of CFL’s properly ensuring containment of the trace levels of mercury held within. For more information on mercury and CFL’s please review the following documents:
Energy Trust – CFL products and disposal
ENERGY STAR - Mercury and CFL disposal
Oregon DEQ Fact Sheet: Common Products Containing Mercury
Consider having a monthly or quarterly collection of CFLs at your congregation. To see how one congregation did, please see the Temple Havurah Shalom case study.
"The future belongs to those who give the next generation reasons to hope."
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
There are now many choices you can make about a variety of products and services that benefit the environment. Better World Travel is an example of an Oregon company that is providing a positive alternative to AAA. It is a socially responsible auto club providing 24-hour nationwide roadside assistance, travel and insurance services. Please sign up using the Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Promotional Code ECMN2121, which will enable a $5 donation to help our global warming work.
Beat high gas prices and save time on the road with Oregon's and southwest Washington's only one-stop-shop for driving tips and resources. Plus, get all the information you'll need to take advantage of the region's many travel options. DriveLessSaveMore.com offers great resources on travel savvy practices like trip chaining, or combining your personal errands, and using travel options like public transit, carpooling, biking, walking and more. Reducing your single-person car trips can not only save you money on gas, but you'll also have more time to do the things you really want to do. Driving less really does save you more! Learn more at www.drivelesssavemore.com.
Consultation Services for Congregations
Oregon Interfaith Power and Light (OIPL) is pleased to provide energy conservation and solar consultation services to assist congregations in meeting their energy efficiency and renewable energy goals. OIPL’s energy consultant offers personalized service with an understanding of the special needs, issues and concerns of communities of faith and the facilities that they use. OIPL’s services complement and enhance services available from your utility or other sources at no cost. We desire to assist congregations make the best use of their resources.
There are three main services listed below. OIPL can also make up a special package of services tailored to your unique needs. Congregations that have taken Oregon Interfaith Power and Light’s Energy Stewardship Covenant receive discounts on all services. Fees given below are 20 to 50 percent below the market rate.
- One-hour Consultation—This service is good for assisting a planning or building committee in thinking through a course of action to improve any aspect of energy efficiency in your building. Cost: $55 (If congregation has signed Energy Stewardship Covenant) $80 (Regular).
- Walk through Audit and Report—The walk-through audit provides a comprehensive look at all the options your congregation has for saving energy, including low cost and no cost measures. The cost of this service is often paid off quickly through simple operational changes that cost nothing. You will be provided with a report that outlines the possibilities for saving energy and suggests how you might prioritize them and phase them over several years. A year’s worth of utility bills for each utility (gas, electric, natural gas) is needed in advance of the walk-through. Cost: $175 (If the congregation has signed Energy Stewardship Covenant) $225 (Regular).
- Solar Assessment—Our solar assessment will help you determine the solar potential of your facility and provide an estimated cost of a solar electric system. If your facility uses a lot of hot water, you can also get a solar hot water heating assessment. A report of recommendations is provided. Cost: $300 (If congregation has signed the Energy Stewardship Covenant) $350 (Regular).
Presentations or Workshops for Congregations
Topics include Renewable Energy, Energy Stewardship as a Faith Issue and Becoming a Climate Neutral Congregation or Household. Presentations and workshops can be tailored to your congregation’s needs and interests. We will work out a modest fee with you to cover costs.
Solar Congregations Program
For many years, OIPL has responded to inquiries from congregations interested in solar electric systems for their rooftops as a testimony to their environmental values. New policies at the national and state levels have made it possible for non-profits, including congregations, to be able to purchase a solar electric or hot water system at a fraction of the overall costs through third-party financing. OIPL developed the Solar Congregations Program to make it as easy as possible for congregations to support solar energy, as well as to help the state of Oregon reach its goal of obtaining 25 percent of all its energy from renewable sources by 2025.
Through a request for proposal process, OIPL selected Commercial Solar Ventures (CSV) to implement the project. They will install the solar systems, provide a financing plan, manage the financial and installation processes, and maintain the solar systems after installation. We appreciate CSV’s collective expertise in finance , taxation, law and energy, as well as their interest in working with the non-profit community. OIPL can facilitate a Solar Site Assessment for your congregation as well as assist with education and publicity. For more information and fees, call Jenny Holmes at (503) 221-1054, ext. 214.
