Reviewing the certification applications from Unitarian Universalist congregations around the country is truly an uplifting and inspirational way to spend time! As a busy graduate student, DRE and intern with the Green Sanctuaries program—with tons of reading to do, believe me when I say these applications are worth reading!
Here are some of the highlights off the top of my head:
First Unitarian Church of Cleveland in Shaker Heights, Ohio has installed a 72-plot community garden. They farm 10 plots for donation to the local food bank. Of the remaining 62 plots, about half are farmed by non-churched members so they’re doing great outreach to the community at the same time that they’re working for a greener planet.
Comal County Unitarian Universalist Society in New Braunfels, Texas has found new life through participating in the Green Sanctuaries program. The majority of their small, 73-member congregation is rallied around environmental issues and they are working to integrate sustainable living themes into every other element of their church life together. Not only that, but they are receiving a tremendous amount of positive press in the local newspaper as the result of their programs.
I’m excited about the things I’m seeing, and want to encourage other churches to join in so that you can receive the benefits of participating in this cutting edge program.
What are some potential benefits of pursuing Green Sanctuary certification?
- This project can potentially involve the following church committees: The worship committee, the religious education committee, the social justice and/or social action committee, the buildings and grounds committee, the membership committee, the hospitality committee
- There is a sense of common purpose that results when many different committees are working on a common theme.
- Members on more than one committee can create ways that their contributions serve each committee simultaneously, since the theme of each committee will be resonant around the issue of Green Sanctuaries.
- Members involved in community-wide sustainability issues will have the opportunity to benefit the church while doing activities they are already excited about.
- plenty of opportunity for good press coverage in the local newspaper which may boost the number of enthusiastic new members.
What other potential benefits can you think of? How can participating in the Green Sanctuaries program help your congregation promote all seven of our principles simultaneously?