Joan Lund, February, 2011
firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-931-9727
Recently I received an email from the Program manager of our UUA Congregational Stewardship Services Program alerting me to the Green Sanctuary blog posting which featured our Odessa, Florida Spirit of Life Unitarian Universalists, who rather than adding on to their building or embarking on new construction, are repairing and finding ways to better maintain their existing structure . The Green Sanctuary Program (GSP) was originally nurtured and managed by the UU Ministry for Earth and designed to envision and create a world in which all humans care with gratitude our Earth. Originally the GSP was an outgrowth of the Seventh Principle Project, a UUA affiliate environmental organization created in 1989.
The GSP provides framework for congregations to begin specific projects and activities that lead to recognition as a GS through candidacy and then accreditation. The GSP asks congregations to explore what it means to live today on our earth within a religious community and it’s a way for all UUs to join our efforts in becoming stewards of our earth. Once a congregation has received recognition for completing the GSP it continues its commitment by creating sustainable lifestyles for its members as individuals and as a faith community. The congregation continues to be committed towards creating their religious community’s dedication to harmony with the earth. As of last December there were 148 accredited Green Sanctuary congregations, which included eight Florida congregations.
The GSP provides a path for congregational study, reflection, and action in response to environmental challenges. The building blocks and focus area of the GSP include worship and celebration, religious education, environmental justice, and sustainable living. When a congregation decides to become a participant in GSP and has completed the initial self-assessment, they examine their current practices in each of the focus areas. In addition to these areas of focus or goals congregations may choose to set one or more of their own goals which reflect their particular specific interest or issue. Participating in the GSP can be an exciting and rewarding process for a congregation and a well-thought-out environmental program can strengthen and bring the congregation together is various ways including attracting new members a congregation, As the congregation the impact of the collective imprint on our earth will be lessened.
Information about the GSP can be found on our UUA website (uua.org) and linking to Green Sanctuary, where you will also be able to look at the Green Sanctuary Manual. In the Manual many success stories can be found as well as the steps to getting started, conducting an environmental assessment, creating an action plan, becoming a candidate, and achieving and maintaining accreditation.
As always I look forward to hearing from you and wish all Florida UUs a happy Valentine’s day.