Oregon Interfaith Power & Light has compiled a partial list of denominationally-based financial resources for energy and green building projects for congregations. View list.
To set up appointment or discuss your needs, call (503) 221-1054, ext. 214.
To view an article on the national Interfaith Power & Light movement, go to Orion's grassroots network Web site and read about "The Regeneration Project."
Several OIPL congregations are featured in "The Green Gospel," a featured article in the Oregonian's Living section on December 9, 2007.
Oregon Interfaith Power and Light and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation are partnering to offer you Green Tags. Purchasing Green Tags to offset the negative impacts of electricity is an easy, inexpensive way to demonstrate your commitment to protecting creation. Over 40 percent of the electricity generated in the Pacific Northwest comes from fossil fuels. Green Tags help replace fossil fuels burning electricity with renewables from Oregon, Washington, Montana and Wyoming.
Learn more about Green Tags.
Support the development of renewables from your local utility company. As an added benefit, PGE, Pacific Power and NW Natural will support Oregon Interfaith Power & Light with a $20 donation for every customer who signs up for renewable power and specifies OIPL!.
- Green Source supplies 100 percent of your usage with new renewable resources (wind and biomass) at an additional cost of $0.012 per kWh.
- Clean Wind allows you to add 200 kWh increments of wind energy to your electricity source mix at an additional cost of $3.50 per unit or $0.0175 per kWh.
- Sign up on-line and use OIPL as the keyword for the promotion code.
- Blue Sky Usage supplies 100 percent of your electricity usage with a blend of renewable resources (wind, biomass, and solar) at an additional cost of $0.0089 per kWh
Blue Sky Block allows you to add 100 kWh increments of wind energy to your electricity source mix at an additional cost of $1.95 per block or $0.0195 per kWh.
- Sign up on-line and enter OIPL as the organization that influenced your decision to enroll.
Smart Energy (“Use Less, Offset the Rest”) lets you offset CO2 released from the natural gas you use by capturing methane from cow manure and using it to produce biogas, a renewable energy source. As a green house gas methane is 21 times more potent than CO2. (Did you know? A typical cow produces 120 lbs of waste per day!)
- Average option – For $6 a month, offset all the carbon emissions of an average natural gas home (4 tons annually).
- Climate Neutral Option – For $0.1049 per therm, you can offset all the carbon emissions of your home’s natural gas use.
- Enroll by mail and note that you would like OIPL to be credited with your enrollment. Print out a form.
The following congregations have shown leadership in earth stewardship by becoming Oregon Interfaith Power & Light (OIPL) Congregations. OIPL Congregations complete the OIPL Energy Stewardship Covenant , making a commitment to support renewable energy, to educate their members about energy conservation and renewable power, and to conserve energy in their buildings. View list of OIPL Congregations.
To request OIPL renewable power sign-up cards or for more information about OIPL, call (503) 221-1054. OIPL also encourages congregations and their members' businesses to meet Renewable Northwest Project's Clean Energy Challenge. In addition to Hopewell House Hospice Center, EMO's Northeast Emergency Food Program and the Patton Home have met the Clean Energy Challenge.
Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation
"Central Lutheran Cools Sanctuary and the Planet"
"Synagogue Enlightens Members and Community on Energy Efficient Lighting and Light Bulb Recycling"
"A Natural Sanctuary: St. Catherine of Alexandria Episcopal Church, Manzanita"
"Green Building Case Study: First Unitarian Church of Portland"
"Friends remodel includes green practices," Multnomah Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
"Holy Redeemer Goes Green: New Science and Media Center"
"First Congregational UCC, Ashland"
"Congregation Neveh Shalom"
"Dharma Rain Zen Center, Portland, Goes Solar"
"Solar Energy Powers Temple's Eternal Light"
"Peace Lutheran Church: Pioneers in Oregon grid-tied solar!"
EMO's Interfaith Network for Earth Concerns is a participant in the Powell's Books Partner Program. When you purchase a book at Powell's Books online store, our programs will earn 7.5 percent commission on every sale. Be sure to enter the Powell's Books site through our Web site. Go to our "Book Shelf" or use the search engine below.