“There is always a light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”  Amanda Gorman, the nation's first-ever youth poet laureate

South Carolina Interfaith Power and Light (SCIPL) kicks off 2021 with an exciting calendar of advocacy, action, education, networking, and worship to help us courageously care for each other and our earth. Before we dive into our news, we want to open with a special prayer to help center our work this month.
A Buddhist Prayer for Peace

May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly be freed from their illnesses. May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those bound be free. May the powerless find power and may people think of befriending one another. 

Day of Prayer for World Peace during the U.N. International Year of Peace, 1986
Una oración budista por la paz

Que todos los seres en todas partes, plagados de sufrimientos de cuerpo y mente, se liberen rápidamente de sus enfermedades. Que los asustados dejen de tener miedo y que los atados sean libres. Que los impotentes encuentren poder y que la gente piense en hacerse amigos unos de otros.

Día de oración por la paz mundial durante el Año Internacional de la Paz de la ONU, 1986
SCIPL joined IPL in thanking President Biden for recommitting the U.S. to the Paris Agreement. In addition to rejoining the Paris Agreement, President Biden also revoked the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline; identified over 100 regulatory rollbacks including fuel efficiency standards, public land protections, and curbing methane pollution for review; and halted all new oil and gas leases for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

We invite you to send a message of appreciation and appeal for continued commitment to climate justice and earth care here.

SCIPL also supported the Build Back Fossil Free movement which is petitioning President  Biden to build back from COVID-19 without fossil fuels.  Read more about the request at BuildBackFossilFree.org.

SCIPL honored the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during an Interfaith Dialogue event featuring Civil Rights Activist Reverend John Reynolds. Reynolds was mentored by Dr. King and other Civil Rights leaders, and he has been integral to nonviolent organizing that has contributed to the advancement of all Americans. Reynolds was interviewed by acclaimed WCBD-TV2 news-anchor Carolyn Murray, who is herself an advocate for civil and human rights. Following the interview, participants engaged in a small group dialogue that brought together people from across South Carolina. 

You can watch a recording of the inspiring event here: MLK Day Interfaith Dialogue Recording

Interested in learning more about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's ideas and their relevance for racial conflict in our current society? Join Furman University Professor, Dr. Cynthia King, in a timely virtual discussion about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's 1963 book Why We Can't Wait. The first discussion will take place on February 9th and the second one February 16th, both at 7:15pm.  Register here: Why We Can't Wait

Interested in participating in small group dialogues and creating bridges with people from a variety of faith traditions, backgrounds and ideologies? Visit My Neighbor's Voice to learn more.

SCIPL's first Faith Leader's Civic Engagement Academy kicked off January 26th with 15 participants from across the state.  The three-session course covers: effective advocacy, policy, organizing and the interplay between policy and politics. Program facilitators include SC Commission of Minority Affairs Policy Director, Brenton Brown, elected officials and the Honorable James Felder. Register today for our summer academy at Faith Leaders Civic Engagement Academy  
Congregational Energy Efficiency Challenge
This month we are also highlighting a past Congregational Energy Efficiency Challenge (CEEC) congregation, Forest Lake Presbyterian Church. Forest Lake Presbyterian purchased and installed LED bulbs in their sanctuary, narthex and in other locations throughout the church in 2019. An electrician installed only the bulbs that required a hydraulic lift, and staff installed the others, saving the church quite a bit of money on labor. Previously the beautiful stained glass window pictured above was not lit at night because of the expense. Now with the new LED bulbs it is affordable to let the light shine through to the community.

Ellen Skidmore, Senior Pastor, Forest Lake Presbyterian Church shared, “Congregations should make it a priority to both model earth care and to challenge their members and guests to live out their care of the earth in practical ways. Our increased use of LED bulbs models what we hope our members and guests will also do. We want to model care of earth in lots of ways so that we set a good example for our members as well as for other congregations. We are so grateful for SCIPL’s help in this mission!” 

For more information about the CEEC program and other energy saving opportunities, contact us at scipl@sustainingway.com.
SCIPL is excited to partner with South Carolina Health Professionals for Climate Action this year.  We will kick off our first educational event on Tuesday, February 23rd at 6:30pm with a discussion about faith, climate and health connections.  The meeting registration link can be found here: Faith, Climate & Health Connections.
SCIPL invites you to a virtual screening and discussion panel on March 19th, 2021 beginning at 6pm. The Human Element outlines sustainability and climate issues within our country, broken down into the elements of water, air, fire, earth, and the human element since our continued shaping of the planet is inevitable. Specifically, we aim to use this film as a means for the faith community to discuss the current climate and social issues in South Carolina.  Please contact us at scipl.sustainingway.com to learn about how your congregation can be a part of this powerful initiative.
Follow The Human Element on Facebook to see posts about this film! You may also view the trailer here.
Join Tennessee IPL and other Southeastern organizations for the New Green Economy Compass Conference. Learn about and strategize around approaches to economic development that foster both sustainability and equitable employment.  A special workshop on Religion, Labor and Ecology will be held on Thursday, Feb 11th. Register here.   
Join other people of faith in a unique opportunity to create healthier communities for all! In this 9-session virtual program, you will have a chance to strengthen your personal, spiritual, and community health. Award-winning Chef Alex Askew leads us in mindful cooking demonstrations and other practices to enable social change and a deeper connection between body, mind, and spirit.

The program starts Wednesday March 3, 2021, 6:30-8:00pm ET, meeting every other week. To participate, please complete the application form. Teams of 3 people from each faith community are preferred. Please contact mebc@iphnetwork.org with questions. 
Need assistance with winter energy bills? Duke Energy’s Share the Warmth program may be able to help with your bills. This program and others are accessible at scipl.org and by visiting the State Energy Office's website www.energy.sc.gov/incentives!

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