October 2020 Newsletter: Learning for Mind and Spirit

Join us The Temple for Understanding and the Marble Collegiate Church in collaboration to offer a multifaith climate + prayer created by others on October 16 and 17.  The events are free with registration.

The Forum2020 gathering “Science, Spirituality, the Climate Emergency and Our Future” on Friday, October 16th, from 10:00am-1:00pm, consists of three 30-minute panels.  Speakers and panelists are listed here, including The Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light (national).

The multifaith prayer service will take place Saturday morning, October 17th from 10am-11:30am, with “prayers, affirmations and contemplations offered by Indigenous and world religious leaders and sacred music by renown international artists including Yungchen Lhamo, Samir Chatterjee and Steve Gorn, Marble Collegiate Church Choir, Marble Collegiate Church Gospel Choir.”

WEBINAR: ReBirthday of the Trees

Our friends at the Shalom Center are offering a webinar on Wednesday, January 9 from 7:00-8:30 PM in preparation for Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees.   This year, Tu B’Shvat falls on Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Webinar registrants will receive a recording of the webinar, and tools to hold a seder ceremony on Tu B’Shvat.

Description from Rabbi Arthur Waskow:
Join us as we explore the connections between Tu B’Shvat and a commitment to the physical health of our entire planet, a commitment to act to protect trees and the Interbreathing of all life. We know now that trees  and all vegetation breathe in the CO2 that humans and all animals breathe out, and all animals breathe in the oxygen that vegetation breathes out. And that Interbreathing is now endangered by the unrestrained burning of fossil fuels.

And in line with this renewed concern with the physicality of Earth, our webinar will explore a Tu B’Shvat seder in which the four elements (Earth, Air, Water, and Fire/Energy) are celebrated and connected to  the Four Worlds of the Kabbalists, with the aid of four species of fruit and four cups of wine or grape juice.

REGISTRATION is a must and is $18 

Join the Shalom Center for the webinar.  Registrants will receive a link to the webinar, even if they are unable to attend at the scheduled time.  

Katharine Hayhoe – Climate, Communications, Faith & Action

Please join neighbors and friends on

Friday, November 16 1:00-2:00
University Baptist and Brethren Church, 411 S. Burrowes St., State College 16801
in the sanctuary

for an informal conversation with Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.  All members of the public are invited, knowing this event will specifically make space for faith-rooted Q and A.  This conversation is co-sponsored by PA IPL and the local chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby, and is generously hosted by member congregation UBBC.

NOTE: Dr. Hayhoe will be in town for a larger, secular event on the PSU campus on Thursday, November 15 (talk 4:00-5:30, reception 5:45-7:00 — both free and open to community members, but reservations required for those PSU events).

As a person of faith herself (and as the spouse of a well-known pastor), she has carved out time in her visit specifically for faith-rooted conversation with community members.

Why set aside time on a busy Friday to come? Dr. Hayhoe is known as a communicator. A renowned atmospheric scientist and a member of the faculty of Texas Tech University, where she serves as a Professor of Public Administration and Director of the Science Center, Dr. Hayhoe shines in conversation with diverse groups, including people who know just a bit, as well as students and colleagues in her field. In the classroom, in interviews, and in testimony to Congress, Dr. Hayhoe consistently models respectful dialogue about a challenging (and too often contentious) issue.

Dr. Hayhoe’s list of credentials is extraordinary. Notably, it includes serving as an advisor for the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, and RepublicEN, as well as the International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative. In order to make sure the research gets to the stakeholders who can act on it in a timely way (like non-profits, industry, and government) she founded the climate consulting group ATMOS Research.

Dr. Hayhoe is author, with her husband the Rev. Andrew Farley, of A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, as well as the YouTube series Global Weirding, though she may be best recognized for her appearance in the Showtime series Years of Living Dangerously.

If you are a faith leader and are interested in additional conversation, please contact us; there is a specific opportunity for clergy and other faith leaders.


Letter from diverse faith communities on the Paris Agreement

eiffel towerPA IPL is pleased to be represented on this letter by the national Interfaith Power & Light network.  It was sent to the President, the Administrator of the EPA, the Secretary of State, and several other national leaders.

