The congregation at Kern Road Mennonite Church in South Bend dedicates solar panels on its building last fall. Tribune File PhotoT
The congregation at Kern Road Mennonite Church in South Bend dedicates solar panels on its building last fall. Tribune File PhotoT
SOUTH BEND — What do a Catholic, a Muslim, a Mennonite, a Methodist and a Unitarian talk about when they get together?

Energy conservation, of course.

At least that’s topical for six South Bend congregations that are pursuing a reduction in their energy use by installing solar panels on their places of worship.

Those six — First United Methodist, Islamic Society of Michiana, Kern Road Mennonite, Olivet African Methodist Episcopal, St. Anthony de Padua and First Unitarian — join 21 other places of worship in Indiana that have received grants to install solar panels on the buildings where they worship.

Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light facilitated many of those grants. It’s the Indiana chapter of Interfaith Power and Light, an organization started in California by an Episcopal priest as a religious response to global warming, HIPL Executive Director Larry Kleiman said.

Kleiman, himself a minister, said despite the theological differences of the congregations involved, their missions regarding the environment and reduction in a reliance on fossil fuels are surprisingly similar.

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