The Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light is urging houses of worship and members of faith-based organizations to plan to rally for a cleaner environment. They are now organizing a trek to the People’s Climate March to be held in New York City Sunday, Sept. 21. They are hoping that Philadelphians, including the city’s African-American faith community, are among those who will make their presence felt.

The Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, Philadelphia PAIPL chair and pastor of Summit Presbyterian Church in West Mount Airy, said this is a milestone event. She said that the more voices that are raised at the midtown Manhattan event, the stronger the message will be sent not just regionally and nationally, but globally as well.

“The march will call on world leaders convening at the United Nations to take strong action for a world safe from the ravages of climate change,” Pyrch said. “[We need] a world with good jobs, clean air and safe communities for everyone. We need to show up and be there because climate change is a moral issue. As oceans rise and as droughts, floods and heat waves worsen, the poor and vulnerable will suffer first and foremost.”

So, those who want to participate are being urged to sign up now. The organization is expecting to get strong support from persons of faith throughout the Delaware Valley region.

“The Philadelphia IPL bus will be leaving from the Germantown Jewish Centre, 400 W. Ellet St. near Lincoln Drive at 7:30 a.m.,” said Mark Smith, bus captain for the trip. “We will be returning early that evening. You may also make a donation to provide bus scholarships. We suggest you bring lunch, and you’re welcome to bring snacks to share on the bus.”

Yet Pyrch said that organizers are already keeping their primary goal in mind. This is “to show the world we care about climate change and to demand action before it’s too late,” she said. Pyrch added that there are hundreds of organizations around the country that have already committed to attending the Sept. 21 rally, so she hopes Philadelphia will also have a strong faith community presence.

“This is important because climate change will only be addressed by coming together on a large scale to bridge our differences and commit to walk more gently on this Earth,” Pyrch said. “By praying together and marching together we inspire hope and courage in one another, and we demonstrate to our elected officials how much we care about the well-being of our collective present and future.

“We’ll have a brief interfaith worship service on the bus. It will be a time to connect with folks from different congregations in the area. Please invite friends and people who are not members of faith communities are welcome,” Pyrch said.

This program comes on the heels of Philadelphia PAIPL local meetings and rallies. When the group met in Germantown last May the issues were sustainability and climate control. The Rev. Ethelyn Taylor, pastor of the Oxford Presbyterian Church in Mount Airy, felt it was an informative session.

“I am really interested in learning more and as much as I can about how the climate changes are affecting us,” Taylor said. “Cheryl [Pyrch] came to me and told me that they were going to be having a meeting with the faith community. I am very impressed by the number of people who are doing what they can on these issues. I just want to reach out to my congregation. Others should do this as well.”

To register for the People’s Climate March visit The round-trip bus fee is $30. Once registered the organization make contact regarding trip details. To learn more about the Philadelphia chapter of PAIPL, contact Pyrch at 215-438-2825 or visit To learn more about the national People’s Climate March visit

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