This morning on Bioneers, Episcopal Reverends Fletcher Harper and Sally Bingham, and Baptist Church Administrator G.L. Hodge preach the gospel of Creation Care – the “oneness of all life” philosophy being embraced by progressive faith communities everywhere.
Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest, is Executive Director of GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition. An award-winning spiritual writer and nationally-recognized preacher on the environment, he has developed a range of innovative programs to make GreenFaith a leader in the fast-growing religious-environmental movement. A graduate of Princeton University and Union Theological Seminary, Harper served as a parish priest for ten years and in leadership positions in the Episcopal Church prior to joining GreenFaith.
Founded in 1992, GreenFaith is a leading interfaith coalition for the environment. GreenFaith inspires, educates and mobilizes people of diverse religious backgrounds as environmental leaders. Through religious-environmental education programs, by greening the operation of religious institutions and the homes of its members, and through legislative advocacy and values-based environmental activism, GreenFaith helps religious institutions and people of all faiths put their belief into action for the earth.
Since launching the Interfaith Power and Light Campaign in 2000, Rev. Sally Bingham has organized 15,000 churches, synagogues and mosques into a formidable national network of faith communities who see climate change not as a policy or technical challenge, but as an issue of spiritual dimension. “In this country, we’ve never had the kind of cultural and social change climate change requires without religious involvement,” says Bingham. “Anti-slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights – all of these movements succeeded because of their moral foundation.” IPL started like most environmental networks and institutions: small and local. Bingham began with 60 California episcopal churches that agreed to purchase a portion of their energy from the renewable energy provider Green Mountain. The group’s ranks multiplied fast. But in 2001, rising wholesale costs sabotaged California’s fledging renewable market. “That’s when I realized we had to get involved at the policy level,” she says. IPL joined the fight for a California energy standard requiring utilities to derive a fifth of their energy from renewables by 2017. The bill passed in 2002 and has since been expanded twice, now mandating a third of the state’s energy to come from renewables by 2020. Bingham, meanwhile, has taken her policy work to Washington. Each spring, she leads a delegation of 80 IPL state leaders to Capitol Hill for meetings with Congressional delegations. “We’re trying to maintain a unique voice based in theology so we can have more Republicans within our community,” she says. The strategy appears to be working. “We’re starting to get some traction in red states like Oklahoma, Minnesota, Arkansas, Kansas,” she says. “Eyes are opening in faith communities across the political spectrum that climate change is about values and a duty to protecting God’s creation.”
G. L. Hodge serves as the church administrator of Providence Baptist Church of San Francisco California. He has an extensive background in retail management working for both Kmart and Office Depot. In the 1990’s, Hodge opened the Compton, California Kmart store, where he interviewed over 700 community members, and hired 70. Soon after its’ grand opening, the Rodney King verdict was rendered and produced severe civil unrest throughout the immediate area. Hodge’s hiring within the community, character selection, training, and people management skills, provided the security, the personnel, the hope, pride and the courage, the store needed to operate during the crisis. This deliberate act of mitigating the disaster by maintaining store operations, promoting a sense of normalcy, and being a consistent resource of goods and services to the community before, during and after crisis, was successfully achieved. Under the management of G. L. Hodge the fully operational Compton Kmart, became the National Guard’s Compton Command Headquarters 48 hours after the verdict.
G.L. serves on the Boards of The San Francisco Foundation FAITHS Program, The San Francisco Interfaith Council, The United Way FEMA, and the A Philip Randolph Institute Board. G.L. was a BRMA Community Member between10/23/10-10/23/11. Today, Hodge consults with non-profits on facilities capabilities, disaster preparedness, as they fulfill the needs of the surrounding community and neighbors.