Welcome to Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL)

A Faith-Based Organization Taking Action on Climate Change

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) works to help members of Vermont's faith and spiritual communities understand that the climate crisis, which is threatening the world, is, at heart, a spiritual crisis. This spiritual crisis demands recognition that Earth is a precious gift; global climate change is a moral challenge; global climate change is disrupting the natural balance; we live our faith through our actions; and there is no peace without a planet.

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) seeks to empower members of faith and spiritual communities to advocate for our Earth and future generations. Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) helps people take action in their houses of worship, homes, and workplaces to conserve energy, use it efficiently, and increase the use of renewable energy.

Residential Guide for Clean Heating

A new, free guide produced for the Vermont Public Service Department is now available to help homeowners navigate the process of heating and cooling their homes with clean energy. Look for detailed information on our Resources page

Our Ongoing Programs

d131324fd0b7cffa1b56f65cee75b196

The Katy Gerke Memorial Program

The Katy Gerke Memorial Program is a matching grant program created to honor the memory of Dr. Katy Gerke. A generous gift from Dr. Gerke's family established this fund and defined its purpose to help Christian churches in Vermont and twelve New Hampshire towns in the Upper Connecticut River Valley* to improve the energy efficiency of their church buildings. Vermont Interfaith Power and Light continues to seek funding for a comparable program to assist other faith communities in improving their energy efficiency.

Funds from this program can be used by churches to obtain professional energy audits of their buildings and to undertake projects, such as building or equipment improvements that will reduce the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of their church building. All grants for energy audits, energy efficiency improvement, or renewable energy projects require that churches provide matching funds for each grant request.

Download a printable brochure containing a description and an outline of the program here: KGMPBrochure_2020. Grant application forms are available for download below.

For more information. about this program or to make a contribution toward establishing an additional grant please contact Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) Coordinator, Donna Roberts by email at info@vtipl.org.

*New Hampshire Towns: Bath, Charleston, Claremont, Cornish, Hanover, Haverhill, Lebanon, Lyme, New London, Oxford, Piermont, and Plainfield

Since the founding of the Katy Gerke Memorial Program, Vermont Interfaith Power and Light has awarded more than $100,000 in matching grants to faith communities throughout Vermont.  Some of the grants have been for professional energy audits that identified cost effective energy efficiency improvements which then resulted in an additional matching grant to implement these efficiency improvements.  Examples of some of the grants are:

  • St John's Episcopal, Randolph - energy audit of Rectory
  • United Church of Underhill Parsonage- insulation of attic floor, basement walls, air sealing and new windows.  Comment from The United Church of Underhill: The pastor and his family's comfort was improved dramatically, "No more moving curtains due to drafts and no more need for blankets in the living room"
  • United Church of Christ, Waitsfield - insulation, air sealing, energy efficient lighting
  • First Baptist Church of Manchester Center-energy audit followed by grant for attic and basement insulation
  • United Church of Dorset and East Rupert-energy audit followed by grant for a heat pump to reduce heating oil use and programmable thermostats

Download Katie Gerke Memorial Program Brochure and Application Forms here:

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL)’s Watershed Manuals

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) has created two manuals, one with a Christian emphasis, “Congregational Watershed Discipleship Manual: Faith Communities as Stewards of the World’s Waters (1st Christian Edition)” and another with an interreligious emphasis, “Congregational Watershed Manual: Religious Communities as Stewards of the World's Waters (1st Interreligious Edition).”

In 2018, Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) joined with local organizations to create a model for watershed stewardship based on the experience of Ascension Lutheran Church in South Burlington, Vermont. The Reverend Dr. Nancy Wright, pastor of Ascension Lutheran Church, and Richard Butz, a member of the church, are co-authors of the manuals.

These are high-resolution print copies, spiral-bound to lie flat conveniently. Print copies of these manuals are available through Pastor Nancy Wright.  Contact her at pastornancy@alcvt.org

Energy Assessments

One of the ways Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) helps congregations is by providing energy assessments of houses of worship and other religious buildings. The service is free to congregations that request this assistance. Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL) asks each participating congregation to commit to using the recommendations to guide their ongoing efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their religious building. Send an email to info@vtipl.org for more information.

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light’s  Climate Justice Series Continues 

Blueberries

As the year 2021 begins, VTIPL will continue its successful series of events focusing on Climate Justice which we began in 2020. Our first event of the new year, exploring how faith and labor leaders can work with local communities toward A Just Transition for all, was held on Thursday, January 14 at 7pm

For more information go to our series page at Climate Justice Series 2021

Information about last year's programs, some video links, and photos of the events. can also be found on that page.

 

 

Festival of Yemanjá as celebrated each February in Bahia, Brazil. Photo by Gerald Hoffman

Festival of Yemanjá as celebrated each February in Bahia, Brazil.

(Photo by Gerald Hoffman)

 

 

VTIPL Film & discussion

Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil narrated by Alice Walker
Tuesday, February 23, 6:30 p.m.

In recognition of Black History Month, VTIPL will host a screening and discussion of the award-winning documentary about the Candomblé spiritual tradition in Bahia, Brazil, often called the religion of nature.

Following the screening, there will be a discussion featuring The Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown (Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont), The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright (VTIPL Board Vice-President), and The Rev. Rachel Field. Narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, the film was created by VTIPL Coordinator Donna Roberts.

The documentary explores this Afro-indigenous tradition through the voices of distinguished elder women faith leaders of color. During the panel, the film's multiple themes will be discussed including Candomblé practitioners' reverence for the natural world, the religious intolerance and violence they often experience, and implications of women-led faith communities. Film website and trailer.

Yemenja Film_with Accolades
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Shannon MacVean-Brown Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont

The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright
The Rev. Rachel Field
The Rev. Rachel Field

Faith and

Care for Earth

in Times of Covid-19

As people of faith, we begin with love for all, and are called to care for Creation.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives, our jobs, our schools and our worship.

