State Coordinator: Joy Bergey
1632 Chattin Rd.
Laverock, PA 19038
(Phone) (215) 836-5978
(Fax) 412-291-1192


1. The Interfaith Global Climate Change Campaign: A Project of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches

2. What Is Known about Global Warming?

3. Global Climate and Energy Policy

4. Pennsylvania Religious Leaders' Statement on Global Climate Change and Earth

4. Suggested Steps for Working in a Congregation




A project of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches



The purposes of the Interfaith Climate Campaign are to educate congregations about global climate change, and to encourage action within congregations and by individuals to help address this problem in their own lives, in their denominations, and in public policy.

Here are some of the ways congregations will be asked to participate in the Campaign:

Provide information and/or adult religious education within the congregation about science and public policy, and about how individuals can make a difference.

(Leaflets, briefing papers, bulletin inserts, a five session Bible study, speakers and video-tapes are available through the Campaign.)

Develop a plan to reduce energy use in your congregation's facilities.

(An Energy Stewardship Guide for congregations is available through the Campaign or by calling the Energy Stewardship program of the National Council of Churches at 800/288-1346.)

Buy renewable electricity for your congregation's facilities.

(A briefing paper and other information about buying renewable electricity is available through the Campaign.)

Encourage members of the congregation to reduce their household energy use and to buy renewable electricity.

The campaign, through its outreach to congregations, will also recruit individuals to participate in a public witness on climate change by the PA Council of Churches through citizen education and policy advocacy.

Thirty leaders of Pennsylvania's denominations joined in a public statement of support for the campaign at its inception in September, 1999. The campaign will continue to seek support from the state's regional denominational bodies and their leaders.

Are you able to:

• be a contact for the Campaign in your congregation?

• identify other concerned people in your denomination or community?

• help recruit participants for interfaith workshops in the community?

• participate in the work of a regional steering committee?


State Coordinator:
Joy Bergey              

Southeastern Region:
Barbara Atkinson        215/942-0184     
Mike Gross                215/849-0366     
Robin Hoy                 215/860-7081     
Jeffrey Quinn             610/622-4181      ,

South-Central Region:
Tancrede LaMontagne 717/299-1102    

Northwest Region:
Claudia Brown            814/898-2983    

Southwest Region:
Nancy Martin-Silber    412/931-3723    

Philadelphia area:

Ed Dreby                    609-261-8190  

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Global temperature has increased more than one degree Fahrenheit and sea level has risen about seven inches in the past century. The ten warmest years on record have been since 1983. The warmest by far was 1998. The 2,500 scientists of the International Panel on Climate Change conclude there is clear evidence that human activities are contributing to global warming.

Global warming means:
- bizarre weather patterns
- more heat waves and droughts
- heavier storms and floods
- threats to water supplies
- damage to agriculture
- damage to coastal regions
- damage to natural habitats
- increases in temperature and sea level, which will continue to rise long after emissions of heat-trapping gases are reduced.

The U.S., with 4% of the worlds people, is responsible for more than 21% of the annual emissions of heat-trapping gases due to human activity. Pennsylvania's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are almost 5% of the U.S. total, and more than the combined total of 83 small nations. About 36% of Pennsylvania's emissions come from the generation of electricity.

Why is global warming a religious issue?
The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it. It is not ours, except to care for as a sacred trust. Scripture tells us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. Global warming will harm God's earth and all that is in it. We in the U.S. cause much of the problem, so we have a special responsibility to do something about it. As people of faith, the challenge before us is to use less damaging sources of energy, and to reduce our use of energy to protect God's earth and our children's future.

Questions & choices for people of faith:
Retail competition in Pennsylvania's electric supply industry is intended to improve efficiency and reduce prices. It enables all customers, including congregations, to choose their electric supply company. Much of our electricity is generated by burning fossil fuels, which contributes to global warming by adding CO2 and other heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere. Will electric restructuring make this problem better or worse? The answer could very well be up to you.

The Temptation...
is for congregations and households to buy electricity at the lowest price without weighing the consequences. Cheaper electricity may come from the most polluting power plants. Cheaper electricity may lead to using more electricity or to using the money saved in ways that directly or indirectly increase energy use.

The Opportunity...
is for congregations and households to buy Green-e certified renewable electricity, and to reduce the amount of electricity we use.

