MSUS Works Toward Becoming a Green Sanctuary
The MSUS Social Action Committee is initiating a Green Sanctuary committee, sponsored by the UU Ministry for Earth. The Green Sanctuary Program provides a path for congregational study and reflection and a call to individual and collective actions in response to environmental challenges. The Green Sanctuary program will include an ongoing committee represented by all aspects of congregational life: RE, Religious/Sunday services, Land & Facilities, Finance, and others. The committee's charter will declare the MSUS congregation's intention to seek recognition as a Green Sanctuary church.
Goals: The work of the Green Sanctuary Committee, in cooperation with the other committees and members of the congregation, will be to identify a comprehensive series of actions that meet the following goals:
- To build awareness of societal environmental issues among Unitarian Universalists.
- To generate commitment for personal lifestyle changes.
- To motivate Unitarian Universalists to community action on environmental issues.
- To build a connection between spiritual practice and environmental consciousness.
- To build awareness of and rectify environmental injustices.
- Upon completion of the action plan, we will be accredited as Green Sanctuary by the UUA.
The Steps to Becoming a Green Sanctuary Are:
- Establish a Green Sanctuary Program Committee
- Conduct an environmental assessment
- Create an action plan
- Apply for Green Sanctuary candidacy
- A Green Sanctuary Review Committee provides feedback
- Make appropriate modifications to your action plan
- Complete your action plan
- Apply for Green Sanctuary accreditation
- Receive recognition as a Green Sanctuary
- Re-accreditation process
The first activity will be to conduct an environmental audit to determine where the congregation stands with respect to environmental behaviors. This audit will establish the baseline for the program. During this audit, we will determine the following:
- Energy usage patterns, and current conservation practices;
- Compliance with local recycling procedures;
- Church policies for use of non-disposable materials and non-toxic cleaning supplies;
- Church policies governing purchasing and investing;
- Landscaping policies/practices directing the use of native species, landscape chemicals, etc.;
- Religious education programs relating to the environment for both children and adults;
- Worship practices integrating the wisdom of the Earth;
- Social action projects or activities relating to environmental justice.
Following the environmental audit, the Green Sanctuary Committee will develop an action plan to complete the activities chosen by the congregation. Part of the process is development of a communications strategy for sharing the information gained, and inviting each member to participate in the activities planned.
Once MSUS has developed the action plan, we can apply for Green Sanctuary Candidacy from the UUA. The next goal will be to complete the 12 activities chosen by the congregation. Generally, the planned activities take up to two years to complete, which is the goal for MSUS.
We invite everyone to participate in this exciting venture! Laures Young is the chair of the Green Sanctuary Committee. She is seeking out and inviting participants from all MSUS committees and others who are interested in this process to join this initiative. However, please don't wait for an invitation: contact Laures directly if you would like to be part of the planning process and/or the ongoing committee.
More information can be found at: