Energy Savings, Active Learning Networks, Leadership Training, Advocacy during 18-Month Initiative
URJ/RAC Contact: Max Rosenblum or Rachael Youra
202.387.2800 | firstname.lastname@example.org
GreenFaith Contact: Stacey Kennealy or Fletcher Harper
732-565-7740 | email@example.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. and HIGHLAND PARK, NJ, January 20, 2016 — Continuing a long history of collaboration, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and GreenFaith have announced a major joint initiative to promote energy savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, environmental leadership training, advocacy, and strengthened inter-congregational learning among Reform congregations nationwide. The collaboration will engage more Reform congregations than ever before in environmental work, and with greater environmental impact.
“Commitment to the conservation and preservation of our planet is at the core of our Movement’s social justice work, rooted in the biblical imperative to ‘till and tend’ our earth,” said Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “After the historic agreement in Paris last month, we are at a critical point for action to heal and sustain our environment. This partnership reflects our Movement’s prioritization of this work and we are excited to deepen an already meaningful and impactful relationship with GreenFaith.”
“We’re deeply grateful to have a partner like the Religious Action Center, with its powerful commitment to protecting our planet for future generations and its commitment to social justice,” said Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith’s Executive Director. “We believe that this kind of partnership represents a pathway to empower religious communities to reach their full potential as environmental leaders. By joining forces, we’ll accomplish much more than on our own.”
During the 18-month initiative, during which time the two groups are jointly supporting a partnership coordinator, GreenFaith and the Religious Action Center will engage Reform congregations by:
- Enrolling and mentoring 30 Union for Reform Judaism congregations in GreenFaith’s Energy Shield program, a program designed to help congregations and their members reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, save money, and protect the environment.
- Develop two new environmental Learning Circles, active, virtual networks supporting congregations interested in exploring and developing environmental justice programming.
- Identify leaders ages 21-35 to participate in GreenFaith’s upcoming multi-faith environmental convergence for emerging religious leaders, with participants committing to educating and engaging their congregations and communities in 2016. The partnership coordinator will also take part in planning for the convergence.
- Support the launch of Restoration Nation, a campaign designed to advocate for policies that will reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while also creating green jobs to lift unemployed and underemployed persons out of poverty.
- Engage Reform Movement leaders in GreenFaith Circles, newly-introduced local religious-environmental organizing hubs, which will empower spiritual leaders to create change in their congregations and communities and be part of an international, multi-faith Circle network.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.3 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.
GreenFaith was founded in 1992 as an inter-religious environmental organization whose mission is to equip, inspire and mobilize diverse religious communities for environmental leadership. GreenFaith offers a range of programs domestically and internationally in support of this mission, including programs of religious-environmental education, sustainable consumption within religious institutions, leadership development, activist campaigns, and more. Visit www.greenfaith.org for more.