Renewable Electricity
What is renewable electricity? Renewable electricity is generated from sunlight, wind or organic matter (biomass), which sources are made renewable by the continuous flow of energy from the sun through the earths natural cycles. Smaller hydro-electric facilities are classed as renewable if they do not significantly disrupt natural cycles. Why buy renewable electricity? Most of our regions electricity comes from fossil fuel or nuclear generating plants that are creating severe risks for future generations. Shifting to renewable technologies on a significant scale will require substantial investments in new facilities. Every customer that buys renewable electricity provides an added market incentive for companies to make these investments.

Your choice counts!

Green-e is a label certifying that an electricity product meets environmental and consumer protection standards established by the non-profit Center for Resource Solutions. Green-e certification requires that at least 50% of the product mix is renewable and that there are annual increases in the proportion of the mix coming from new renewable sources. Thus, with the Green-e label you know the electricity you are paying for is in fact renewable and that you are helping build new capacity for renewable energy.

How does a congregation or household switch to a Green-e electric supply company? Most electric supply companies will not offer Green-e products, although there is at least one Green-e certified product available in almost all PA service regions. Not all companies offer both residential and commercial service. Most religious congregations have commercial service.

A list of all electricity suppliers selling in your region is available by calling the Public Utility Commissionís Electric Competition Hotline at 888/782-3228. For information comparing the prices, generating sources and ecological impacts of products offered by electric supply companies in your service region, contact Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future at 800/321-7775 or see its web site at You must then contact each electric supply company to obtain its product and contract information.

Won't renewable electricity cost more? In some places you can switch right now to renewable energy products and pay less. In other places, it may cost a bit more. Even 100% renewable products are available at less cost than regular rates in one utility service territory. 50% renewable products are available in some regions at little or no more than what the regional utility charges.

What matters most is not the cost per kilowatt/hour but the total amount you have to spend. By taking specific measures to reduce energy use, you can buy Green-e certified renewable electricity and still lower your electric bill.

As a congregation...
•Make a commitment to care for God's creation through worship, teaching and learning, congregation lifestyle, and involvement in your community and public policy. Appoint a committee of your congregation to lead and oversee this commitment.
•Support the environmental justice program of your denomination.
•Arrange for a presentation in your congregation about science and public policy as it relates to global warming as a religious issue.

As individuals & families...
•Reduce your usage of electricity and water, especially hot water, to only when needed.
•Use thermostats and insulating materials to conserve energy with heating, air conditioning and hot water heating.
•Drive a car less and use a bike, bus, train or the sidewalk more.
•Buy the most efficient cars, appliances, and lighting available.
•Discover new ways and rediscover old ways to have fun, get things done, and celebrate life without using electricity or fossil fuels.

As a U.S. citizen...
•Write Senators Santorum and Specter and your U.S. representative. This is important to do! Tell them that global warming is a religious issue, that the U.S. must participate in strong and fair international agreements, and adopt strong national policies. (U.S. Senate, Wash. DC 20510; U.S. Congress, Wash. DC 20515.)
•Inform yourself about public policy issues relating to global warming.
•Attend candidate forums and ask questions. Be sure to vote.
•Volunteer time with faith-based and secular citizens' community and environmental organizations.

Resources to reduce energy use:
•Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future can illustrate how specific energy-saving measures can offset any increased cost for a Green-e product. They may also know of funding sources making loans to congregations and other religious institutions at reduced rates for energy efficiency projects.
•The interfaith Energy Star Congregation program, directed by the National Council of Churches, will provide at no cost a booklet describing a sequence of specific energy saving measures and ways to assess their potential dollar savings. It will also provide a list of reputable energy consultants in your area.
•For information from the NCC's Energy Stewardship Congregation program call 800/288-1346.
•For information from Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future about the electric supply companies in your service region call 800/321-7775, or see its web site at Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future is an organization that works to conserve the environment and has expertise on energy issues.
•For more information about Green-e certification, contact the Energy Coordinating Agency at 215/988-0929, extension 242 or via the Internet at or
•For more information about global climate change, or to arrange for a discussion presentation in your congregation, call the PA Inter-faith Global Climate Change Campaign, c/o the PA Council of Churches at 717/545-4761.

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The Interfaith Global Climate Change Campaign of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches is deeply concerned about the recent actions of the Bush administration with regard to the threats posed by global warming:

- apparent disregard for the recent findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,

- reversal of a campaign pledge to begin regulating carbon dioxide emissions,

- abandonment of current negotiations toward an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gases,

- claiming That problems with electric deregulation that are limited in scope constitute a national emergency,

- reinforcing that myth that there are no moral or ecological limits governing the way we use the abundance of God's gift of life.

