UUCF is an accredited Green Sanctuary Congregation as designated in 2009 by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and UU Ministry for the Earth. What does that mean and how did we accomplish this certification?
The UUA Green Sanctuary Program gives congregations actionable guidelines for integrating their environmental consciousness into their faith communities. Successful completion of a series of actions brings a congregation recognition as a Green Sanctuary. The program has four focus areas:
- Environmental justice. Acknowledging that marginalized communities are often hit first and hardest by environmental crisis. In partnering with these communities we are able to address human and environmental needs at the same time. Environmental Justice emphasizes a shift from providing charity to working in solidarity with the communities most affected by climate change.
- Worship and celebration is the heart of Unitarian Universalism. As we work together toward a cleaner, more just and sustainable world, worship enables us to stay connected to each other and to celebrate the work we have accomplished.
- Religious education shapes more than just minds. It shapes attitudes and practices.
- Sustainable living requires us to treat the world more gently by using fewer resources and being mindful of the choices we make.
To be certified, congregations undertake ‘projects’ in the areas list above. The projects undertaken for this program include not only what happens at UUCF, but also what we do in our homes and in the community.
In 2007 UUCF members voted to pursue Green Sanctuary certification and the UUCF Green Sanctuary Group (GSG) was formed. Since then, the GSG (in partnership with other congregational entities including the Property Stewardship Council and Adult Programs) has worked on a variety of projects including: “green” worship services and vespers programs; numerous environmental adult programs; the web-of-life religious exploration program; the farmers market; the New Orleans rebuilding trip; and the “green” renovations to our Sanctuary building. Our application recounting these and other accomplishments was 20 pages long!