Friday, June 27, 2014

I Have a New Job!

Interfaith Power and Light is a national faith-based organization that promotes action on global warming among congregations. It was founded by a Episcopal priest. Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light, or H-IPL (rhymes with “ripple,” which has creative potential), is the Indiana state affiliate. H-IPL has, in turn, its own developing affiliates all over the statestrong in Bloomington and Indianapolis, but also active from South Bend (which, despite its name, is north) to Evansville on the Ohio, from Terre Haute in the west to Fort Wayne in the east.

The past two days I drove Indiana roads—hilly in the south, flat as an ironing board up north, green everywherefrom Jeffersonville to Indy and on to Mennonite country in Goshen, back to Bloomington and home. H-IPL offers outstanding daylong workshops called “Using Energy Prudently,” offering congregations practical info for conserving power in HVAC systems, lighting, appliances, and all the other usual suspects. I had attended one in Columbus last month with two church members. More than a dozen have been offered this year all over the state. Goshen had had one, and this was their follow-up meeting, reps of several congregations figuring out together how to begin.

H-IPL’s leaders work with urgency and dedication to help congregations understand not only why energy conservation is important, but how to achieve it. In three years the organization has mushroomed, but that’s not enough. They hope to spread the message throughout communities of faith. Indiana is one of the highest per capita coal burners and seems to be, on principle, extremely resistant to environmental stewardship. H-IPL hopes to change that—for our children’s sake.

I’ve had trouble remembering my job title:  “Affiliate Developer.” The first word is a noun, not an adjective. Not like assistant professor, but like “developer of affiliates.” I will be a resource, guide, organizer, encourager, teacher, whatever, with existing and new affiliate groups. It’s a little intimidating. But every meaningful job starts out looking intimidating. If it didn’t, where would the challenge be?

There are two other staff people: Larry Kleiman, the new Executive Director, a “retired” (sort of) United Church of Christ pastor, and Mike Oles, the Faith Community Organizer, a United Methodist member. There is also a bevy of board members of all stripes, workshop leaders, and other volunteers. A lot of energy, powering Indiana’s future and lighting the way.