All our faith traditions are committed to the values of justice, stewardship of the earth, and reverence for all of God's creation. "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it." The rise in global temperature of about 1 degree Fahrenheit during the past century, now known to be due primarily to human activity, is already having measurable effects on the well being of people and the forms of life on which we depend. World climate scientists now project that three to ten times more warming than has already occurred will take place within the lifetimes of those already born. They have reiterated their earlier call for immediate and forceful actions by governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The reality of human induced climate change presents us all with fundamental religious and moral obligations. Global warming, if not addressed now, risks unprecedented suffering and devastation for people everywhere. The United States should be leading the response. We cannot claim we trust in God while continuing to act in ways that ignore our obligations to God by jeopardizing the future of life as God creates it.

The Pennsylvania Council of Churches' Interfaith Climate Campaign is supported by over thirty of the state's religious leaders, has already been formally endorsed by six of the state's judicatories, and involves people from most of the states religious traditions.

On behalf of those already participating in this work, millions of concerned citizens, and the future well being of our children we ask the President to reconsider the direction his administration seems to be taking on climate change and energy policy.

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September, 1999

We, leaders of the Pennsylvania faith communities greet you, our brothers and sisters gathered together in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The interfaith event of which you are a part continues Pennsylvania's founding tradition that citizens engage often in public issues because of their faith. We affirm the importance of the work to which you are called on behalf of God's creation.

We who are dedicated to the health and habitat of our own good state are also citizens of the planet. We have been heartened by efforts of the nations of the world to address the threat of global climate change. Continuing Pennsylvania's tradition of providing leadership on important issues of freedom and justice, we must now do our part in our own nation and state concerning climate change. We are encouraged that you are joining with us in this endeavor.

• Climate change caused by global warming due to human activity is doing violence to God's creation. It is leading to species extinction, destruction of habitat, receding glaciers, inundation of low-lying land by rising seas, and increasing weather extremes, even in the temperate zones....

• Global climate change afflicts God's people. It threatens supplies of food and water and agricultural livelihoods. It is causing the spread of infectious disease. Those living on islands and low-lying coasts will lose homes, employment and safety. Already we see how people are harmed by the recent severity of storms, floods, droughts and heat waves....

Global climate change violates moral and religious principles of justice. Practices that contribute to the affluence many of us in industrialized nations enjoy are primarily responsible for the increase of greenhouse gases. We also bear responsibility for a leadership role: those in developing nations seek higher standards of living and thus emulate the practices of those in the developed nations. Yet the burdens of global warming fall most heavily on those who are poor, especially those in other countries who are often also young, sick, or frail elderly. Future generations will face still greater burdens if the nations of the world do not act immediately....

As people of faith whom God calls to be stewards of creation..., each of us will have different ways to act on this resolve within our own faith tradition. But we will be eager to join you in efforts to:

• Seek guidance through prayer and study of Scripture for the wisdom and strength to address global climate change as a violation of the integrity of God's creation.

• Distribute educational materials, offer sermons, and convene study groups to help our congregations understand and embrace this challenge.

• Urge our congregations and our other institutions to reduce greenhouse emissions by buying electricity that comes partly or entirely from renewable sources, and by using less electricity through measures they can learn about from the Energy [Stewardship] Congregation program.

• Reach out to others in faith communities who are committed to care for God's creation but who are not yet ready to address this particular issue.

• Share religious perspectives of global climate change with representatives of key sectors in our state - labor, business, agriculture, and environmental organizations, seeking ways to work together for the common good. Pennsylvania has been a leader in the energy field. The people of the Commonwealth can now provide moral leadership on this most important energy issue.

• Organize visits with our political representatives to tell them of our support for US ratification of the kind of equitable international agreement envisioned in the Kyoto Protocol, and for initiatives in national, state,and local policy to reduce global warming.

