COVID 19 and Our Faith in Action

I pray all is well amidst all that is going in our lives, our homes, our communities, our country and this nation.  COVID 19 has created a new lens for Americans to look through.  It has presented us with the gift of self-care in service to ourselves and to others.  It is also a time to reflect and ponder the Clarion Call attached to our faith.  COVID 19 raises the question of how will we as people of faith show up.  Not only to protect our organizations but in radical love.  What is our deepest response not only to the moments of now, but the moments of later?  How do we show up our fullest selves in the full identity of our faith and how do we put our faith into action?  There is much more that we can ask, but I write to challenge us in our reflections – – What Can/Must We Do?  What is missing in this moment and how are we holding others up in the space of uncertain times?  While I may not have the answer to all of these questions, I as the Executive Director of Ohio IPL ask you to join us in a radical love campaign.  This campaign has only one ask and that is that you call someone and check on them and don’t forget to tell them I LOVE YOU.  This is a time to reach out to those members in our houses of worship who stopped attending.  To the single mother or to that friend that we think about but yet fail to pick up the phone.  The list is endless.  Once you have done your check-in ask them to pay it forward and call someone and to do the same.  God’s creation is not only about the trees, the land, the water, etc., it is also about God’s Children.   I would love for you to send a message to me at [email protected] simply stating, I checked on someone I love.

May the waters of grace continue to flow upon you.

In Radical Love,

Rev. Marcia Dinkins, Executive Director

Inspiring Words

As we end 2018, Ohio IPL is featuring some motivational quotes around the theme “We Are All Connected”. Below are some chosen inspiring quotes from supporters. Leave your quote in the comment section below, or go to our Facebook page and add your own quote there! We all could use a little inspiration! Why does the quote inspire you and why are you called to do the work of climate justice?

Make a contribution to Ohio IPL today and “Be Connected” to those who are seeking climate justice and a moral response to caring for the Earth and our neighbors.


Submitted by Meribah Mansfield, Ohio IPL Board Co-Chair

Having been involved with Ohio Interfaith Power & Light for over 10 years,  I have become aware of the intersection of racial justice and eco-justice and have come to understand that the more that we care for each other, the more we care for creation, and vice versa. I more fully appreciate the beauty of creation when I see the beauty in myself and in all of God’s children, including all gender identities, colors, races, sexual orientation and classes. As James Cone said in his Sojourners article, “Whose Earth is it Anyway?”: “The fight for justice cannot be segregated but must be integrated with the fight for life in all its forms.”
~Rev. Meribah Mansfield, Ohio IPL Board Chair


Submitted by Shannon Steward, Ohio IPL Board Co-Chair

“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
–Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

This quote, generally attributed to Lilla Watson but appropriately born from a collective process, lived inside of me long before I knew someone had already come along and articulated it. In the same way that planets curve and mold the fabric of the universe, creating gravity that pulls on everything around them, every single thing I do impacts other humans and non-humans on this Earth. The things I say, the choices I make, and the problems I choose not to address can hurt other people, and so it’s only natural that we can better each others’ lives, as well. When we work for justice, we work together. When we work for safety, it’s each others’ safety. And when we fight for the climate, we fight for a planet we all share.


“When we try to pick out anything by itself we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” ~John Muir






“The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whisperings of grasses, the shimmering of leaves.”

~Terry Tempest Williams






“For our brief time on this wonderful planet, we must bow deeply to one another, to Earth, and to all other sentient beings, and resist with the power of love anything that creates or stands as a barrier between ourselves and the whole kingdom of life.” ~Alycee J. Lane



Solar Panels Installed!

PeaceLutheran_solarPeace Lutheran Church in Bowling Green recently installed solar panels along the south side of their building –“they look great and they are operating great!” Using a web based application, the church can access productivity reports and view real time energy activity. Peace expects up to 25% utility savings to be applied toward other ministries!


