Litany of Common Action

At the close of our Interfaith Convocation service Bill Thwing, an ordained United Church of Christ pastor (and a certified Energy Auditor!) led us in the rousing litany printed here.  A litany is a leader-congregation call and response common to many Christian services.  You will also detect a nod to the fact that our kickoff was held in State College on a football weekend.

As we pause this week in Thanksgiving for all that we have, may this litany remind us that we ought not allow our own experience of bounty to come at the expense of another’s “enough.”  We must respond to the bounty in our own lives by acting as faithful stewards of all we have been given, that we and our neighbors might be sustained.  As Bill led us in September, we give thanks, and we ask for guidance…. We are Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light!
Thank you, Bill.

CALL TO ALL FAITHS TO SERVE THE COMMON GOOD 
We are Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light. We are a part of Interfaith Power and Light, a movement by people of faith who are putting aside their differences and choosing to stand together against a common enemy – the Changing Climate. I invite you now to stand and join in the Litany of Common Action by responding: We give thanks, and ask for guidance.
For the huge task ahead of us, one that will require  Men, Women, children, families,  couples, individuals, faith community  Leaders,  faithful followers, Christians, Jews, Muslems, Hindi, Buddhists, Bahai,  Native Spiritualists, other members of unnamed faith traditions working together.
We give thanks, and ask for guidance.
For the mission ahead of us that can be daunting, potentially paralyzing, seemingly overwhelming in its magnitude and complexity, but that we must somehow accomplish to insure the continuity of civilization, nationhood, family line, Biodiversity, life itself. 
We give thanks, and ask for guidance.
For the strength to face the changing Climate.  Change which is going to affect each of us – Our children, our grandchildren and countless generations into the future – equally.  Change which will cause all to suffer together if we simply do nothing and simply sit on our hands and wait for the worst.
We give thanks, and ask for guidance.
For fellowship. We cannot solve this gargantuan problem by ourselves.  We must do it together.  We must put aside our fears, doubts and misunderstandings of each other and we must learn to stand together as One against this common enemy – our Changing Climate – which,  like  the Mighty Glaciers only a few  thousand earth years ago buried much of our civilization under mountains of ice,  and which, now threatens Global Scorching which is already driving the most vulnerable species into extinction and which if left unanswered could result in the kind of Mass Extinction which unseated the Dinosaurs and almost all life only 65 million earth years ago.
We give thanks, and ask for guidance.
For the beauty of the created order – majestic Mountains, crashing oceans, placid lakes, swirling rivers, gently winding streams, giant Oaks offering their shade, sweet scented roses & violets, the robin who gathers food for her young in our yards and the Grizzly bear who shuns human contact, blazing sunsets that reveals Your glory and the gentle rains that waters Your earth;… for the infinite variety of life – human and biodiverse – that breathe the sweet oxygen laden air You have provided; ..for swarming fish, soaring birds, clouds of insects and billions of microbes with whom we share this common existence.  For all these, and a thousand more unnamed blessings which You have entrusted into our care.
We give thanks, and ask for guidance.
For men and women, children, parents and grandparents, families, couples and individuals of faith who honor their particular faith tradition with  worship, study, prayer, devotion, sacrifice, service and the common good within their families, communities and world;.. for the love, hope, wisdom, faith, trust, patience, endurance, generosity which they struggle to attain and
demonstrate to their communities and the world around them;…for their willingness to stand up, speak out, care, inspire, sacrifice, teach, enable, and learn in order to a be a force for good…For all these things we hold hands with one another and say:
We give thanks, and ask for guidance.
If you believe that this is the work ahead of us, please join your voices and say:  Amen…so be it.
Amen…so be it.


We are… Pennsylvania  Interfaith Power and Light…Would you please say that with me?
We are… Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light.
Again, please
We are…Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light!
Again…
We Are Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light!
Thank you

Shabbat and Shehechiyanu

Lynn Schlow opened our Friday evening PA-IPL Interfaith Convocation service with the Shabbat prayer, offering it in both Hebrew and English, and graciously explained the ritual.

On the Sabbath the celebrant (generally the woman of the house) lights at least two candles, representing the dual commandments to remember the sabbath and to keep it holy.  After lighting, she waves her hands over the candles, welcoming in the sabbath. Then she covers her eyes, focusing more fully on the blessing, and so that she may also postpone the enjoyment of the fruits of the blessing (seeing the light) until after the blessing is recited.

Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam
asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav v’tzivanu
l’had’lik neir shel Shabbat. (Amein)
Blessed are you, Lord, our God, sovereign of the universe
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us
to light the lights of Shabbat. (Amen)

She removes her hands from her eyes, and looks at the candles, completing the mitzvah of lighting the candles. You can hear the Hebrew words either sung or read here (unfortunately not in Lynn’s voice).

Later in the service Lynn shared her uncle’s love of the Shehechiyanu prayer, offered at any first (enjoying the first ripe blackberry of a summer, for example).  The Shehechiyanu is a prayer thanking God for sustaining our lives that we might enjoy each of God’s blessings, and can be heard here.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam 
Shehehchiyahnu vekiyamanu vehegianu lazman ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, 
Who has kept us alive, and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.

What a beautiful and appropriate way to begin our first meeting of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light.  May we respond to the twin blessings of Earth and atmosphere by caring for them, that they may sustain others in the way they have sustained us.

Energy Efficiency Resource Standards

Advocate for Efficiency!

We wrapped up our mini-campaign to educate individuals and congregations and to push our senators to act in September, 2010. The project had three parts:

First, we held events at congregations in Scranton, Meadville, Pittsburgh, State College and Harrisburg in July and August to talk about PA IPL and to promote Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS).

Second, together with our friends at PennFuture, we developed a postcard, urging our senators to include EERS in legislation; we have already collected over 400 of these postcards!

Third, we took our postcards and our message to the Senators themselves. We already met with Senatorial staffs in Bellefonte and Philadelphia to tell them about our campaign, and at the end of August Joy Bergey took her godchildren to Washington D.C. to present these cards to Senators Casey and Specter.

What are Efficiency Resource Standards?

A complicated name, but a simple idea: national standards for energy efficiency, just like we have in Pennsylvania (Act 129). Like mileage requirements for cars, industry actually wants national standards instead of various state standards, and we want them because waste and inefficiency make up a huge part of our carbon footprint. For commercial buildings, like most houses of worship, the EPA estimates that 30% of the energy is wasted. Power plants also waste a tremendous amount of energy.

As in Pennsylvania, national EERS can be combined with support for more renewable energy as part of a comprehensive approach to reduce our carbon footprint.