Imagine a world without electricity or any other generated power after dark. If one thinks that their home, neighborhood and community would be pitch black, think again. The Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light proved that there could be both light and fellowship as they celebrated Earth Hour with many others around the world on March 19 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The “Lights Out … Party On!” festivities were held at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House. The gathering of more than 75 Christians, Jews and other faith traditions kicked off their celebration a bit early at 7 p.m. with a “Greet the Light” in the Quaker house of worship’s “Skyscape” created by James Turrell. Its retracted roof took those attending from daylight into night as an aperture opened to the sky.
“Let’s do a countdown to the lights going out,” said the Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, pastor of the Summit Presbyterian Church in Mount Airy. The crowd enthusiastically counted down from 10. Those who brought along their own lights turned them on.
Then the lights were turned out for Earth Hour. There were inflatable lanterns on each table. Rabbi Malka Binah Klein and the Rev. Cheryl Pyrch, co-chairs of the Philadelphia chapter of PAIPL, led in sharing what they felt their hope was for the world. Others held up their lanterns and shared this before entertainment was provided for by the Acoustic Blender.
The dessert reception had eatables donated by local bakeries in Northwest Philadelphia. They included Bredenbeck’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor, the Frosted Fox Cake Shop, Little Jimmie’s Bakery Café & Catering and the Knight Kitchen Bakery. The local Fresh Market, High Point Café and the Weaver’s Way Co-Op also donated to the fundraiser.
More than 50 faith-based institutions were represented. There were even nonmember Chestnut Hill residents, who came by to support the “Time to Build Up Campaign” benefit.
This was not the only event that PAIPL was engaged in this past weekend. Monday, members staged a “MoralTorium Rally and Lobby Day.” They took buses from Philadelphia and other cities to the Grace United Methodist Church in Harrisburg for an initial prayer gathering. Then by 11 a.m. they boarded buses headed to the Capitol Rotunda. There they made legislative visits to share their faith-based beliefs about climate change, sustainability and related topics.
“[This was about] raising our voices and asking for our civic and government leaders to covenant with a clean and just energy future,” said Cricket Hunter, the PAIPL director of programs and outreach. “This is a MoralTorium on new gas wells with a short raining, an interfaith service, a process, a rally, a press conference and a meeting with elected officials in offices. We joined from across the state with the Lutheran Advocacy Ministry of Pennsylvania.”
PAIPL is gearing up for a “Paris and Beyond” initiative. They will join with faith communities across the country to address the need to cut carbon footprints in half by 2030.
“These are reductions we need to commit to in order to … protect our children’s future,” said the Rev. Sally G. Bingham. “We are doing our part and we are asking policymakers to live up to the ambitious goals set in Paris.”