Elisa Owen has been named the new executive director for Kentucky Interfaith Power & Light (KIPL) effective Aug. 2nd. Owen is currently the interim pastor at New Goshen Presbyterian in Oldham County.
Owen has been an ordained Presbyterian Church (USA) minister since 2007. Before graduating from seminary in 2005, she worked for seven years in Washington, DC on the economics of international electric energy regulation.
“There is nothing like working in energy to make one aware of how important the energy transition KIPL exists to promote is to our collective future,” said Owen.
Owen has served as an interim youth director in Louisville, solo pastor in Madison, Indiana and Lawrenceburg, KY, as well as interim pastor at Crescent Hill Presbyteria in Louisville and associate interim pastor at Christ Lutheran in Jeffersontown.
She received a master’s in international relations and economics from the Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies.
Owen also served as executive director of Breaking New Grounds, a Louisville non-profit. Centered on economic development through sustainable agriculture, Breaking New Grounds made compost from Heine Brothers' coffee grounds, spent whiskey grains and waste from Limbwalker Tree Service. The compost was used to grow greens to sell to local restaurants.
Between 2015 and 2019, Elisa worked to develop a vertically integrated kenaf business focused on sourcing plant based plastic and other industrial products from Kentucky farms.
“I don’t believe the God I know in Jesus wastes time, or works only through Christians,” said Owen. “You can tell by the intertwined pattern woven through the breadth of my experience, the way I’ve danced from electric energy to leadership of nonprofits and a for-profit business focused on sustainability to leadership of faith communities, that both faith’s meaning, making and sustainability are central to my sense of vocation.”
Owen said that the opportunity to travel after receiving her master’s broadened her interfaith perspective. While she comes from a Presbyterian background, Owen said “the
Spirit plays in and through many of the world’s religions, drawing human beings the world over toward the universal lights of faith, hope and love.”
“I am excited to work with all people of faith to help us become, as Presbyterians articulate it, ‘an exhibition of God’s Kingdom to the world.’ My understanding is that God’s ‘kindom’ would, by definition, ‘do no harm.’ For us to model it then, we would need to model the energy transformation needed to make our planet environmentally sustainable. I look forward to working with [everyone] to figure out how people of faith can all take positive steps toward the transition to renewable energy sources.”
The KIPL board and staff are looking forward to welcoming Owen as the third executive director since KIPL’s creation in 2007.
“Kentucky IPL is looking forward to working with Elisa to grow KIPL’s ability to advocate for federal, state, and local policy changes that support conservation, efficiency, and alternative energy while also working with faith communities throughout the state to care for God’s creation,” said a KIPL representative.
Owen is married to James Peterworth, a local realtor. Owen has two daughters, 12 and 9, named Zoe and Cate.