In August 2011, AZIPL received a TogetherGreen grant funded by Toyota and Audubon. We are working with three congregations in South Phoenix:  Southminster Presbyterian Church, New Home Baptist Church and St Matthew Catholic Church and School. Now that the energy audits of their buildings are completed and the partners are finalizing what retrofits they will do, AZIPL scheduled a session called “Meet the Partners and Discover the Resources.”

We met at the Rio Salado Audubon Center, home of our Audubon Arizona partner, and invited pastors and lay leaders from the congregations to join us for a Saturday morning session. Members from the different congregations had a chance to meet and get to know each other a bit while touring the Rio Salado Center and grounds and learning about the free Audubon programs for families available at the Center. Mary Elizabeth Lawrence (AZIPL Co-Executive Director) and Lisa McDaniel-Hutchings (AZIPL Ministerial Intern) are the co-leaders for the Footprints of Faith grant. They shared green preaching resource materials and alerted congregational partners to upcoming green events in the area, such as Earth Hour on March 31, the Solar Cookout on April 21, and “Desert Wisdom in a Time of Climate Change” on April 28.  Karen Schedler (AZIPL Board Member and Program Chair), presented an overview of the Cool Congregations workshop and facilitated discussion on tailoring the program to fit congregational needs.

We all agreed that AZIPL would lead a Green Team training on March 3rd for the three churches, and then schedule a Cool Congregations workshop for each church which would be open to the entire congregation and neighborhood or denominational partners.

— Lisa McDaniel-Hutchings, AZIPL Ministerial Intern