The purpose of the Green Sanctuary Committee is to support the People’s Church community in our efforts to live in accord with our values. During long-range planning discussions, People’s people affirmed that we want our congregation to be “as green as possible.” We began our journey toward Green Sanctuary status during the ministry of the Rev. Jill McAllister and achieved certification in 2015. Our current minister, Rev. Rachel Lonberg, works closely with us as we continue and expand our efforts.
As Unitarian Universalists, we respect the interdependent web of all existence. We know that we are connected to everything that exists, from fruit flies and dandelions to distant galaxies. This connection is ecological, spiritual, and basic chemistry; the atoms of our bodies were forged in ancient stars. We are called to honor these connections by bringing more health, wholeness, and sustainability to the interdependent web. This ethic undergirds the efforts of many people at People’s Church. People’s people live their faith by making the sometimes difficult choices necessary to live in right relationship with one another, other humans, animals, plants, sky, and earth.
The Green Sanctuary Committee leads our church community in the work. They offer chances to learn and chances to act. They offer film series, Sunday services, and other programs about environmental issues. They are working to restore a native landscape on our church grounds to create hospitable spaces for animals and native plants. They have set the ambitious goal of a carbon neutral church building. They have explored insulation options and partnered with others to install solar panels. Throughout this process, they are sharing what they learn with all of us so we can make similar changes in our lives, our households and other institutions where we have influence.
—Rev. Rachel Lonberg
A Green Sanctuary is a congregation that:
- Has received official recognition for completing the Green Sanctuary Program.
- Lives out its commitment to the Earth by creating sustainable lifestyles for its members as individuals and as a faith community.
- Is committed towards creating a religious community that has a fundamental, bottom-line, commitment to living in harmony with the Earth.
The UUA Green Sanctuary program has four broad areas of activity: Worship (W), Religious Education (RE), Environmental Justice (EJ) and Sustainability (S). Some of our activities at People’s fall into more than one category. We decide what to do based on needs we see in the church, the community and the world at large and on the availability of people and resources to do the work. Many of the projects we’ve undertaken over the past few years are listed here, with the categories they address.
Please contact Connie Ferguson if you are interested in finding out more about the Green Sanctuary Committee.
Want to find out more about what you can do to live more sustainably? Check out these organizations and resources!
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Green Sanctuary Program – https://www.uua.org/environment/sanctuary
Kalamazoo Climate Crisis Coalition (KCCC) – Clearing house and coordination of local climate change activities – https://www.kalamazoocrisis.org/
Unitarian Universalist Ministry For Earth (UUMFE) – Empowering bold, accountable, faith-grounded action for environmental justice. – https://www.uumfe.org/
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – Global Climate Change: What You Need to Know; The lowdown on the earth’s central environmental threat. – https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-climate-change-what-you-need-know
Michigan Interfaith Power & Light (MIPL) – Offers practical ways to put faith into action by promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other sustainable practices that lead to a cleaner, healthier, and more just world. – https://www.miipl.org/
Cool Congregations – A unique stewardship program that helps congregations reduce the carbon footprint of their facilities and engages their members in reducing their carbon footprint at home. – https://www.coolcongregations.org/
Citizens Climate Lobby, Kalamazoo chapter – Non-partisan legislative initiative at the Federal level to reduce carbon emissions – https://citizensclimatelobby.org/chapters/MI_Kalamazoo/
Extinction Rebellion Kalamazoo – Active, non-violent protest movement – https://m.facebook.com/XRKzoo/
Sierra Club – Lobbying and political action organization – https://www.swmgsierra.org
Learn about the Green New Deal – https://www.sierraclub.org/trade/what-green-new-deal
Calculate your carbon footprint – https://www.coolcongregations.org/calculators/household-calculator/
People’s Church Green Sanctuary Committee – Help move your church community along the path to sustainability – we have ideas for action that are in need of a champion – no need to attend committee meetings!