St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, in Indianapolis, Indiana, won the Electric Vehicle Leader award for their work to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles to reduce pollution that causes climate change and care for Creation. They hosted an EV demo day that drew hundreds of visitors and were selected by the city of Indianapolis to host their next EV demo day.
“We at St. Luke’s UMC are very appreciative of the Cool Congregations Challenge award. The 2022 EV Showcase is just one of many ways in which our church’s Creation Care Ministry is promoting positive action among our congregation and our community to combat climate change and achieve climate justice,” said Betty Brandt, Director of St. Luke’s Community for Contemplation and Justice.
Read their story in the words of a church member, Audrey Detrick:
“St. Luke’s hosted two EV “Showcases” in 2022. The first event, held May 22nd, was organized by St. Luke’s Creation Care Ministry as part of “Creation Care Sunday.” We invited congregants and experts from MOTOR (the EV leasing arm of AES Indiana–our local electric utility) to display and demonstrate six different EV’s. This highly interactive event was held after our Sunday services that day. Approximately 100 church members and their kids stayed to learn about EVs and their positive environmental impact.
We had two tents with music and information, including handouts and a poster highlighting the features and benefits of EV ownership. An additional, highly researched EV FAQ document was posted on our church website so anyone can learn more at their leisure: Electric Car Frequently Asked Questions.
Our May 22nd event was such a “hit” that the City of Indianapolis’ Office of Sustainability selected St. Luke’s to host their city-wide EV Showcase held on October 22nd, 2022.
The City also partnered with MOTOR to showcase approximately 15 traditional EVs (all makes and models), in addition to Ford’s commercial heavy-duty EV van and 3 electric bikes. These 200 attendees also had an opportunity to test-drive vehicles at that time.
Based on the great turnout and positive results, the City of Indianapolis has decided to host EV Showcases in 2023 and 2024. St. Luke’s hopes to be the host site again for these purposeful community events!
St. Luke’s has historically been a community and church leader on many issues commonly described as “progressive.” Our inaugural EV showcase (for church members) spurred a great interest in a more sustainable and, ultimately, affordable lifestyle.
Approximately 300 attendees of both the May and October city-wide EV Showcases were thrilled to learn that there were EV options available in their price range! While we do not know how many of these people have since switched to, or now support, EVs, the consensus was that most were excited about the possibility of becoming an EV owner.
We’ve also had an additional 227 unique individuals view the “Electric Car Frequently Asked Questions” blog on our website! This guide contains all the latest facts and figures regarding EVs.
The following church departments were involved in the planning and execution of the 2022 EV events: Justice/Creation Care, Communications, Marketing, Facilities, Security, Worship, & Administration.
As part of its Justice ministry, St. Luke’s advocates that people of all races, nationalities, and socioeconomic groups have access to a healthy, livable environment. Through engaging and experiential opportunities, such as vegan meals and EV showcases, we want to support and encourage sustainable, planet-friendly lifestyles. By showcasing a wide range of EV options, and addressing any potential barriers through education, we hope our congregation and the wider community of Indianapolis will be more likely to consider switching to EVs in the future.
We are inspired by our love for and wonder of God’s creation.”
IPL congratulates St. Luke’s for pioneering outreach that convinced the city to expand its EV education efforts.