I am writing this letter on the eve of our election. It is a day when I am working hard (as so many of you are) to set the national drumbeat of focus on The Moment aside to hold space for a parallel focus on the whole arc of work (which started before any of us did, and which will surely continue beyond the times any of us can even imagine).
You already know that I will step away from Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light on the 15th of this month, after an extraordinary decade of working with you all. While this is the right thing at the right time for me and for my family, it is still hard, and a little scary. But here is the thing: I believe in the possibilities that you embody, and in my faithful moments, I trust each of us to keep craving justice, to lean into our shared work with personal commitment, and —supported by our faiths— to nurture the hope that, together, we can be much more than the sum of our parts.
One of the things PA IPL has done well from the start is to make sure that this organization is not about a single person — we have created spaces for many gifts, and avoided that all-too-common organizational affliction of Founders Syndrome. Jon Brockopp gathered folks following a Climate Ethics conference at Penn State in 2009, to form a steering committee that led to the start of PA IPL in 2010, then he stepped back to support the work as Treasurer, rather than President, before cycling off the Board to continue as an active and inventive volunteer. The Religion and Society Center in Harrisburg provided shelter for PA IPL in those first couple of years until we stepped out on our own, and then celebrated with us as we did. Charter Board members intentionally structured the Board so that there were rotating terms, and term limits, inviting new leaders to step in regularly with fresh perspectives, and new ideas. Of course, our staffing evolved over that time, too.
It is the right time for me to step down, and for PA IPL to continue forward, boldly. I look forward to seeing new growth, new flourishing, and I look forward to being able to look to my left, and look to my right, and draw inspiration and warmth from all that you are doing. Continue doing the work with heart. Share your stories generously, with courage, and in celebration. Those stories will lift someone else who will, in turn, inspire you again. Sometimes it is the smallest story that serves as the seed of something big and beautiful.
The moment feels big; the work is beautiful; the way you show up matters.
Yours with gratitude, and in faith,