Letter for Faith Leaders

We address you as diverse New Mexico faith leaders who stand with Pope Francis.

We are answering the call of Pope Francis to care and act for the common good of all creation and the future generations.

The call was issued even before Laudato Si, the encyclical that has now lit up the world stage.  It is a single sentence in the April 28, 2015 Declaration of the Religious Leaders, Political Leaders led by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Business Leaders, Scientists and Development Practitioners called to the Vatican in anticipation of the December climate negotiations in Paris.  Facing the essential economic and cultural revolution that climate change requires, the Declaration says: “In this core moral space, the world’s religions play a very vital role.”

Click to download the entire letter: letter for NM faith leaders to sign

Press Release: Interfaith Leaders Sign Letter of support for Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si

Press Release: Interfaith Leaders Sign Letter of support for Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si

Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Contacts: Sr. Joan Brown, osf, Executive Director NM Interfaith Power and Light

 c-505-264-9966, joan@nm-ipl.org

Rev. Donna McNiel, Executive Director NM Conference of Churches

c-505-238-5534, nmccdirector@gmail.com

 A letter supporting the Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si that is signed by some 100 New Mexican Interfaith Religious Leaders was released  Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light and the New Mexico Conference of Churches.

The letter was presented at a press conference attended by multi-faith leaders including Rev. Dr. Donna McNiel, New Mexico Conference of Churches; Allen Sanchez, Catholic Conference of Bishops; Sr. Joan Brown,osf, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light; Necip Orhan, New Mexico Representative, Dialogue Institute of the Southwest; Rabbi Min Kantorwitz, Jewish Leader; Msgr. J. Voorhies, Ecumenical Ministry;  and Donna Illerbrun, Principal of St. Therese School.

In part the letter reads: “As the undersigned faith leaders we work with our religious communities and our civic leaders to understand the meaning of Laudato Si/ Praised Be!…As faith leaders we support the Clean Power Plan and initiatives like the Green Climate Fund which will assist brothers and sisters suffering most from the effects  of climate change.”

Sr. Brown, Executive Director of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light said “Support and enthusiasm for Pope Francis’ call to address environmental degradation, climate change and related realities of economic disparity and poverty are palpable across New Mexico. People are feeling impelled to new actions small and large.”

Executive Director of the New Mexico Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishop’s, Allen Sanchez noted, “Our Holy Father Pope Francis is calling us to make part of our spirituality a value for God’s creation. Spirituality is the deliberate discernment of ethical values that are concretized into attitudes that govern our actions. This value of stewardship is not just Catholic but can be universal for all members of our common home, Sister Mother Earth.  We can began this journey together by entering a conversation about values which embraces stewardship of earth.  These discussions should include the situation of the poor and the resources gifted to all on earth.”

“Pope Francis reminds us all, Christians, people of faith, human beings on the planet, of our central purpose.” Dr. McNiel stated, “We have been made to be care takers – of one another, and of the planet – not consumers. This reminder could not come at a more timely moment.”

Signatures will continue to be gathered on the Interfaith Leader Letter.  The letter will be shared with civic leaders in the state along with an invitation to read the encyclical and consider the moral and ethical teachings as decisions affecting the common good, water, air, climate, land and communities are made within the state.

Important invitation to support papal encyclical!

Blessings this day,
We are so excited about the Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home that was released on June 18.  New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light is inviting all faith leaders (Ministers, Priests, Sisters, Rabbis, Deacons, Religious Educators, Imams, Buddhist teachers, Monks, etc.) to sign onto the attached letter supporting the encyclical.  The letter will be unveiled at an Interfaith Press Conference in Albuquerque on the morning of July 14.  The letter with as many signatures as possible will be given along with information about the encyclical to some of our civic leaders.

You may send the information below to joankansas@swcp.com and we will add all of the names to the letter.
Title and faith tradition:

It is so important to support this amazing document meant for all people on the planet and your name in support means so much.  Also, please pass this note and the letter along to others that you know so that we might have a large voice of support in New Mexico.

