Hosting a Legislator Visit at your House of Worship
Hosting legislators at your House of Worship gives you the chance to show how a congregation in the legislator’s district is involved in the stewardship of the environment, energy efficiency, renewable energy, or other sustainable ministries.
The visit is an opportunity to highlight how your congregation is concerned about and engaged in a moral obligation to future generations to leave them a planet that is not polluted or damaged.
Hosting a legislator also gives you the opportunity to become a “go-to” resource for policy makers when it comes to issues related to the stewardship of the environment.
Here’s a checklist for a successful legislative visit. Consider Ohio Interfaith Power and Light your partner in hosting a successful visit. OhIPL can provide background information and assistance in resources.
Before the Visit:
- Send an Invitation Letter
You can find your legislator’s contact information online:
STATE: ( http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/)
Check your local county/city councils for contact information. E-mail is the preferred method of correspondence.
Click here for a SAMPLE INVITATION LETTER
- Follow up with the Scheduler
Contact the legislator’s office/legislator’s scheduler to be sure they received the invitation.
Confirm the Date and Details Work with the scheduler or office staff to confirm a date that works well for the legislator and your congregation. If the date you suggest doesn’t work, offer several dates/times as options. Ask if the legislator will be accompanied by staff and, if so, get their names and titles.
- Prepare Your Congregation
Explain the general intent of the visit to your congregation. Recruit members to be a part of the visit. This could include:
Green Team members can share information about their ministry.
Staff can share energy efficiency information and facilitate a tour of the facility to show projects.
Clergy can share how and why they include creation care in worship and education
Education classes and children can share creation care artwork or projects
- Coordinate Media
If media coverage is agreeable with the legislator, use our sample press release as a start to your media relations efforts. You should also feature the visit on your congregation’s website and social media pages. OhIPL can assist in Media outreach.
Click here for a SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE
- Confirm with the Scheduler
The legislator’s office may ask for more information about your congregation, as well as a schedule of events for the visit or a list of who the participants will be during the visit. Offer to provide all of this information.
- Have a walk-through with your congregation’s participants before the visit.
The agenda should be reviewed and the tour mapped out so it runs smoothly and on time.
- Distribute Agenda to Everyone Involved in the Visit
Once the agenda is finalized, distribute it to all participants and send a copy to the legislator’s scheduler.
During the Visit:
- Greet the Legislator and Staff Members (2-3 min.)
Your congregation’s faith leader should be on hand to greet the legislator and his/her staff when they arrive on site. A congregational member can accompany the legislator and on the tour. Following brief introductions, the tour should promptly begin.
- Tour House of Worship (15-20 min.)
Share how your House of Worship is saving energy, saving creation, and saving money through energy efficiency and energy conservation or local gardening. Relate your energy stewardship with care for creation and a moral obligation to future generations. Share any faith statements your denomination/faith community has about caring for creation. You can find a listing of faith perspectives, here:
- Meet with Green Team/Education Class/Special Project members (30-35 min.)
Provide an opportunity for members of your congregation to share how they are involved in environmental stewardship and why it is important to them. Invite the legislator to make a few remarks and answer any questions your members may have.
After the Visit
- Send a thank you letter.
- Report back to Ohio Interfaith Power and Light
If an OhIPL staff person is unable to participate in your visit, let us know how it went. We’d love to share your success with others.
Contact Deb Steele, Volunteer Coordinator at [email protected] for questions and assistance.