Many things are opening up, but not like it was before, nor should we expect life to go "back to normal.”

In many ways, a new normal would be welcome - a more caring, sustainable way forward for all of humanity, and for all of life, reimagining what and who we value as essential.

Some faith communities are slowly returning to prior worship patterns, but others have chosen to continue to meet and to worship virtually.  Each community needs to decide for itself how best to proceed.

Regardless of how we choose to worship, we must remember and reach out to thosewho have been impacted the most, especially the most vulnerable who have become even more so during the pandemic.  They are all our neighbors.

Look on our RESOURCES page for words of inspiration and links to resources for returning to worship together.

Statements on the Murder of George Floyd, Racial Justice, and Environmental Justice

We at Vermont Interfaith Power and Light are deeply saddened and outraged at the latest in a series of despicable murders of black and brown people across our country - the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. “Black Lives Matter” protests around this nation in response to these shootings are an expression of a built-up anger at injustice, frustration with the many forms of white supremacy that are inherent in our culture, and a deep longing for human dignity and justice for People of Color. The systemic racism that allows this kind of police brutality must stop and we must do our part. There can be no climate justice without racial justice. Around the world, people of color and people with fewer economic means - typically people of color - are those most affected by climate change, while contributing the least to the causes of the climate crisis. This is injustice. Issues of climate, economic and social justice are intrinsically interrelated. In recognition of this moment, we share some of the statements made in our movement as a response. It is our hope that they might deepen our thinking, raise our understanding, and prompt compassionate action.

Additional Statements can be found on our Resources page.

The national Interfaith Power and Light organization has created a new page on their site with resources to help make the connection between environmental justice and racial justice. Check it out at:

https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/public-policy/take-action/climate-justice-is-racial-justice/

Another Way to Make Your Voice Heard

Visit this site to design a postcard which they will send to your senators, representatives, and the governor, urging them to move our state to 100% renewable energy.

https://rev.ilovemy.solar/

Vermont Interfaith Power and Light is affiliated with the national organization, Interfaith Power and Light. Information about their work and connections to other state affiliates can be found on their website at

https://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/

A flyer describing several IPL initiatives is available for your information and use:

IPL Programs

Our work continues in 2020

 

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light has been working with individuals and their congregations throughout the State for the past fifteen years, inspiring them to take action on the climate crisis.  Your donations and support have made the  work possible, and we are deeply grateful!

 Your generous support made it possible in 2019 for VTIPL to

  • hold a very successful conference in October with two outstanding Keynote Speakers and excellent workshops;
  • hold six events - from St. Johnsbury to Bennington - in collaboration with Vermont Climate & Health Alliance, to show the documentary Paris to Pittsburgh followed by engaging panel discussions with state legislators and leaders; 
  • publish and give presentations on two congregational watershed manuals  (Christian edition and Interreligious edition) that address the importance of clean water, the problems affecting water, and the impact climate change is having;
  • advocate for action, as part of a coalition working to pass strong climate bills;
  • help congregations make their buildings more energy efficient; and
  • speak out at public events and in congregations for climate action now!

All of this, and more, happens because of your generosity.  There is much for us to do in the year ahead. We are grateful for your continuing support of our work and witness. Donations are appreciated year round. Please consider supporting Vermont Interfaith Power & Light using the Donate Now button at the top of this page.

Thank you!

A Full and Challenging Fall Conference

Vermont Interfaith Power & Light (VTIPL)’s Annual Conference was held on Saturday, October 26, in Middlebury with the theme:

Envisioning & Acting for the World We Want

The Congregational Church of Middlebury, UCC, was our gracious host. We are thankful to all of our sponsors, listed on our Fall Conference page VTIPL Fall Conference, and to all of our presenters and participants.

To see photos of the day, go to VTIPL Gallery and click on Fall Conference 2019.

You can also watch videos of portions of the day, including the two keynote speakers and two of our workshops at

https://bobthegreenguy.com/vtipl19/

To receive our monthly newsletter and keep informed about our work and upcoming events, sign up by emailing info@vtipl.org.

Fall Conference Keynote Speakers

Professor Molly Anderson

Molly Anderson is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Food Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont.  She is interested in multi-actor collaborations for sustainable food systems, food system resilience, human rights in the food system, the right to food in the US, and bridging interests and concerns of academicians and community-based activists.  She participates in Vermont's Farm to Plate Network; the Food Solutions New England network; the national Inter-Institutional Network for Food, Agriculture & Sustainability; and the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food).  She earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Systems Ecology from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal

 Jim Antal is a denominational leader, climate activist, author and public theologian.  He serves as Special Advisor on Climate Justice to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ.  Antal's book, Climate Church, Climate World was featured on Earth Day in the Chicago Tribune (2018) and in Christian Century Magazine (2019).  From 2006 - 2018, Antal led 350 UCC churches in Massachusetts as their Conference Minister and President.  Antal is a graduate of Princeton University, Andover Newton Theological School, and Yale Divinity School, which recently honored him with the William Sloane Coffin Award for Peace and Justice.  In 2019, Antal was honored as recipient of the UCC's social justice prophet award.

Faith Climate Action Day February 20

A resounding Thank You to all who came out and made this day

an amazing experience and successful call

for Climate Action in Vermont

A video of the morning's Press Conference can be viewed at https://youtu.be/QvEiNvm2uK8

For photos and future updates, go to faith-climate-action-day

Climate Change and Health Documents

Changes to the website of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have raised concerns about the availability of educational materials related to the impact of climate change on human health. To be sure that they remain available, we have downloaded the documents and made them available. Below is a list of available pdf files that you can download.