Be The Spark Workshop Series


"Be the Spark" is a dynamic and experiential leadership development workshop series. The sessions are designed to build interfaith communities while giving participants premier organizing tools and strategic approaches for engaging their community of faith in climate change solutions. Participants learn how to invite the gifts and skills of those in their community to take action that inspires a sustained and creative effort in building a more just and sustainable world.  Read more about what alumni have to say about this powerful program here. 


We just concluded our winter session of Be the Spark, and will announce upcoming dates soon. MNIPL staff are always available to offer a tailored Be the Spark workshop experiences for your faith community. Contact [email protected] to learn more.  

Overview of Sessions:

Session 1: Climate conversations: In this session, we will explore story, pivotal questions, and active listening to engage in constructive and connecting conversations.  Modeled off the brilliance of the "Vote No" campaign, this will give participants tools for effectively engaging family members, friends, and strangers.   We will talk about the most recent research on Climate Psychology, about how to frame climate science, how to reach diverse audiences and how to build a powerful sense of connection.

Session 2: Strategic thinking and organizing in congregations: Featuring some of the most effective organizing tools and strategic thinking from Marshall Ganz, the New Organizing Institute, and Training For Change, this session will help participants plan their approach to taking action for climate justice.  We will offer a three-part framework for faith communities as they design action plans for engaging their community. We open this session to a larger audience.

Session 3:Convening the group: Whether you plan to host a movie discussion, facilitate a committee meeting at your church, offer a workshop, or teach Sunday School, this session will help you plan a dynamic and participatory learning experience. We learn best by seeing, saying, and most importantly by doing. In the overwhelming area of climate change, particularly, getting participants moving, thinking, talking, and creating is essential in empowering people to move forward.  You can take the skills learned in this session back to your community and help to unlock the their highest potential.

Session 4: Understanding and working with the complex psychology of facing climate change: Pulling from the work of Joanna Macy (Active Hope, The Work that Reconnects), Rasmussen (Earth-Honoring Faith), and Mary Pipher (The Green Boat) we will explore the mix of emotions, thoughts, and responses we have in the ongoing process of responding to climate change. We will learn how we can create a space for each other that will help us share, process, and move forward in striving to be the voices, bodies, and people of faith we are called to be. 


Julia Nerbonne - Ph.D is the Executive Director of Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MNIPL) and teaches Environmental Ethics and Sustainability Studies at the University of Minnesota. She has been organizing volunteer leaders to be powerful change-makers for over a decade.  

Erin Pratt - LPC is the program director at MNIPL where she designs, coordinates, and facilitates programming for MNIPL and individual faith communities. She is also a facilitator and Climate Organizing trainer for MN350, a Minnesota-based climate justice organization, and for, an international climate organization. Erin's training is as a therapist working with children, youth, and families in crisis, specializing in nature-based settings. Erin brings a relational-based approach to organizing that she finds effective when working with people in faith communities. 

Some individual sessions will also feature training from various leaders in the community. 

Questions: Contact Erin Pratt at (612) 716-3336 or email her at [email protected]