Big Events Are Planned for This Fall

Pope Frances

In November, global leaders will convene in Paris at the 2015 UN Conference on Climate Change. And next week, on September 23rd and 24th, Pope Francis will be in the United States to speak to President Obama and address Congress. He is the first pope in history to do so and this visit comes on the heels of his encyclical urging action on climate change.

On September 25th, Pope Francis will open the UN General Assembly, followed by a Heads of State meeting which will focus on climate in New York.

In preparation for the Pope’’s visit please join NYIPL members at one or more of the following events:


Rise Up for Climate Justice
Thursday, September 24th, 4:00 p.m. pre-rally, 5:00 p.m. rally
Niagara Square, Buffalo
(at the intersection of Delaware, Niagara, Genesee and Court Streets)


Vigil for Earth
Thursday Sept. 24, 7 pm
Dewitt Park, Ithaca
(Intersection of Buffalo and N. Cayuga Streets)

Stand with Pope Francis on the eve of his address to the United Nations
Peaceful vigil with songs, prayers, and readings.
Bring a flashlight or other light source.
People of all faiths {or no faith} are welcome.
Sponsored by the Interfaith Climate Action Network (ICAN)
For more information contact John Finn, 607-592-8541


Prayer Vigil – “Care for our Common Home”
Wednesday, September 23rd, 4:00 p.m.
St. Marianne Cope Parish at Good Shepherd Chapel, 3318 E. Henrietta Road, Rochester

Rochester Moral March for Climate Justice
Thursday, September 24th, 4:30 p.m.
Liberty Pole, at East Main and East Avenue, Rochester

Your Faith and Climate Change:
A talk with Catholic Climate Ambassador Dr. Gerry Gacioch
Thursday, September 24th, 7:00 p.m.
Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, 150 French Road, Rochester


Light the Way Festival of Prayer and Music
Thursday, September 24th, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th St. and 1st Ave.), New York City

Under One Sky Rally
Thursday, September 24th, 6:00 – 7:45
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th St. and 1st Ave.), New York City

Overnight Vigil
Thursday, September 24th, 8:00 – morning
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (47th St. and 1st Ave.), New York City


Procession to Multi-Faith Vigil
Wednesday, September 23rd, 5:30 p.m.
Departing from All Souls Unitarian Church, 1500 Harvard, Washington, DC

Multi-Faith Prayer Vigil
Wednesday, September 23rd at 7:00 p.m. until Thursday, September 24th at 7:00 a.m.
John Marshall Place Park (Pennsylvania Ave. & 4th Street NW), Washington, DC

Thursday, September 24th, 7:30 a.m.
The National Mall, between 3rd and 7th Streets, NW, Washington, DC
Bus Info

Climate Ride 2015

Climate Ride

starsIt’s time again for the Climate Ride!

If you enjoy biking (or hiking), consider joining one of these rides (or hikes), which benefit organizations like New York Interfaith Power & Light.  Please contact us if you would like to ride on behalf of NYIPL!

Climate Ride California North Coast

May 17-21 – Humboldt to San Francisco (
The epic coastal route returns! This gorgeous ride begins in the Redwood Empire near Eureka and ventures into the famed Russian River Valley before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco.

Climate Hike Glacier National Park

August 24-28 (
This hike is limited to 30 participants and has reached capacity, but a wait list is started. Please add your name to the wait list here.

Climate Ride Northeast

September 17-21 – Bar Harbor, Maine to Boston (
This inaugural ride begins in Bar Harbor, Maine where riders will pedal “Downeast” through Acadia National Park before experiencing Maine’s rocky coast. From there, we’ll travel south and visit lighthouses, sample local foods and ride through scenic coastal towns. Then, it’s an exciting ride following the route of the Founding Fathers for the celebratory end in Boston.

Climate Ride Midwest

September 27-30 – Grand Rapids to Chicago (
Cycle through beautiful western Michigan (known as Cape Cod of the Midwest). Enjoy sailing towns, wonderful bike paths, blueberry picking, local beers and wines, and friendly people all culminating in a triumphant ride into Chicago.

Climate Hike Bryce-Zion

October 6-10 (
Spend five days hiking in two of the most epic National Parks in the US with 25 others. Explore Southern Utah’s “Grand Staircase” – an immense structure of sedimentary rock layers carved by nature into beautiful canyons and formations.

