Advancing Clean Energy

Faith leader to business: “Don’t be satisfied with political correctness”

June 28, 2018

“Political correctness is a surefire way to stop the true transformation that you have the potential to achieve if you look holistically at the positive impact that clean energy systems and greater environmental consciousness can have on communities and the neighborhoods you serve.”

This was the challenge – and opportunity – presented by Rev. Booker Steve Vance, policy director at Faith in Place, to an audience of 500 on a recent night at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton. Rev. Vance was the keynote speaker at a celebration of local businesses owned and led by women and people of color that was hosted by ComEd.

The energy company’s third-annual diverse partner celebration focused on the theme of “Transformation.” It was a fitting backdrop for an event dedicated to recognizing the work of modernizing the electric system serving northern Illinois to benefit customers and communities in the region.

“I’m impressed with ComEd’s efforts to connect with and to build stronger communities, but we can always do better, we must do better and we have to do better because too many communities in our area need help,” Rev. Vance said.

Vance’s organization, Faith in Place, began in 1999 as a project of the Center for Neighborhood Technology with the goal of gathering religious leaders in the Chicago region in dialogue, prayer, and action on issues of environmental sustainability. Since then, the nonprofit organization has worked with over 1,000 houses of worship throughout Illinois to create healthier communities through energy conservation and sustainability.

Vance joined Faith in Place in 2015 to focus on communicating a vision for environmental justice for all communities by affecting change at the policy level. He worked in support of the Future Energy Jobs Act that was passed in 2016, which creates new renewable energy and energy savings options and provides training for the diverse energy workforce of the future.  Originally from Houston, Vance served as pastor of St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on the South Side of Chicago for over 27 years.


Watch the video of Rev. Vance’s address above.