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Register now online using the form below or with a mail-in paper form ConferenceRegistrationForm2019

VT Interfaith Power and Light, P.O. Box 209, Richmond, VT  05477

Contact: VTIPL Coordinator, Betsy Hardy, 802-434-3397 or

Sponsors for VTIPL's Fall Conference 2019

We are grateful for the generous contributions of the organizations and faith communities listed below who are sponsors for our event.

Click on the name of any of the listed organizations and congregations to visit their website or Facebook page.

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.

Fall Conference Keynote Speakers

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.

Become a sponsor for VTIPL's Fall Conference

Congregations and faith communities are invited to sponsor our Fall Conference with a contribution. Sponsoring congregations and communities will be listed in the program for the day and on our website. To sponsor this event, please download this pdf and send it in with your contribution:


                         Vermont Interfaith Power                           and Light Conference:

Envisioning and Acting for the World We Want

Saturday, October 26, 2019, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm

The Congregational Church of Middlebury, UCC

30 N. Pleasant Street, Middlebury, VT

Conference Schedule

9:30 - 9:45            Welcome and Opening

9:45 - 9:50            Introduce Keynote Speakers

9:50 - 11:00          Keynote Address with Q&A

Responding Faithfully to the Climate Emergency

11:00 - 11:15        Short break

11:15 - 12:30        First Workshop Session

12:30 - 1:30          Lunch

1:30 - 2:45            Second Workshop Session

2:45 - 3:00            Short break

3:00 - 3:30            Small-Group Sharing & Action Pledges;

                             Music; Closing

Workshop Descriptions


I. What the Green New Deal Means for the Country

Leader:  The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal

Why should people of faith support the Green New Deal (GND)? How are the aspirations of the GND expressive of the environmental justice values and commitments of various denominations and faiths? Why has there been a massive, well-funded disinformation campaign to convince the American public that the GND is extreme, unnecessary, and un-American? How can religious leaders and congregations educate their congregations and communities about the importance of the GND? And if there is time, Jim Antal will provide updates from some of the front-lines of the climate movement.

II. Agricultural Solutions for a Shifting Climate

Leaders:  Professor Molly Anderson and Jon Turner

Jon Turner and Molly Anderson will talk about how farming systems can sequester more carbon, while producing abundant food, enhancing biodiversity, and protecting ecosystems.  Jon will talk about his farm in Bristol, Wild Roots, and his journey from serving in the Marines to becoming a farmer and farm educator. Molly will help to put Jon's work in an international context of growing interest in agroecology and how organizations around the world are fighting for it, against entrenched industrial agriculture interests.


Workshop Descriptions


III.   Clean Water – Act 76 Passed with Funding: Now What?

Leaders:  State Senator Christopher Bray and ANR Secretary Julie Moore

Act 76, what does it do for Vermont's waters?  After years of negotiations, we finally have a act with a funding stream.  Chris Bray, Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, and Julie Moore, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, will unpack the details and interact with participants in this workshop.

IV. Enough with Goals, Let's Do This! Vermont Climate Policy Action 2020

Leaders:  Sandra Levine and Ben Edgerly Walsh

Vermont seems to take climate change seriously.  Our legislature set goals to cut climate pollution, and declared “We're Still In” after Trump abandoned the Paris Climate Accord.  And yet, Vermont's climate pollution has increased 16% since 1990.  Why?  The answer is simple.  Goals are nice, but without requiring action, they don't result in much.

V. Inner Transistion: The Spiritual Work of the Transistion Movement

Leader:  Ruah Swennerfelt

If we accept that our inner and outer worlds are entwined, making an outer systemic change must also involve some kind of inner shift.  When we consider the scale of the challenges we as humanity currently face, more and more of us are realizing the imperative to include inner emotional and psychological dimensions in the work we are doing – both in terms of supporting the effectiveness of our work and in resourcing us to meet the feelings and sense of helplessness that often goes hand in hand with the reality of what is unfolding in our world today.

Workshop Leaders

Roman numerals correspond to the workshop numbers on the conference workshop descriptions page.