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St. Casimir Church implements green infrastructure practices

St.Casimir_1-ResizedblogSt. Casimir Church, in the Cleveland Catholic Diocese, received a Green Infrastructure Grant by the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to implement green infrastructure practices on its property.

The grant will fund a variety of stormwater management practices installed at the church over the next several months. Those practices will include permeable pavers in the parking lot that will allow water from storm events to soak into the sandy ground at the church instead of flowing into the storm drains and bio retention areas behind the church and convent to allow the roof water to collect into basins and drain into the sandy soil instead of running off to the nearest sewer.

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Care for Creation: Get Involved

catholicConference_resizedIn anticipation of the release of Pope Francis’ encyclical regarding the environment, we’d like to spotlight some of the Catholic Care for Creation initiatives in Ohio.

Catholic teachings have always stressed the importance of care for the environment. The Catholic Conference of Ohio, which represents each Catholic diocese in the state, has an environmental stewardship campaign, Environmental Justice Program, and an environmental issues awareness website, Care for Creation. The programs aim to reflect the religious, stewardship, and moral values that are central to Catholic teachings and faith. All of the programs work to encourage involvement and issue awareness. Continue reading

First Unitarian is a solar Cool Congregation

UUofClevelandFirst Unitarian Church of Cleveland has been recognized as a Certified Cool Congregation by national Interfaith Power and Light. Driven by a common mandate to be good stewards of Creation, the first 20 Certified Cool Congregations averaged 42% greenhouse gas reductions, showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way. In announcing the first twenty congregations to receive this recognition, The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham, says, “These congregations are leading the way. They are putting their faith into action and bringing moral responsibility to the forefront of the movement to protect the climate.”

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Goodness Grows

CommonGround_July2013Common Ground Church Community is an Earth Care Congregation that was started by Steve Fortenberry. At first, it was a small home study group that was outreach oriented. During their house church stage there were approximately 10 people, but as the church grew Steve recognized the need for a new church development to fill the need for corporate worship, as well as the programming it could provide. In the fall of 2004, members were interested in purchasing property to build the Common Ground church. In 2005, Common Ground received their church charter and in 2006 purchased land in North Lima to make a place of their own. The faith community built their church on a 30-acre lot that was previously a garden center. They chose the site because they believed they could steward the site and create a blessing to the community. From this site Goodness Grows was formed, which, indeed, became an inspiration and a true blessing to the community.

Goodness Grows is a faith-based organization that works with community groups, congregations, workplaces, and individuals to help families “grow their way out of hunger and poverty.” Goodness Grows provides leadership and education to help create a healthier and sustainable community for future generations through agriculture. Steve and his faith community believe in caring for God’s creation and being good stewards of the earth, and their hard effort has paid off. In July 2007, Goodness Grows became their own separate 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Goodness Grows promotes local and organic agriculture rather than our conventional food distribution system. This creates high-value, healthier, and environmentally friendly food that the community can both appreciate and enjoy. This congregation, now about 80 worshiping regularly, has shown that they can have an impact.

Goodness Grows’ efforts have been well received by the local community and at the national level. Goodness Grows has completed range of projects—from community and school gardens to forming a community supported agriculture group that serves those with limited access to fresh food. Goodness Grows also has a Crop Grower Apprentice program which trains individuals to become agricultural entrepreneurs who can start their own self-sustaining farms. Goodness Grows’ hard work has won the organization multiple awards, and it has even been invited to local, regional, state, and national events.

Goodness Grows has been featured on TV, newspapers, and in Farm and Dairy. It has also been invited into several regional and state projects by Ohio State University. They have been invited to The White House for a USDA press event as well as a major summit in Washington D.C. to the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Scholars. In 2012, Youngstown State University awarded Goodness Grows with a MLK Jr. Award for community service. Goodness Grows truly is an award winning organization that can be an incredible inspiration to not just the faith community, but to everyone.

