In a significant movement forward for faith/climate action, CIPL member, Faith Baptist Church in Oakland celebrated its status as a Resiliency Hub! November 13’s celebration included a service full of music and inspirational preaching, food and local clergy and elected leaders. Pastor Curtis Robinson proclaimed the event as “a sign of hope” for the community and the climate.
The transition to Resiliency Hub took many years of collaboration, with clean energy experts supporting Pastor Robinson’s dream of the church being a sanctuary in times of wildfires and extreme heat. A grant from the EPA for battery back-up to the solar system enables the church to keep the lights and HVAC working in case of blackouts.
Pastor Curtis Robinson of Faith Baptist Church and CIPL Executive Director Susan Stephenson were featured in stories highlighting their many years of collaboration transitioning the East Oakland congregation into the City’s FIRST Climate Resilience Hub! The celebration was covered on the local Bay Area CBS news station and on the Bay Area NPR affiliate, KQED. And the project received GreenBuild’s Legacy Project Award.
“Imagine if all churches and congregations that are already gathering places in our neighborhood could become resiliency hubs,” David Johnson, a partner architect, said. “There will be times of blackout, and so those people that need some security, safety…will be able to come here.”
The transition to become Resiliency Hubs is a natural step for houses of worship, which are seen as safety zones for community members. And congregational facilities have been switching to energy-efficiency and renewable energy measures for decades. A recent IPL survey identified (at least) 2,000 congregations nationwide, with 300 in California. That means there are more Resiliency Hubs to come.
Oakland City Council Member Dan Kalb said climate change has become commonplace and every community needs permanently established refuge centers for times when the power goes out. “We have to make sure that we have places in the city of Oakland, in the East Bay, in the Bay Area, throughout the entire state, that can adapt and be ready to help people when those things happen,” Kalb said.
Congratulations to Faith Baptist Church! This is a huge win for the environmental justice movement, and faith communities across the country.