Form an Energy Challenge Team


If you live in Central New York, you might be interested in forming an Energy Challenge Team. The Central New York Energy Challenge Team is a free and voluntary program designed to encourage households to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint through a process of shared learning.  Team participants are provided with the tools to take actions that reduce their household energy usage, benefitting the environment and their wallets at the same time.

The Energy Challenge Team program utilizes a cooperative team-based format so that participants have the support they need to succeed.  Teams are made up of 5-8 households inclusive of a team facilitator.  The facilitator is responsible for recruiting members and conducting meetings according to a provided guidebook, each team member receives a workbook.  Teams meet for approximately one hour each week over the course of 6 weeks to learn and discuss ways to save energy. Previous participants in the program have achieved a 29% savings in energy usage.

Energy Challenge teams provide a fun and supportive environment where participants can learn to improve their energy efficiency while saving money, improving comfort in their homes, and enjoying the company of neighbors and/or colleagues.

If you are interested in forming an Energy Challenge team, please contact Sam Gordon, CNY Energy Challenge Coordinator* at or (315) 422-8276, ext. 204.

*The CNY Energy Challenge is an initiative of the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, a public agency serving Onondaga, Cayuga, Cortland, and Madison Counties.

Do the Climate Ride

climaterideClimate Ride is a fully-supported, five day charitable bike ride that supports groups working for a sustainable future, including the national Interfaith Power & Light movement. Join other committed riders for an unforgettable adventure from New York City to Washington, D.C. this September 21-25, 2013

For details, click here.

New York Crossroads

What: New York Crossroads: Rally to Stop Fracking and Demand Renewable Energy
When: Monday, June 17th, 12pm-3pm
Where: Rally and March in East Capitol Lawn, Albany, NY


My name is Joseph Varon, and I live in West Hempstead, Long Island.

I’m an environmental activist, retired teacher, and native New Yorker, who volunteers with Food & Water Watch.

I’m also an Orthodox Jew, whose faith inspires a reverence for our Earth. On June 17, I’ll be taking the bus to Albany for New York Crossroads, the rally against fracking and for renewable energy.

I love nature and the outdoors, and I’m terrified that fracking could destroy some of our beautiful state’s most precious landscapes.  And, of course, I’m worried about the threat of climate change and how fracking could poison our water, air, and food.

I hope you’ll join me in making New York Crossroads an amazing event.

If you want to arrange a car pool, email Corinne Rosen.

Thank you so much for helping protect our state.

– Joseph Varon

Sacred Earth Community: An Interfaith Panel Exploring Economic and Environmental Sustainability

sunthroughtreeSunday, June 23, 2013, 2-4pm
Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan (Broadway and Wall Street)

Join prominent religious, spiritual, and social leaders, authors and activists to explore how we can work together to foster peaceful, just and sustainable relationships with one another and with Earth. The panelists will offer insights from the world’s great religious traditions and spiritual teachers, science, and their daily experience.

Together they will explore a unifying spiritual narrative grounded in the sacredness of the earth. The panelists are David Korten, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Acharya Judith Lief, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, and the Rev. Richard Cizik. Please RSVP to to attend in person at Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan (Broadway at Wall Street) or via webcast at

This event is organized by the Contemplative Alliance and Trinity Institute®.

For more information, call 212-602-0871 or email

3 Free Webinars in May

leafandglobeNYIPL sponsors free webinars for congregations wanting to improve their energy efficiency.

  1. Saturday, May 11th at 9:00 a.m.Residential Energy Assessments
    This call will show how a residential energy assessment can help your worship leader’s home (parsonage, manse, etc.) as well as your own house.
  2. Tuesday, May 14th at 2:00 p.m.Lilies of the Field
    Learn how you can glorify Creation on the grounds of your house of worship while reducing costs and environmental impacts.
  3. Saturday, May 18th at 9:00 a.m.The Link Between Creation Stewardship and Economic Development
    How do renewables and energy efficiency help with job growth and economic development?

To register, or for more information, call (315) 256-0078 or email

Holiday Light

candle_light_wallpapers_11As the days grow shorter with less sunlight, people around the world have ways in which we celebrate our faith with light.

Diwali is a five-day celebration held in November this year. It is the Hindu festival of lights that celebrates the New Year. The word “Diwali” means “rows of lighted lamps. During Diwali, people light hundreds of small oil lamps, called diyas, and place them around their homes. Firecrackers light the sky, dispelling darkness and ignorance and spreading the radiance of love and wisdom, in Hindu symbolism.

Diwali is also celebrated by Sikhs, who mark the occasion when Guru Ji obtained the release of 52 kings and princes who had been unjustly imprisoned. Good had overcome evil and light overcame the darkness.

Bodhi Day was on December 8th, and marks the day when Buddha attained enlightenment. Often, Buddhists will string multi-colored lights throughout their homes to symbolize the many paths to enlightenment. It is also traditional to light a candle each night for 30 nights beginning on Bodhi Day.

Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights and began this year at sundown on December 8th. Hanukkah commemorates efforts to restore the Temple in Jerusalem.  During the restoration, some people found there was only enough oil to light the lamp for one night, but miraculously, it burned for eight.

Christmas on December 25th, celebrated by Christians, is also associated with light, with some of its customs deriving from pre-Christian religions’ recognition of the Winter Solstice in areas that adopted Christianity.

Kwanzaa, beginning on December 26th and ending on January 1, is not a religious holiday, but for many it has spiritual overtones. Kwanzaa is a holiday celebrated by some African Americans and is centered around seven principals; Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Seven candles represent the seven principals.

As we near the end of the year, we can take time to pause for reflection and for planning for 2013. In that spirit, we offer suggestions for ten ways to bring light into your life, and the life of your religious community, in order to lighten your footprint.

  • Caulk windows, doors, and anywhere air leaks in or out. Do not caulk around furnace exhaust pipes or your water heater.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with a compact fluorescent ones.  This will not only save energy, it will save you money.
  • Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly.
  • Wash only full loads in a dishwasher and use the shortest cycle that will get your dishes clean.
  • Defrost refrigerators and freezers before ice becomes ¼ inch thick.
  • Try going without meat for at least one night per week. Buy organic, locally-grown foods.
  • When you use your washing machine, make sure it has a full load of clothes. Use cold water for the rinse cycle.
  • Unplug electronics, battery chargers, and other equipment when not in use. Taken together, these small items can use as much power as your refrigerator.
  • Make your own holiday gifts. This could turn into a fun tradition!
  • Enable “power management” on all computers and turn them off at night. Laptops use up to 90% less energy than desktop models.

Happy Holidays and peace to all.

The Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy devastated coastal areas in New York City and the surrounding region. While power is back on and life is returning to normal in most neighborhoods, hard hit areas are still in need of assistance as they struggle with a continued lack of electricity, serious damage to buildings, and, in many cases, the loss of friends and neighbors.

Congregations throughout the region were profoundly affected, with many houses of worship experiencing flooding or wind damage, or extended periods with electricity. And faith communities have responded to the disaster by opening their doors to storm victims, coordinating relief efforts to get supplies and volunteers to stricken areas, and making sure that people displaced by the storm had somewhere to go for prayer and comfort.

NYIPL member congregations in New York City have experienced the storm’s impact in a very immediate way. Below are some of their stories:

  • The Cathedral of St. John the Divine suffered significant damage to trees on the grounds, but no serious damage to the building. The Cathedral Community Cares program has been coordinating volunteers to aid in relief efforts both at the Cathedral and in damaged areas. They are assembling a guide for people who want to help out that will be posted on their website shortly. For more information, visit and the Cathedral’s Facebook page.

    One of the Cathedral of St. John Divine’s famous peacocks in front of downed tree limbs. Photo credit: Isadora Wilkenfeld.
  • St. James’ Church is working closely with the Episcopal Diocese of New York to coordinate relief efforts, including food drives and housing for displaced families. They are encouraging their congregants to work through establish relief agencies like Episcopal Relief and Development. For more information, visit and the Church’s Facebook page.
  • St. Michael’s Church is also working with the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s storm relief efforts.  The Church has coordinated with congregations in the most affected areas to bring supplies and volunteers to where they are needed. St. Michael’s congregants made thousands of sandwiches at the Church and transported them to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, which had lost power after the storm. For more information, visit and the Church’s Facebook page.
  • Sisters of Charity of New York collected more than $10,000 for storm relief efforts, and has been transporting vanloads of much-needed supplies to Mount Loretto, which is serving as the Archdiocese of New York’s primary receiving center for Sandy aid on Staten Island. Sisters of Charity has also helped direct supplies to Queens Congregations for United Action, an interfaith coalition, which is coordinating relief efforts in the Rockaways, Howard Beach, and Broad Channel. For more information, visit
  • Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Church’s basement flooded, destroying food supplies for Trinity’s Services and Food for the Homeless program, which serves hundreds of people a day through its soup kitchen and food pantry.