With Call to Environmental Justice, 70+ VA Congregations Dedicate their Worship Services to Climate Action
Weekend ‘Climate in the Pulpits, on the Bimah & in the Minbar,’ events show multi-faith support for stronger environmental justice provisions in Virginia
Nov 18, 2019
Richmond, VA — Over 70 Virginia congregations across the state preached about climate justice this past weekend or will soon do so this fall, reaching over 4,000 people in their houses of worship through the Climate in the Pulpits program.
“Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions was pleased to participate in the first Climate In the Pulpits for Virginia alongside our partners, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light and Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA). Now more than ever the faith community is answering the call to respond to the climate crisis as the moral and social justice issue of our time,” said Meg Mall, Executive Director of Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions.
The region’s diverse faith communities have committed to addressing climate change as a moral issue and to advocating for stronger environmental justice provisions when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
During this past weekend, congregations across the Commonwealth dedicated their worship services to address the growing threat of climate change, and urge their congregants to call on state and county legislators to center the concerns of those most vulnerable and most impacted by the climate crisis.
“From walks in the woods to a vegetarian dinner and discussion, from Friday Shabbat services to Sunday morning worship, faith communities across the Commonwealth found creative and powerful ways to open conversations about environmental justice this weekend,” said Joelle Novey, Director of Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), “We are building a movement of faith voices who will speak out together to the General Assembly for policies that affirm environmental justice in all of our work to address the climate crisis.”
The initiative particularly invited participating congregations to reflect on the ways that pollution in Virginia has disproportionately burdened marginalized communities. Additionally, the program invited people of faith and good will to make common cause with the residents of these communities who persist in advocating for their health and environmental quality, demonstrating resilience and power.
“Climate change is a moral issue that’s why I am so proud to see the 68 participating faith communities across Virginia express their concern around justice and raise their voices calling for action taken by our state decision-makers,” said Kendyl Crawford, Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light.
At many participating congregations, attendees signed a postcard inside their worship bulletins, calling on Virginia legislators to create a permanent Advisory Council on Environmental Justice and fund it appropriately; to require state agency projects to complete environmental justice analyses; and to require state agencies to regularly conduct environmental justice reviews.
“Our pollution is impacting communities across Virginia,” reads the bulletin insert which congregations will distribute to thousands of Virginia worshippers this weekend. “our air and water are poisoned by coal mining and burning; our land is seized for pipelines; our low-lying neighborhoods are flooded by rising sea levels and our land is targeted for landfills and other toxic facilities … We must make sure that everyone most impacted — including low-income people, people of color, the vulnerable, and those on the frontlines — are part of every solution.”
At press time, there were 68 participating faith communities in Virginia, including in Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Callaway, Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Chesterfield, Churchville, Cloverdale, Fairfax, Falls Church, Floyd, Forest, Harrisonburg, Henrico, King George, Leesburg, Manassas, Nellysford, Newport News, Purcellville, Reston, Richmond, Roanoke, Springfield, Staunton, Stephens City, Triangle, Vienna, Virginia Beach, Warrenton, Waynesboro, and Woodbridge.
Please contact Kendyl Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org for photos (you can also click here) and for additional information about participating congregations.
Climate in the Pulpits Virginia is a joint program of Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA), the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions, and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light.
Interfaith Power & Light (DC.MD.NoVA) and Virginia Interfaith Power & Light jointly engage congregations across the Commonwealth of Virginia in saving energy, going green, and responding to climate change. IPL-DMV and VAIPL are two of the three dozen state affiliates of Interfaith Power & Light mobilizing a national religious response to the climate crisis: www.ipldmv.org, www.vaipl.org
Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FACS) unites people of faith in Fairfax County and across Northern Virginia to develop local solutions to the climate crisis. FACS pursues four purposes in its work: sound an ethical and spiritual call to address climate change; encourage moral climate policies from a nonpartisan perspective; enable congregations to do good works that protect our planet and its people; and empower congregations to become champions of change. www.faithforclimate.org