Green Sanctuary Program To Become a Part of Congregational Services
The Green Sanctuary program of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Ministry for Earth has a new home. As of July 1 Green Sanctuary is operating under the umbrella of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Congregational Services staff group.
After years of being nurtured by the UU Ministry for Earth, the program has grown too large for UUMFE to continue to administer, says the Rev. Katherine Jesch, UUMFE’s Director of Environmental Ministry. More than 50 congregations have completed the requirements to become Green Sanctuary congregations since the program began in 2001.
Jesch says turning Green Sanctuary over to the UUA will allow it to continue to grow. “It will help to institutionalize it and raise its status in the Association. The UUA has a better capacity to manage it over the long term.” She acknowledged that it was a little hard to let it go, “because it’s our core program.”
Wayne Clark, the UUA’s Director of Congregational Stewardship Services, will have responsibility for Green Sanctuary. He said a program manager will be hired for day-to-day management. “This is a logical extension of the stewardship work we already do,” he says. “I could not be more pleased.” He says he anticipates no immediate changes in the program. “We do want to work to make it a bit more formal,” he says. The Green Sanctuary website, now a part of UUMFE’s site, will be moved to the Congregational Services website on UUA.org.
Jesch says she has agreed to help guide the program through its first year following the transition. She acknowledges that this transition will be challenging to the UUMFE financially. The UUMFE has made much of its income from selling Green Sanctuary handbooks at $30 each. She notes that the handbooks will probably, at some point, be made available for free online by Congregational Services. Jesch says she will continue with UUMFE and will focus on environmental justice and sustainability issues, especially sustainable food production.