Thank you again,
All peace and good,
Sr. Joan Brown,osfletter for NM faith leaders to sign

Blessings Friends of New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light (NMIPL)

This is an amazing moment.  Next week, Thursday, June 18, 2015,  the Papal Encyclical, Laudate Sii, or Praised Be: On the Care of the Common Home will be released. Taken from the Canticle of Creation by St. Franics of Assisi, the document will be offered to the world in numerous languages. As a Franciscan, I believe the title alone is significant, because in the Canticle St. Francis speaks of our kinship and responsibility to all, referring to everything as brother and sister.

An important teaching document about ecology and Creation, Praised Be is  expected to address climate change as “one symptom of an unsustainable consumption and wasteful use of resources.” (The document is called

an encyclical, which is a formal letter issued by a pope to the Catholic Church concerning moral, doctrinal and disciplinary matters.It is a teaching document for bishops and Catholics everywhere.)

Pope Francis is creating a beautiful opportunity; while meant for Catholics particularly, his instruction also opens space for all of us to reflect on climate justice, our values, and the teachings of our faiths in caring for all creation and brothers and sisters, especially those most vulnerable because of poverty and the children.

-Praised Be is important because it is directed to the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. 

— People of all faiths want to collaborate with Catholics who care about creation and are concerned about climate change.  

— Praised Be is coming out six months before the international climate negotiations in Paris at the end of November and the beginning of December and before the Papal visit to the United States in September. 


Praised Be will expand on Biblical teaching, and build on work done by Pope Francis’ predecessors.

Over the next months, NMIPL will be celebrating and referring to the encyclical utilizing the encyclical with the IPL theme Many Faiths, One Earth. We Stand with Pope Francis on Climate Change as we work on the concerns around New Mexico and beyond. Much is happening and you are invited to be part of this collective work as we walk forward in active hope.

Here are some things you can do.


**After the encyclical is released, read the actual text or an in-depth summary from a faith source.  The encyclical will be posted at the Vatican’s website in several languages. The Catholic Climate Covenant, the  Franciscan Action Network, and the  National Catholic Reporter are all good sources for Catholic reflection and direction in light of the teachings.

  1. You might write a piece for your congregation’s newsletter, for a regional faith newsletter, for our NMIPL blog, or as a Letter to the Editor  or an OpEd for your local paper.   We’ll help!
  2. Invite your legislator to read the encyclical.
  3. Attend one of the NMIPL informative events coming up in the next mont
  4. Pope Francis’ Environmental Encyclical and Why it is Important

    Tues, July 7th
    11:30 am – 1:00 pm
    First Presbyterian Church, 215 Locust St., NE, Abq

    Join us for lunch and a presentation on Laudate Sii, or Praised Be:On the Care of the Common Home. Sponsored by NMCC &NM Interfaith Power & Light. The panel, which will offer and overview and various aspects to consider includes: Msgr. Richard Alona, longtime advocate for ecumenism and justice concerns, Sr. Joan Brown, osf, Executive Director of NM Interfaith Power and Light and Larry Rasmussen, noted author and lecturer on Earth Ethics.  RSVP needed for lunch to Sr. Joan Brown at joan@nm-ipl.org Everyone is invited and the event is free with donations accepted.

* Check out Interfaith Power & Light’s preview (and download a social media photo for later sharing) #AllAreCalled
* Read a talk by Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, that is widely seen as a preview of content of the encyclical.

Introduction of Pope Francis’ Environmental Encyclical and Why it is Important
Tues, July 7th
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
First Presbyterian Church, 215 Locust St., NE, Abq
Join us for lunch and a presentation on Laudate Sii, or Praised Be:On the Care of the Common Home. Sponsored by NMCC &NM Interfaith Power & Light. The panel, which will offer and overview and various aspects to consider includes: Msgr. Richard Alona, longtime advocate for ecumenism and justice concerns, Sr. Joan Brown, osf, Executive Director of NM Interfaith Power and Light and Larry Rasmussen, noted author and lecturer on Earth Ethics.   RSVP needed for lunch to Sr. Joan Brown at joan@nm-ipl.org. Everyone is invited and the event is free with donations accepted.Let us continue to joyfully work and walk in hope.