To learn more about Common Ground Community Church or Goodness Grows please visit:
Common Ground Church Community
2310 W. South Range Rd.
North Lima OH, 44452
(330) 549-9408


This Congregational Highlight was contributed by Richard Oldham, OSU student


Buried and Returned to the Forest

On June 21, 2012, EcoEternity LLC and Lutheran Outdoor Ministries in Ohio (LOMO) signed a contract to implement LakeSide EcoEternity Forest at LOMO’s Camp Luther. This forest is the second of its kind in Ohio, and seventh in the country.

Camp Luther's director, Corey Wagonfield, standing with one of the earmarked trees to serve as a memorial tree at the LakeSide EcoEternity Forest

Camp Luther’s director, Corey Wagonfield, standing with one of the earmarked trees to serve as a memorial tree at the LakeSide EcoEternity Forest

EcoEternity Forest, LLC, was started back in 2006 in White Stone, Va., by Jack Lowe and Axel Baudach with the intent of partnering with businesses and landowners to create these alternative burial forests. However, the idea of a memorial tree is not a new one. The concept for these trees has it roots in Europe, where Ueli Sauter, from Switzerland, founded the first “Friedwald”. In 2000, Mr. Baudach discovered the work of Sauter and began establishing EcoEternity Forests in Germany. In June 2006, Baudach and Lowe founded EcoEternity LLC with the intent to adapt the concept to American culture and laws. Since the founding of the organization, EcoEternity has been partnering with municipalities, churches, and private forest owners to plan and preserve their forest property for extended periods as a burial ground and implement these memorial trees.

When an individual passes away, should they choose to be buried in an EcoEternity Forest, their body is cremated, put into a biodegradable urn, and buried at the base of a chosen mature tree so that their body may be returned to the earth and assist in the growth of that tree. Continue reading

Environmental Values


Abundance Acres vegetable garden. Started in 2009

Since the late 1970’s, Forest Hill Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights has been working on energy conservation and environmental awareness. Starting out with a focus on energy efficiency in their building, the church has also developed environmental values. Forest Hill Church’s mission statement for Earth care is “Care of the Earth… is achieved through encouragement and education, enabling change within our individual lifestyle, church and greater community.” They focus on encouraging the individual all the way to working with the community as a whole.

Longtime member, David Hunter, has been improving the building’s energy efficiency for many years. He has been a pillar in the church’s efforts to conserve energy for the past 30-40 years, with a significant focus the past 10-12 years. In his opinion, the church’s most important success in terms of energy conservation has been reducing the church’s fuel usage by nearly one-third.

The sustainability goals that the Forest Hill Church members and staff have set for energy conservation and environmental awareness are extremely encouraging. These include goals ranging from developing an Earth Care Strategy to educational programs targeted at different age groups. The strategy helps to identify how to devote time and energy to expressing environmental values. The educational programs serve as an effective way to get the word out to those who are interested, but unsure as to where to start. The other goals that Forest Hill Church has developed are: examining recommendations for waste and reduction as well as recycling; implementing Earth Care programs into worship; and sharing their ideas and information with other organizations throughout neighboring communities.

Forest Hill Church has taken several different steps toward environmental sustainability through building improvements and by sharing the experience with others in their community. For instance, the church has done an outstanding job in improving their building “greenness” by installing new insulation, switching to more environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals, and even changing their lighting to 80% fluorescents. Forest Hill Church has also built a garden to help feed needy families in the community and share the greatness of what a garden can bring.

The work that Forest Hill Presbyterian Church has completed is received very well among the members of the church, encouraging a better understanding of the importance and values of the environment and energy conservation. Also, the community around Forest Hill Church is gaining knowledge and supporting the church through projects such as the church’s vegetable garden.

The dedication that Forest Hill Presbyterian Church displays to energy conservation and environmental work is a model for any faith based community. They hope to continue their work and educate others to do the same.

For more information about the church’s sustainability ministry, click here.

 This congregational highlight was contributed by Jordan Bernsdorf, OSU student