Six congregations win national award for climate leadership

Innovative projects installed solar, upgraded facilities, adopted EVs, and restored native habitat

Interfaith Power & Light
Posted Feb 26, 2024

A view of the grounds at Grace Episcopal Church

Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) today announced the six national 2024 Cool Congregations Challenge winners. The annual contest awards religious congregations around the United States for outstanding efforts to address climate change in their facilities by reducing their carbon footprint and creating models of sustainability within their communities.

Winners were selected from 125 entries across six categories: Community Inspiration, Cool Planner, Electric Vehicle Leader, Energy Saver, Renewable Role Model, and Sacred Grounds Steward. “The Cool Congregations Challenge winners this year undertook a wide range of creative and inspiring projects to care for Creation and promote climate justice in their communities,” said Rev. Susan Hendershot, IPL president.

Winners included: a congregation that retrofitted with heat pumps and solar to cut their emissions to zero, an ambitious plan to cut carbon emissions of a church campus by 95 tons, a Task Force to start environmental teams at every congregation in their diocese, an Electric Vehicle demo day (including school buses) that drew hundreds, a congregation-based community solar project serving low-income neighbors, and a habitat restoration of 3 acres with 70 native trees planted, community garden plots, and u-pick gardens.

Each winner receives a $1,000 prize. Three runners up in each category will also receive a $500 prize. See the list of winning congregations below and read more on our website.

“These six congregations are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” said Rev. Hendershot.

The Cool Congregations Challenge seeks to highlight ways that people of faith are united by concerns about climate change and are taking action. In some cases, like our runner-up in Massachusetts, they are changing local government policies to be more supportive of renewable energy. The winners provide strong role models for their communities, and their activities have a ripple effect, demonstrating that acting on climate is a moral issue.

Interfaith Power & Light’s mission is to inspire and mobilize people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. These congregational winners prove that the faith community is up to the challenge!

Listed below are the six $1,000 prize-winners by Category:

Community Inspiration 🙏🏽

All Saints Catholic Church

1340 Lancaster Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210

Contact: Geraldine Wagner

geriwagner@yahoo.com

315-335-8682

 

Energy Saver 💡

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

701 Iowa Avenue

Decorah, Iowa 52101

Contact: James Fritz

jlfritz@mac.com

(563) 379-3736

 

Renewable Role Model ☀

Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church

10123 Connecticut Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Contact: June Eakin

june.eakin@mac.com

301-873-4794

 

Sacred Grounds 🌳

Grace Episcopal Church

20 Belvoir Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37411

Contact: David Riall

driall1@yahoo.com

423-314-2649

 

Electric Vehicle Leader

Oak Grove Presbyterian Church

2200 W. Old Shakopee Rd, Bloomington, MN 55431

Contact: John Crampton

jjcranpt48@gmail.com

612-396-6010

 

Cool Congregations Planner 📋

Cumming First United Methodist Church

770 Canton Hwy, Cumming, GA 30040

Contact: Kristy Thompson

kthompson@cfumcga.com

770-887-2900

To arrange interviews with any of the congregational winners or runners-up, please contact Sarah Paulos at sarahp@interfaithpowerandlight.org

###

Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) is a national organization that inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change. IPL works in all 50 states and U.S. territories with a broad national network of state- and regional-level affiliates. For more information please visit www.interfaithpowerandlight.org.