Joan Brown,osf

Executive Director, NMIPL

Take the Paris Pledge

What is the Paris Pledge?

Clearly the pope’s encyclical is timed to coincide with the 2015 UN Climate Talks in Paris later this year. As people of faith, Interfaith Power & Light communities from across the United States will bring to the table examples of what is possible by taking the Paris Pledge. Signers will strive for a 50% carbon emission reduction by 2030 and will set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. Interfaith Power & Light would like to see global nations commit to these levels. Therefore as a community, we must practice what we preach. IPL’s Rev. Sally Bingham hopes to hand-deliver the list to UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon in Paris. He has called on government and civil society leaders to bring bold initiatives and proposals to drastically lower climate emissions, saying, “I challenge you to bring to the Summit bold pledges. Innovate, scale up, cooperate, and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap and put us on track for an ambitious legal agreement.” The Paris Pledge was announced by IPL’s Rev. Bingham in response to this challenge on Earth Day 2015. Take the Pledge today!

Congregations — Take the Paris Pledge

IndividualsTake the Paris Pledge

Pope Francis and Upcoming Encyclical

Pope FrancisEncyclical Release Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015
Title of Encyclical: “Praised Be: On the Care of Our Common Home.”
IPL Twitter Hashtag: #AllAreCalled 





For all the details and media information click here: http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/resources/pope-francis-encyclical-preview-and-resources/

What is a papal encyclical?

Encyclicals are formal letters issued by a pope to the universal Catholic Church—its bishops and Catholics everywhere—concerning moral, doctrinal and disciplinary matters. The Pope is one of the most popular public figures in the world, both in and outside of the Church. Regardless of their religious beliefs, people around the world will admire Pope Francis, and his leadership can create an atmosphere where world leaders will act on climate change in Paris in December of 2015 at the UN climate negotiations.

What are the anticipated key messages?

According to the Catholic News Service, Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said the encyclical will likely highlight climate change as “a moral issue,” pointing out that the poor suffer the most from consequences of improper care of the environment even though “they have contributed the least to climate change.” He said the pope would not be speaking as a scientist or a politician but as a shepherd and that the bishops, who “aren’t novices” on care for the environment, cannot “opt out” of this conversation. Pope Francis will challenge the assumptions of “both the left and the right” with the document, said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. The Pope calls this approach to stewardship integral ecology. Read more

Rally for Ratepayer Justice @ PNM’s Shareholder Meeting

Your moral voice of faith, justice and conscience are needed Tuesday, May 12, 8:30-9:30 am.  Bring a sign that says something like: People of faith concerned about climate justice;  We need More SOL and SOUL not Coal; What we do today affects the children; Christian (Buddhist, Jew, etc) for rate payer justice,  etc.

Get your minister, rabbi, or deacon to attend and anyone you know.  For questions contact Sr. Joan, info@nm-ipl.org.

You do make a difference.  Thank you.



Hope for bipartisan action on energy

Hope for bipartisan action on energy

Hold onto your hats, there just may be bipartisan legislation on the horizon. And who would have guessed that after the hyper-partisan Keystone XL showdown, the topic to come together on would be of all things, energy?
First, in the wee hours of March 27, after the contentious budget resolution was passed at 3 a.m., Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) appeared on a nearly empty Senate floor and quietly passed a stripped down version of their energy efficiency bill with a unanimous vote of two. Not exactly a conventional process, but it did succeed in moving forward a bill that has been stalled for years – albeit a “mini” version that focuses on improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings and government agencies.

