Thanksgiving.

Republished email, sent Nov. 21, 2017.  Get added to our mailing list!  

Thanksgiving is our shared national holy day.  It is fitting that it is rooted in gratitude —a practice that grounds all of our faith traditions.  Refocusing ourselves there can help us drink in all that is good about this time of gathering, even as we hold and seek healing for the close-in aches of illness, loneliness, or challenging relationships and wider-circle aches of wounded communities and ecosystems that can can be especially visible in contrast.  Thanksgiving is a day when these things are juxtaposed: the bounty of the harvest, the voice of an old friend or beloved, the holes where things are not whole, and the spaces where the commercial world is banging at the door to chase us from gratitude and to acquisition.*

We invite you to join PA IPL around the table this week, too.  Enjoy your food.  Eat all the leftovers.  Then also hold a few moments or hours to get out into the slanting light of November. Go slowly.  Breathe deeply — we’re breathing with you.  Feel the solid ground holding you up.  Savor one small specific moment and share it with us, via email or on our Facebook page.  Perhaps you will make something beautiful.  Perhaps you will clear a little space for a native plant to breathe.  Perhaps you will heal a small corner of a place.  Or bless the grass.  Or laugh at an active squirrel.  When you come back indoors, share the moment, however you wish to do so — a photo, a sketch, songs or poems that you sing, or read, or write, or maybe even a 6-word story.

(The photo we’ve shared here is a grand sweep rather than a small moment.  It was taken just a few weeks ago by the Rev. John Creasy, a member of our Board, on the farm he manages on a hillside directly below a water tower right in Pittsburgh —  a gift as he was working on the harvest.)

For those of you looking for prayers of harvest or thanksgiving, in a past year we gathered a good group still collected here.  Extend the season of gratitude by printing or forwarding them, and reach for a new one each day before a meal, or as you return home.  Looking for tools for conversations instead?  We collected a few of those in a previous year, too, and just today ran into this piece about a longtime skeptic changing his mind.

*Those who were able to attend our 2017 Annual Conference got a beautiful glimpse of shared practices in the work of Joanna Macy, who always begins with gratitude. A conference statement from the program book introduces one part of her work.  More is available at The Work that Reconnects and we’d be happy to connect you with one of the many talented folks in our networks who has studied with Joanna Macy to help design a workshop in your neck of the woods.  Just ask!

2017 Conference fliers are BEAUTIES! Share widely!

The 2017 Annual Conference fliers, posters and bulletin inserts are here.

Get your flier (8.5×11 poster)
Get your 1/2 page bulletin insert to distribute in your congregation the sooner the better!

REGISTER

Does your congregation publish an e-newsletter, calendar or blog?  Grab this language…or use our Conference page to customize for your own community:

This year Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light’s statewide annual conference is in State College.  The conference will feature faith resources (and national-level speakers) from a variety of faith traditions, and will lift up themes we find in many traditions.  Gratitude, Lament & Renewal: Walking Faithfully in a Time of Climate Disruption, will be held on Sunday, October 29th, from 1:30 – 5:30 pm at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Gray’s Woods.  Registration and more information about the conference is available at http://paipl.us/what-do-we-do/annual-meeting/

If you add this QR code to printed announcements, folks can use their phones to get directly to the conference page on our website.   (The QR code will still work if you shrink it or resize it, just be sure to keep it square.)

Were you looking for that Walking Stick project flier?  Here it is again, now with conference info on the reverse.

Use the “invite” feature of the conference Facebook event page to spread the word, too.

REGISTER

new hymn: O God, We’ve Prayed in Wind and Rain

The Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette has recently returned to Pennsylvania as co-pastor of Overbrook Presbyterian Church.  She is a prolific hymn-writer, and has shared her newest hymn with the IPL community.  Carolyn wrote this piece in response to the storms of late August 2017 — Harvey, in the United States, and the devastating storms that hit India, Nepal, and Bangladesh that same week.

The language of this hymn is theistic, and while Carolyn’s own tradition is Christian, the language of the hymn is not specifically so — which opens the hymn to use in a variety of contexts, denominations, and traditions.

Carolyn has given her permission for free use in Pennsylvania congregations to support the relief efforts.  Contact us for a 1/2 sheet-ready version of the text sent to us by Rev. Gillette.  We’ve published the very beginning here, and linked to Rev. Carolyn’s website for the continuation… where you can also browse the full index of her hymns.

tune: Amazing Grace

O God, we’ve prayed in wind and rain and now we pray once more
For those who felt the hurricane and heard the waters roar. 

We pray for those who watched the storm destroy the life they knew,
Who wait in shelters, tired and worn, and wonder what to do.

We thank you, God, for acts of love not bound by race or creed,
For hands that reach across the flood to all who are in need.

