Climate change is a highly polarizing issue.
For many members of religious groups and people of faith, the issue also has moral and spiritual dimensions.
Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, a multi-faith environmental activist organization, will host the third annual Ice Cream Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Houserville United Methodist Church, 1320 Houserville Road, State College.
Participants will weatherize windows for the church from 1 to 3 p.m. and enjoy free ice cream from 3 to 4 p.m.
Representatives of Creation Care Coalition of Centre County, an affiliate of PA IPL, will discuss the organizations activities.
In addition, attendees will learn about the visit of the Rev. Fletcher Harper to Penn State on Sept. 8-9. Harper is the founder of Green- Faith, another faith-based environmental organization that is based in New Jersey.
PA IPL is the Pennsylvania affiliate of Interfaith Power & Light, a national religious response to the threat of climate change, according to its website.
The group is a community of congregations, faith-based organizations, and individuals of faith responding to climate change as a moral issue, through advocacy, energy conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of clean, renewable energy.
In State College, a group of individuals meets informally to discuss climate issues and help members of the community conserve energy.
Our emphasis is asking people of faith to think about the moral and ethical implications of their energy use, said Sylvia Neely, of State College, president of PA IPL.
In addition to disrupting ecosystems, Neely said, global warming has ripple effects in the economy.
Ultimately, everyone will have to change their way of life because of climate change, she said.
Members of PA IPL encourage people to make moderate lifestyle changes, help local groups identify ways to save money while conserving energy, and help to weatherize local churches and residents homes.
In addition, Neely said, the group works with Interfaith Human Services, a local nonprofit organization composed of 25 faith communities that provides an array of services, including emergency assistance for rent and mortgage costs; help with small home repairs; and assistance with paying fuel and utility bills.
Attendees at the Ice Cream Sunday will receive instruction in building the windows, Neely said, which she described as simple windows that can be installed from the inside.
People are also welcome to just come for the ice cream, she added.
Neely, a retired professor of history at Penn State, said Interfaith Power & Light emphasizes religious diversity, and the Pennsylvania chapter is required to have three different faith traditions represented on its board of directors.
The states board includes members of the Christian, Jewish and Bahai communities.
All religions tell us to have a reverence for Gods creation, she said.
For more information about Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, visit http://paipl.org/ index.htm. People who are interested in getting involved at the local level can contact Neely at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Koons writes this weekly column featuring news from the Centre Region. Contact her at 235-3927 or email@example.com.