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Green Sanctuary

Our Mission

To inspire, educate, celebrate, and advocate a vision of a healthier, more sustainable future.  At the heart of our mission is the Unitarian Universalist seventh Principle:

     Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

As UU’s we are a strong faith community with a history and commitment to justice.  This is best captured in our Unitarian Universalist second principle: 

     Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.

This means that our care for the Earth and all life is a core element of building true justice.  We use the phrase “climate justice” because it includes the human environment with the natural environment.  In other words, both people and Polar bears count!

What is meant by “Green Sanctuary?” We don’t work alone as one congregation working toward our vision of a healthier, more sustainable future. We are joined through the UUA Green Sanctuary program with thousands of other Unitarian Universalists in congregations across the country, where we learn, share, and support one another. To become an “official” UUA-certified Green Sanctuary

the Green Team led, and continues to implement, a four-part program that focuses on four key areas: Worship and Celebration; Religious Education; Sustainable Lifestyle, and Environmental Justice. The green chalice within a green circle is the formal recognition by the UUA of this work.

What are examples of our work?

  • Worship and Celebration: We are inspired by sermons from the pulpit, especially the Earth Day sermon given in April, to give us spiritual grounding. We celebrate by sharing seeds of hope--Sunflower and Milkweed seeds, for instance, as reminders to provide habitat for other species such as the Monarch butterfly.
  • Religious Education: We aim to educate our young people about ways to walk lighter on the Earth. We have found that our young people are way ahead of us in their awakening about what is needed to care for our common home.
  • Sustainable Lifestyle: We provide weekly Green Tips, and monthly workshops on such areas as simplicity, ethical eating, recycling, composting, zero waste, healthy food, urban gardening, water conservation, food security in the midst of climate disruption as ways to draw awareness to the simple steps each one of us can take to do our part to care for the Earth.
  • Environmental Justice: We host an annual Faithful Citizen Workshop focusing on legislation needed to protect the natural environment; to create clean, green jobs in our state; and, we speak out in support of sustainable public policy that protects our land, water, and air. Yearly, we sponsor a “Get on the Bus for our Earth” to get faithful citizens out to advocate in Springfield, IL on topics such as, clean energy, clean, green jobs, and divesting from the fossil fuel industry.

Why do we do this? Climate disruption impacts all life. Religious leaders around the world, including most faith traditions, have come to the realization that the environmental crisis is likely to be the greatest moral challenge of this century. As we all wake up to the realities this crisis brings--especially to the most vulnerable--we look to our faith communities as the main body to respond to the challenges we face. For UU’s, our connection to the Earth is a core calling in our spiritual quest. If not us, who? In not now, when?

Why join the Green Sanctuary team? It’s common to feel overwhelmed by all the environmental and human issues facing us. Where to start? How can we really make a difference? Does my small part matter? The Green Team offers a gathering place to work together, not alone. We are not experts; rather, we are a group of people who are committed to learning, sharing, supporting, and acting toward our vision of a healthy, sustainable future.

Our Green Gatherings: We meet monthly on the second Tuesday, and gather at the Sugar Beet Food Co-Op, 812 Madison, Oak Park. We begin our gatherings at 5:30 p.m. over food we purchase at the Co-Op, while sharing the daily challenges of our lives, then we focus on our Green Team work from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Contact: To learn more about the Green Sanctuary or to share what you care most about our common home, Earth, go to: green@unitytemple.org