For congregations who wish Green Sanctuary accreditation, the Green Sanctuary program guides them through a process of education, opportunity assessment, and discernment that produces an action plan composed of activities and projects for campaigns that address the above three goals. It must include some form of activism/civic action. The plan must also describe intended impacts and measures of success.
Along the way, Green Sanctuary teams have available to them information on this site and support from staff and volunteers (all congregations are invited to use these resources whether or not they are interested in Green Sanctuary accreditation or reaccreditation). There are suggested educational resources, assessment templates and multiple examples of successful plans which will provide teams both inspiration and a clearer understanding of what is required.
Congregations have a good deal of flexibility in making their plans and are encouraged to select activities and projects that best suit the context of their own congregation and surrounding community. Plans will be reviewed by staff and the volunteer Green Sanctuary Review Team, who offer feedback in order to ensure that the plan is sufficiently robust and that the congregation is on the road to accreditation.
Accreditation is achieved when the plan has been implemented and the congregation submits a final report describing and documenting the extent to which the intended impacts have been achieved. This typically takes two to four years and is intended to transform congregations by creating new structures for long-term congregational engagement in climate justice work.
For reaccreditation, the congregation assesses what they have accomplished since they received accreditation and where they are at the point of starting this current cycle of work, then creates an a action plan that includes either new or significantly deeper work with each of the three goals (mitigation, adaptation/resilience, justice) as well as significant activism/civic action. The plan will be reviewed by a Review Team and reaccreditation will be achieved when the plan is accomplished, and a final report describing and documenting the extent to which the intended impacts have been achieved.
Stages of the Process
The Green Sanctuary program is done in five stages.
Team Building and Congregational Education: A Green Sanctuary Team forms and educates itself and the congregation about the program. The Team starts its application process by submitting the Congregational Profile
Opportunity Assessment: The Green Sanctuary team ascertains what is currently happening in various aspects of congregational life and its community, including calculating the congregation’s carbon footprint. The Opportunity Assessment is submitted to Green Sanctuary via the online application for review and feedback. The Assessment becomes the core of the Action Plan. Congregations find it helpful to review the Guidelines for Opportunity Assessment first.
Action Plan: Based on the assessment results, the Green Sanctuary team designs campaigns with projects that address the goals of carbon mitigation, adaptation/resilience, and justice and includes some form of civic action/activism. Action Plan is submitted to the Green Sanctuary Program staff, who give feedback and suggest any necessary modifications to the Plan. Congregations find it helpful to review Guidelines to Action Plan first.
Final Report: The congregation implements the Action Plan and reports on the results in an online template where it will be reviewed and approved for accreditation/reaccreditation, or returned with comments suggesting what else needs to be done. Please review Guidelines to the Final Report for assistance.
Accreditation or Reaccreditation: Once approved the final report will become a public document for information sharing across congregations and organizations.