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St. John's Garden Ministry Wins National Award and $1,500

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

St. John’s United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico one of Six National Winners of $1,500 in Interfaith Power and Light Cool Congregations Annual Award for Leadership and Sustainability

Interfaith Power and Light Announces, ‘Cool Congregations Challenge’ Winners as

Faith Communities Prioritize Energy Efficiency, Renewables, and Sustainability

OAKLAND, Calif., February 2022 — St. John’s United Methodist Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico is one of the six national Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) 2022 Cool Congregations Challenge winners. The annual contest accepts applications from religious congregations around the United States who are doing work to address global warming by reducing their carbon footprint as they create models of sustainability within their communities.

St. John’s United Methodist Church won the Sacred Grounds Steward award for their newly constructed food gardens that feed over 500 food-insecure adults and children each month, and for their educational outreach to their neighborhood. Inspired by the belief that gardening is “tending the soil, and tending the soul,” volunteers at St. John’s transformed the church property into a huge food garden with hoop houses and raised beds to feed the hungry through various food programs in their community. The fresh grown produce is prepared on-site for the meals sent outside the church, which eliminates fossil fuel emissions from buying produce that is trucked or flown in from all over the world. They also are reaching out to teach about gardening and healthy eating to their members and neighbors, including an elementary school across the street through projects in the garden.

“St. John’s is so honored to receive this award for our garden.  What started as a dusty, underutilized corner of our property has blossomed into a beautiful witness of how God’s creation works to support and sustain life and community if it’s paid just a little bit of attention.  We hope that others will see this and pay attention to the land and its potential in their communities as well,” said Rev. Dr. Randall W. Partin, Senior Pastor of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Albuquerque.

“St. John’s United Methodist Church and the other five national winning congregations are casting a vision for the kind of world in which they want to live, and then carrying out that vision with practical actions that make a real difference in creating lasting solutions to climate change,” said Rev. Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light.

The Cool Congregations Challenge shows that people of faith are united by concerns about climate change and are taking action – with or without support of government policies. The winners provide strong moral role models for their communities, and their activities have a ripple effect with people in their own homes.

Interfaith Power & Light is mobilizing a religious response to global warming in congregations through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

New Mexico Interfaith Power & Light is one of 40 affiliates of Interfaith Power & Light. For more information see their website at or contact 505-266-6966 Facebook and Twitter: @newmexicoipl

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