We pray for others…      [jump to full text of this hymn and hymn index]

Tune: Virginia Harmony, 1831 Arr. Edwin O. Excell, 1900.
Alternative Tune: ST. ANNE CM Attr. William Croft, 1708 (“Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”).
Text: Copyright © 2017 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email Carolyn:   Website: www.carolynshymns.com

We know which way the wind blows. Testimony on air quality

Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline
Air Quality Permit Application
statement to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
by William A Lochstet, Ph.D.
Board Member, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light

Bill was Speaker 31 at the DEP hearing in Lancaster on August 14, 2017, and was quoted in Lancaster Online’s article about the hearing.

The Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company (Transco) is expecting to release 105.4 to 133.5 tons of NOx during the construction of the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline in Lancaster County. Since this is a non-attainment area for the ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), such emissions would exacerbate already excessive ozone concentrations. As a person of faith, I find that many traditions proclaim some form of the rule that we should all do unto others as we would like to be treated. And so, Transco is proposing to offset the impact of these emissions by transferring 106 tons of NOx Emission Reduction Credits (ERC) from Harford County MD.

Because of activity in Harford County, the air contains less NOx, and when it comes here, it can cancel the ozone creating effect of the emissions from the pipeline construction activity. This cleaner air is carried by the wind, whose average directions can be determined by a wind rose from Millersville University for Harrisburg International Airport (attached)[1]. This diagram divides the circle into 16 segments with 3 segments from the more or less proper southwest directions to bring air from Harford County to Lancaster County. Each of these segments represents about a 3% probability, so that we could expect the clean air to arrive about 9 or 10% of the time. Thus we would expect that of the 106 tons of ERC that only 11 tons would arrive in Lancaster County.

Another approach would be to examine the data in the Atlantic Sunrise Plan Approval Application[2]. Environmental Resources Management found 60 days for which the ozone concentrations at the Lancaster monitor exceeded NAAQS. They were able to identify 14 days for which the air quality at the Lancaster monitor was affected by air parcels that passed through the Baltimore area. Then the probability of air moving from Harford County to Lancaster County is 14/60, or 23%, so that we would expect 23% of 106 tons, or 25 tons of ERC to reach Lancaster County.

These calculations predict that Lancaster County will benefit from an offset of eleven (11) to twenty five (25) tons of the ECRs which would   not offset 105 tons of NOx. It does not meet the rule of “Do unto others as we would like to be treated.” A statement in the Air Quality Technical Report[3] is:

Transco’s approach to use ERCs to offset the complete, conservatively estimated                   amount of NOx emissions from Lancaster County will present a net benefit to air quality environment in the local area.

This statement cannot be true. Furthermore, the Code of Federal Regulations requires that the offset have the result “that there is no net increase in emissions of that pollutant.”[4] This requirement is not met. Thus this Air Quality Plan cannot be approved.

Notes
[1]. Available at: http://www.atmos.millersville.edu/~wic/climo/local_WindRose_MDT.jpg
[2]. Available at:     http://files.dep.state.pa.us/ProgramIntegration/PA%20Pipeline%20Portal/AtlanticSunrise/ASR%20GC%20Plan%20Approval%20Application%202017%200711.pdf
Appendix E; Memorandum from Mark Garrison, ERM, 6 December 2016.
[3]. Available at http://files.dep.state.pa.us/ProgramIntegration/PA%20Pipeline%20Portal/AtlanticSunrise/ASR%20GC%20Plan%20Approval%20Application%202017%200711.pdf
Attachment C; Atlantic Sunrise Air Quality Technical Report, P. 9, bottom of page
[4]. At 40 CFR § 93.158(a)(2), and also 40 CFR § 93.158(b)(2)

Shining a light— this Fiscal Code and other budget measures are unfair and sneaky.

Mighty Ruler who loves justice,
It was You who established equity. (Psalm 99:4)
The diverse faith traditions that work together through Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light have a wide variety of names and conceptions of the Divine.  Yet we all agree on this: the Divine calls on us to love justice and establish equity, just as the Psalmist poetically describes God doing.
We have signed a coalition letter opposing a variety of harmful anti-environment, anti-health, and anti-justice riders attached to Senate budget bills because it does the exact opposite— degrading equity instead of establishing it, throwing roadblocks in front of justice instead of pursuing it.  Everyone in Pennsylvania deserves a clean, healthy environment, and it is the duty of our state government to ensure that that is what everyone receives.  For the sake of this generation and generations to come, we ask citizens and the members of the Pennsylvania House to join with us in opposing these destructive provisions.
Click through to read the letter from numerous groups concerned about climate change, clean energy, and environmental justice in Pennsylvania.  (8/21 signed version)  Many thanks to author Matt Stepp at PennFuture for a clear and focused distillation of concerns.

SIGN a letter from individuals via our friends at the Pennsylvania Council of Churches.