We speak not as members of an environmental movement, but as people of faith who seek to be true to God's intentions for creation. We resolve to obey God's instruction to "choose life so that you and your descendants may live." (Deuteronomy 30:19)


His Eminence, Metropolitan Maximos Aghiorghousi
- Bishop/President of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Greek Orthodox Church in America

The Rev. George W. Bashore
- Bishop in the United Methodist Church, Western Pennsylvania Conference

The Rt. Rev'd Charles E. Bennison, Jr.
- Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)

The Rev. W. Darwin Collins
- Regional Minister and President, The Christian Church in Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Michael W. Creighton
- Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

The Rev. David G. Dawson
- Executive Presbyter, Shenango Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Rev. Joe Detrick
- Church of the Brethren, Southern Pennsylvania District

The Rev. Guy S. Edmiston, Jr.
- Bishop in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Lower Susquehanna Synod

Rabbi Sanford H. Hahn
- Executive Director, Philadelphia Board of Rabbis

The Rev. Gary L. Harke
- Executive Director, Pennsylvania Council of Churches

His Eminence, Archbishop Herman
- Orthodox Church in America, Archdiocese of Eastern Pennsylvania

The Rev. Neil L. Irons
- Bishop in the United Methodist Church, Harrisburg Area

Friend Thomas Jeavons
- Religious Society of Friends, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting

The Rev. Dr. Thomas M. Johnston, Jr.
- Synod Executive, Synod of the Trinity, Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Rev. K. Joy Kaufmann
- Director for Public Advocacy, Pennsylvania Council of Churches

The Rev. A. Donald Main
- Bishop of the Upper Susquehanna Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Rev. Dr. David E. Meerse
- Pastoral Presbyter, Lake Erie Presbytery

The Rev. Charles E. Mock
- President, Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention, (Representing the National Baptist Convention of America, National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., and the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.)

The Rev. Susan M. Morrison
- Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Wyoming Conference

The Rev. Dr. Jack R. Rothenberger
- Schwenkfelder Church, General Conference

Ms. Jacqueline Rucker
- Executive Director, Christian Churches of the Tri-county Area

The Rev. Robert Shine
- Vice President of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia

The Rev. Dr. Ron Sider
- President of Evangelicals for Social Action

The Rev. Craig H. Smith
- Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District

The Rev. Peter D. Weaver
- Bishop of the United Methodist Church, Philadelphia Area

The Rev. Dr. Lyle Weible
- Conference Minister, United Church of Christ, Penn Central Conference

The Rev. Dr. Paul L. Westcoat, Jr.
- Conference Minister, United Church of Christ, Penn West Conference

The Rev. David L. Wickman
- Moravian Church, Eastern District

Rabbi Daniel Wiener
- Temple Ohev Sholom, Harrisburg

Fr. Gregory C. Wingenbach
- Greek Orthodox, Executive Director, Christian Associates of South Western Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)

The Rev. Randall L. Yoder
- Church of the Brethren, Middle Pennsylvania District

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Exhibit the campaign's Display Poster on a bulletin board.

- Position the printed poster stock above the poster stock with leaflet pockets with about a one inch overlap, and staple above the pockets (leaflets will hide the staples)

- Instructions to make a stand-up version are available from the regional coordinators.

Talk with the religious leadership of the congregation; ask for support and advice.

- Show them the PA Religious Leaders' Statement.

- Tell them about the support of their national leaders and staff. (Contact state coordinator Ed Dreby at 609/261-8190 or about your denomination's involvement with the campaign.)

- Ask to use "Global Climate Change: A Call to Action" as a bulletin insert for worship service.

Ask a committee of the congregation to endorse the campaign and work with you on its goals of education, energy stewardship, and public witness.

Arrange for opportunities to show the video "God's Creation and Global Warming" to groups in the congregation, and distribute"Energy Stewardship and Global Climate Change."

- A copy of "God's Creation and Global Warming" can be borrowed through the regional coordinators.


Meet with the individual or committee responsible for religious education about planning sessions or units on global warming and religious faith.

- Christian and Jewish study guides and other materials are available.

- Seasoned lay people are available to visit for an adult religious education class or other occasion.

- Resources can be provided for leading a class discussion.

Talk with the leader of the congregation about planning a worship service on the themes of earth stewardship and/or social justice as it relates to climate change.

- Use leaflets as bulletin inserts. Liturgies and sermon notes are available.

- Ask to have a special worship service for your denomination's Earth Day celebration. (Sunday, April 22 in many congregations.)

Meet with the social action committee

- Ask for an individual or ad-hoc group to work with the public witness activities of the campaign.

- Suggest a congregation-wide project of promoting the purchase of renewable electricity, reducing energy use in homes, and/or buying compact fluorescent lights in quantity for resale as a fund-raiser.

Meet with the property committee about energy stewardship

- Acquaint them with the Energy Stewardship Guide, other resources on energy conservation and buying renewable electricity, contact information for energy consultants, and web sites.

- Ask the committee to name a task force to investigate opportunities and make recommendations.


Contact your regional coordinator for ideas, encouragement, resources, and help with any difficulties you encounter.

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