How to Apply for Green Sanctuary Accredited Status
Preparing to Apply
If you asked individuals to fill out a survey as part of your environmental assessment, consider repeating the survey after you have completed your action plan projects. Comparing the “before” and “after” responses will allow you to track changes in awareness, action, and long-term commitments among these individuals. Share a summary of the survey responses with the congregation so that everyone can see how the Green Sanctuary program has made a difference. This is also a good time for a final report on what the congregation has accom- plished during the course of the program.
Before you can apply for accreditation, the congregation must vote to do so. The wording of the motion or resolution is up to you and can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. Ideally, however, it will go beyond simply affirming the desire to apply. Aim for an explicit commitment to live by your Green Sanctuary values-one that expresses your willingness to continue making environmentally appropriate choices in all your actions and decisions. One congregation crafted a covenant for their vote, giving added weight to their commitment. An adaptation of their covenant is included as Appendix G.
Applying for Accreditation
The application for Green Sanctuary accreditation is available at the Green Sanctuary section of the UUA website. You can download either a PDF or Microsoft Word file and fill it out electronically. You’ll find that some sections are similar to the application for candidacy, while others are new.
- Congregation Information. As before, this section asks for basic contact informatin.
- Congregation Profile. Update the information from your candidacy application as needed.
- Congregational Vote. Provide documentation of your congregation’s vote, such as annual meeting minutes. Be sure to include the specific statement the congregation voted on.
- Completion of Action Plan. This section is similar, but not identical, to the “Action Plan” section of the candidacy application. Revise the project descriptions to reflect the actions that were actually taken, and update the timelines as needed. In addition, describe the specific outcomes that resulted from each project. Be sure each project is clearly explained, since the review team may or may not be the same group that reviewed your candidacy application.
- Accomplishment of Program Goals. The five goals of the Green Sanctuary program are listed on the application form and on page 10 of this manual. Write one to three paragraphs for each goal, describing the degree to which your congregation has achieved it.
- Program Evaluation. Finally, the application asks you to evaluate the effect the Green Sanctuary program has had on your congregation. For more details on how to complete this evaluation, see the next section.
Evaluating Your Program
The program evaluation section of your application helps the UUA Office of Congregational Stewardship Network determine whether the design of the Green Sanctuary program is effective in meeting the program goals. It also can help you gauge your success and suggest new directions for living out your commitments after you receive accreditation.
To complete the evaluation, write one to three detailed paragraphs in answer to each of the following questions:
- What do you believe has been the most important benefit your congregation has gained as result of your participation in the Green Sanctuary program?
- What has been the most difficult or challenging aspect of the program for your congregation to achieve?
- Have you been able to discern positive changes in your congregation’s culture as a result of the activities you accomplished? If so, what are they?
- What are your intentions/aspirations for continuing to live out your Green Sanctuary commitments?
- What ongoing role do you expect your congregation will take in the wider community relative to environmental issues? How do you feel recognition as a Green Sanctuary affects your position in the com- munity?
Submitting the Application
When you have completed all the sections of the application, e-mail the electronic file to uua_greensanctuary [at] uua [dot] org (uua_greensanctuary [at] uua [dot] org. )If you cannot e-mail the application, contact the program manager for instructions. The program manager is also available to give information and advice for preparing your application, should you need it.
Once you submit your accreditation application, it will be forwarded to a Green Sanctuary review team. After the review meeting, if the application is in order, the program manager will draft a letter officially recognizing your congregation as a Green Sanctuary.
Congratulations! After months of planning, implementing, and documenting your projects, you have earned the official Green Sanctuary designation. This is a joyful achievement, so take the opportunity to celebrate and to show appreciation for everyone who participated.
You will receive a certificate suitable for framing and display. You may also want to add the Green Sanctuary logo-a chalice with a leaf for a flame-to your congregation’s website. This is a good time to send a press release to local media outlets so that you can receive recognition in your own community as well.