May 9, 2017

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As members of a coalition of diverse faith traditions, we are united across theological lines and called by our commitment to care for all of God’s creation and to stand with vulnerable communities, both across the world as well as right here in the United States. Included in our coalition are many faith organizations that provide direct accompaniment, technical support and post-disaster relief to frontline communities everywhere. These communities daily face the devastating impacts of dramatically changing weather patterns. Climate change disproportionately affects the world’s poorest communities; our faith traditions compel us to bear prophetic witness to their suffering.

It is in keeping with our deeply held religious values that we write to urge that the United States remains a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement and fulfills our commitments under that agreement.

As people of faith, we believe that we have a responsibility to be caretakers of Divine creation – to preserve our ecosystems for future generations and to ensure the human dignity and worth of all people. The ongoing climate crisis places a disproportionate burden on women and children, communities of color, low-income communities, and tribal nations both in the United States and globally.

Weather events such as hurricanes, floods, and drought can create great instability for individuals, families, and entire nations. It can mean losing their livelihoods, incomes, homes and land. It can also lead to an increase in conflict, hunger, disease, displacement, and human trafficking.

Many people in the United States live at or below the poverty line, including members of our own congregations. The Paris Agreement is a historic pact that will not only protect vulnerable populations, but benefit the United States’ economy and society. It will reduce carbon emissions, result in long-term energy savings, and foster growth and job creation in the emerging alternative energy market. Efforts to address climate change are, at their core, efforts to protect all of earth’s inhabitants, especially poor and vulnerable communities.

There are also broad international consequences to exiting the Paris Agreement or failing to meet domestic reduction goals. If the United States withdraws from the agreement or halts all efforts to reduce carbon emissions, we will face diplomatic ramifications that could undercut cooperation on other global efforts that are in the interests of the United States. Exiting the agreement would send the message that the United States cannot be trusted as a leader and partner in global affairs.

The need for global leadership could not be more urgent. We believe that the United States can and must play a leadership role in addressing the environmental challenges which threaten our planet, our security, the health of our families, and the fate of communities throughout the world.

For these reasons, we join together to urge you, as the President of the United States, to remain in the Paris Agreement and to meet our commitments in that agreement. The Paris Agreement will safeguard God’s creation, protect the vulnerable, address the impacts of climate change and fulfill our moral obligation to future generations.


American Jewish World Service
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Columbian Center for Advocacy and Outreach
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Church World Service
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Franciscan Action Network
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Interfaith Power & Light
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Central Committee U.S. Washington Office
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
New Evangelical Partnership
Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team
UUSC: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth
Unitarian Universalist Association
The United Methodist Church – General Board of Church and Society
Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

CC: The Honorable Rex Tillerson
The Honorable Scott Pruitt
The Honorable Wilbur Ross
The Honorable Steve Mnuchin
The Honorable Bob Corker
The Honorable Ben Cardin

 In a White House press briefing on the very day this letter was delivered, Sean Spicer said “From today’s “Finally, with regard to the Paris Climate Agreement.  The President  has been meeting with his team for quite a while on this matter, and he will not be making an announcement regarding that agreement until after he returns from the G7.”evening prayer candles

National (U.S.) opinion map on staying in the Paris agreement.
Investor statement (Ceres)

MLK the RNC, and the climate gap

On the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s birth (his actual birthday, rather than his official national holiday) Interfaith Moral Action on Climate held a rally and interfaith service outside the Hershey Lodge in Hershey PA.  Why there?  The Republican National Committee was meeting there, and it is imperative that our national political leaders clearly acknowledge the growing harm coming from climate change, and move to both address the impacts and limit our continuing complicity in adding to the problem.  1

Continue on to read Rachel Mark’s remarks, and link on to a wire story about the event. Read last year’s excellent reflection on climate justice and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. written by PA IPL board president Rabbi Daniel Swartz here And re-read Jacqueline Patterson’s remarks about race and climate change at our 2014 Annual Conference here. The Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley (board member of the national IPL) has also contributed importantly to this conversation.  Read his 2013 piece from the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington here.  

Rachel Mark, Secretary of the Board of PA Interfaith Power & Light, offered these remarks:  I speak today on behalf of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light.  PA IPL is a community of congregations, faith- Continue reading MLK the RNC, and the climate gap