I. Professor Molly Anderson (Her bio is on the Keynote Speakers page.)

I. Jon Turner (Jon co-leads the Agricultural Solutions for a Shifting Climate workshop with Molly)

Since 2014, Jon Turner has been utilizing the agricultural landscape as a classroom for community members interested in resilient food, and agro-forestry systems.  Through service learning projects, internships, and site visits for K - 12 college students and military veterans, participants have had the opportunity to engage with a diverse ecosystem and better understand climate adaptive practices.  Jon is the founding and former chair of the VT state chapter of the Farmer Veteran Coalition, recipient of the national Farm to School Innovations Grant, former NOFA-VT and Addison County Farm Bureau Board Member, and currently operates Wild Roots Farm Vermont in Bristol.

II. The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal (His bio on the Keynote Speakers page.)

III.   Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore

Julie Moore was named to the position of ANR Secretary by Governor Scott in Jan. 2017.  Beginning in 2011, Moore worked as the Water Resources Group Leader at Stone Environmental, based in Montpelier.  She has diverse experience engaging the public in watershed management programs and activities.  Prior to this, Moore spent seven years at ANR, where she led the state's efforts to reduce phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain.  Moore has volunteered her expertise for several organizations working to improve Vermont's waters, most recently as Chair of the Citizens' Advisory Committee on the Future of Lake Champlain.  Moore has a B.S. in civil engineering, cum laude, from the University at Buffalo and an M.S. in environmental science and policy from Johns Hopkins University.  She is a registered professional engineer in Vermont and New Hampshire.  She lives in Middlesex with her husband and children.

III.   State Senator Christopher Bray

Christopher Bray became a member of the Vermont House of Representatives in Jan. 2007, serving two terms on the House Agriculture Committee.  Chris was a lead sponsor of the Farm to Plate Program and Biomass Energy Development Working Group, which he co-chaired until 2011.  He was elected to the Vermont Senate in Nov. 2012 and is Chair of the Natural Resources and Energy Committee.  Chris graduated from the University of Vermont (BA, Zoology, 1977; MA, English, 1991), where he taught for four years in the English Department. He then worked at National Life of Vermont, IBM, Intel, and Apple. He founded and still operates Common Ground Communications, which provides writing, editing and production services to technical clients and the book publishing industry. Chris and his family live in New Haven and operate an 82-acre farm. 


Workshop Leaders

Roman numerals correspond to the workshop numbers on the conference workshop descriptions page.

IV.  Sandra Levine

Sandra Levine is a senior attorney in Montpelier, VT with the Conservation Law Foundation, a New England nonprofit environmental advocacy organization.  Her advocacy has resulted in expanding renewable energy, stopping wasteful and polluting transportation projects, including climate change in energy decisions, and more than doubling energy efficiency efforts to avoid relying on more costly and polluting power plants.

 IV.  Ben Edgerly Walsh

Ben Edgerly Walsh has been the Climate & Energy Program Director for VPIRG since 2012.  He has run VPIRG's energy program, leading campaigns on issues from establishing Vermont's groundbreaking renewable energy standard, to expanding our net metering program, to establishing nation-leading appliance efficiency standards and defending Vermont's energy efficiency work from attacks from the right.  At VPIRG, Ben works to research, identify, and advance clean energy policy solutions.

V. Ruah Swennerfelt

Ruah Swennerfelt, a member of Middlebury Friends Meeting (Quakers), lives in Charlotte where she and her husband attempt to live sustainable lives while receiving their electric energy from the sun and growing most of their own vegetables and fruits.  Ruah is active with the Transition Movement both locally and nationally.  She is author of the book Rising to the Challenge: The Transition Movement and People of Faith

Fall Conference Registration

Vermont Interfaith Power and Light (VTIPL) Conference:
Envisioning and Acting for the World We Want

Saturday, October 26, 2019
Middlebury Congregational Church, 27 N. Pleasant Street, Middlebury, VT

Check-in begins at 9:00 a.m. Conference: 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

  • Registration Fee: $45 per person Student fee: $15 per person.
    If cost is an issue, VTIPL may be able to offer a scholarship. Please contact or 802-434-3397 to inquire.
    Conference income covers expenses and supports VTIPL's work.
  • Please register by October 18, 2019.
    To cancel and receive a refund, notify VTIPL by October 21, 2019.
    VT Interfaith Power and Light
    P.O. Box 209
    Richmond, VT 05477
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