Work, Eat, Pray

Several locations benefit from regular Habitat Restoration care by dedicated groups of willing hands — most led by PA IPL Board President Greg Williams.  Look for “work party” offerings on our Events Calendar, or email to get on Greg’s lists (he turns out events faster than the deskbound can keep up during the growing season!) — or to learn from him about how to organize something like this in your community, or near your house of worship.  

Recently three Episcopal Churches in Blair and Huntingdon counties joined together to create a workparty to remove invasive plants and encourage resilient natives along a nearby rail trail, — and to also shared meal, and share an evening prayer service.  We got a great report from Greg, and learned that one participant referred to the event in her next-Sunday sermon.  Enjoy the report, below!  

Members of St. Luke’s, Altoona,  Holy Trinity, Hollidaysburg,  and St. John’s, Huntingdon,  all Episcopal Churches from Blair and Huntingdon counties met on Thursday August 16, from 4-7:30 p.m.,  with several goals in mind:

  • To give these parishes a chance to work together and better get to know each other,
  • To make a public statement that the Episcopal Church cares about climate change and our churches are making a long term commitment to do something about it,
  • To WORK for a couple hours removing  non-native invasive plants from the Mt. Etna station area on the Lower Trail with the goal of returning next Spring and planting native plants that will better support insects, the base of a healthy ecosystem. This healthier ecosystem protects the river, feeds toads (like this one who showed up to encourage us), cleans our air, and takes carbon from our atmosphere thus nudging us away from global warming,
  • To EAT, (as is appropriate at any church event) a delicious potluck picnic, chat, and build community,
  • To PRAY Evening Prayer, at dusk, as the storm clouds which had been building but not raining on our event, called an end to the event.

We had 11 joyous participants ranging from 7 to 70 who rode bikes, clipped privet from the safety of the trail, waded in behind the stinging nettle to open up new areas for planting native trees next Spring, or scooped up the clippings and laid them back in the forest to decompose and feed the soil.

There was talk that we may do it again, as early as October, perhaps with the addition of a VIP! Stay tuned for details. For more information, to sign up your faith community for a similar work party, or to get on our mailing list for future events, contact  Greg Williams, organizer of the event and member of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.

Bike 2018: Blessing of the State College riders

PA IPL Ride 2018, May 13, 2018
Blessing of the Riders
by Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel

Divine one,
Source of Sources,
That which goes without name.
Please bless this ride and our rides.
Let no trouble greater than they can handle befall them

May you experience joy and sunshine and laughter as you pedal.
May the miles slide by without care or worry.

Go today, knowing that we are with you and that our love and care accompany you here at the start of this journey. Go also knowing we will be at your side until it ends.

We bless you, and hold you on our hearts today, tomorrow and always.

May the ride be safe.
May no harm come to you as you pedal along the highways, roads and byways that lie ahead.
May the all that is Divine watch over you.

Blessed Be and Amen

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County
780 Waupelani Drive
State College, PA 16801
(814) 237-7605

Note that the UUFCC is lit by windpower –>

Video of the ride-off with trombone choir!  

Bike Blog 2018.3:

This was definitely adventure day. Your intrepid group of State College-start cyclists not only rode 42 miles, we also dug out thorns, removed invasive privet, and got chased by thunderstorms. It was a great day! But before I get to all that, Ben Wideman has a few words about our Philly group.

 Sunday afternoon, five bike riders and a support vehicle driver will begin their journey from Philadelphia to meet up with the State College riders in Washington, DC. Not only do we have an incredible group entirely made up of clergy (3 Mennonite Pastors, 2 Jewish Rabbis, and a Unitarian Universalist Minister… someone needs to write a joke with that as a punchline), we are also helping to expand PA IPL’s reach and connection to faith communities working to care for our earth. We’ve been humbled by the folks who have already reached out with offers of hospitality as we travel along our route. 

 Our trip begins at the beautiful John Heinz Wildlife Refuge, and we invite friends, family, and supporters to join us at our cyclist send-off at 1pm on Sunday. Bring along your mom and enjoy a full Mother’s Day exploring the beautiful trail system in the park. See you then!”

Thanks, Ben – can’t wait to hear about your adventures. Meanwhile, after a thunder filled night, State College riders woke to a beautiful morning, coffee, and excellent breakfast food. Micah took us out to the asparagus field to help clear thistles, since they’re easier to pick after a rain.

We packed up and said our goodbyes both to Bethany and Micah and also to Mark Higgins, who rode back to State College. On our way to Huntingdon, we were met by Laura White from the Stone Church of the Brethren who led us to Detwiler Park. This is a beautiful natural area that’s being restored by volunteers who are planting native trees and flowers.

PA IPL board president Greg Williams gave us a brief overview of the work in the area, and we helped by clearing a section overtaken by privet. We also heard about the importance of land management both for carbon sequestration as well as in adapting to events of extreme flooding and heat related to climate change. [event page]

Today we had both: 80-degree weather and huge downpours, but luckily it was beautiful while we were on our bikes. After lunch at Standing Stone Coffee Company in Huntingdon, sponsored by the Stone Church Sustainability Circle, we went back on the road. For part of the way, we were on busy US 22, and it was great to have Alison Jaenicke behind us, driving the support vehicle.

The forecast turned dark as a huge line of thunderstorms set up north of us. It gave us a tailwind, though, and we made excellent time, arriving at the Church of God of Prophecy in Orbisonia just before it hit. What a downpour! We were grateful to Pastor Don Pflugh and the congregation for a roof over our heads.

After a wonderful meal at Pizza Star, some of our group went shopping for breakfast (we’re feeding members of the congregation tomorrow), while others are playing charades. We have had a full, wonderful day and look forward to tomorrow, whatever adventures it may bring.

—Jon (and the other cyclists)

Follow us: #paiplonbikes

Donate online to PA IPL in support the PA-to-DC riders (or send a check, memo: bike 2018 to PA IPL 243 S. Allen St. #337, State College, PA 16801)

 to our 2018 SILVER sponsor Sun Directed,

and to our 2018
BRONZE sponsors:
The Weimer Group
Exact Solar
richards | stover group  and Freeze / Thaw Cycles