Now, another bipartisan energy efficiency bill is garnering support from both sides of the aisle. In fact the very senator who sponsored the bill to approve the Keystone pipeline, John Hoeven (R-N.D.), has introduced the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act (S 600) of 2015. Along with lead co-sponsor Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the bill already has four co-sponsors from both parties.
The Energy Efficiency for Nonprofits Act would set up a pilot program to help nonprofit organizations retrofit buildings in order to save energy. This funding is crucial because it will allow congregations and other nonprofits, which are not eligible for tax credits, to get past the hurdle of up-front costs for renovation. Grants could cover up to 50 perrcent of energy efficiency improvement projects — up to $200,000.

Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) and Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) plan to introduce a companion measure in the House. Despite the notorious partisan rancor of that chamber, energy efficiency that will benefit nonprofits and religious institutions may be able to bring both sides together to help nonprofits serving the public to save energy and save money.

Funding for energy efficiency will enable America’s hospitals, youth centers, YMCA’s, museums, and houses of worship to cut operating costs and contribute to America’s energy independence while curbing pollution and creating jobs.

Thousands of Interfaith Power & Light congregations across the United States have already made strides toward energy efficiency as they endeavor to care for creation. The Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act would allow congregations with fewer resources to implement cost efficient and environmentally friendly energy efficiency improvements.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for 39 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. Energy efficient houses of worship can be models for their local communities. With the help of the Nonprofit Energy Efficiency Act, congregations will have access to technological advances that decrease pollution and increase cost-savings.

Perhaps energy efficiency is the unexpected but common sense issue that members of Congress will find common ground on this year. As the cherry blossoms begin to open and our thoughts turn to regeneration and renewal this Easter season, let’s hope seeds of cooperation on behalf of the greater good are also sprouting in Washington.

Stephenson is executive director of Interfaith Power & Light, a national organization with 40 state affiliates working with 15,000 congregations of all faiths to use energy efficiently and address climate change.

Some Great News

Blessings these Holy Days!
Just as the Earth is blooming and bees are busy…so are many people of faith earth and hands

working to care for our sacred creation.  Thank you for all you do!!!

Peace and good,
Joan and all at NMPL
Albuquerque City Council Withdraws from PNM Stipulation Agreement
Monday, April 6 at the regular City Council Meeting, the Council voted 6-3 in support of Resolution R-15-177 opposing PNM San Juan Stipulation and forwards the resolution to the Public Regulatory Commission as they make a decision about the San Juan Replacement Plan.  THANK YOU to everyone who has made phone calls, statements regarding this major energy decision. See recent faith op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal.
Renewal of Solar Tax Credit Passes NM Congressional Session….But
Governor Susanna Martinez has until Friday to sign this bill.  Your call to her office today is important to move forward solar energy in our state. Ask her to sign the Solar Tax Credit Bill
Governor’s Office 505-476-2200.

Don’t Miss the Transition Albuquerque Transition Training
Friday-Saturday,  April 10-11, 2015
First Unitarian Church,  3701 Carlisle NE
Registration is $180, but scholarships are available, contact  505-926-3689.
Looking for Resources and Actions for Earth Day celebrations?
Check out the Preach In Kits that are free to download and also our website www.nm-ipl.org
for liturgy ideas. Consider taking the Paris Pledge as an individual or as a congregation for part of your Earth Sunday orSabbath celebration.

Time to Sign up for Wild GRACE retreat for young people and adult mentors.
June 4-7, 4:00–noon
Ghost Ranch Abiqui

Check out this wonderful opportunity at Ghost Ranch.  An amazing experience for young people and their parents, aunts, uncles, mentors, teachers.  See flyer for details.

  Call 505-266-6966 for information. Some scholarships available.

Volunteers welcomed

NMIPL can always use volunteers.

Some areas to consider are: contact for your faith community, committee to plan annual meeting, tabling at events, phone calling, mailings, public policy advocacy,  board member and more.  Contact Joan if you have a desire to put faith into action for caring for creation and community.


New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light | 505-266-6966 | joankansas@swcp.com | http://www.nm-ipl.org
PO Box 27162
Albuquerque, NM 87125-7162