Pre-2020: Accredited Green Sanctuary Process

Part of Green Sanctuary

Note: This is the Pre-2020: Accredited Green Sanctuary Process. Read the current accreditation process.

Green Sanctuary (GS) is a unique opportunity for deep congregational growth and transformation through a commitment to make every aspect of congregational life as sustainable and environmentally responsible as possible. This comprehensive program educates congregations about their environmental impact as institutions and individuals. Action plans seek to increase building sustainability, improve congregational practices, and create relationships within the wider community.

Please to step into the growing community of congregational leaders using Green Sanctuary to support environmental and climate justice work in their congregations.

Congregations seeking Green Sanctuary accreditation will educate themselves and create projects in four focus areas:

  • Environmental Justice
    Environmental Justice acknowledges that marginalized communities are often hit first and hardest by environmental crisis. Congregations shift from providing charity to working in solidarity with communities most affected by climate change.
  • Worship and Celebration 
    As we work together towards a cleaner, more just and sustainable world, worship enables us to stay connected to each other and to celebrate the work we have accomplished.
  • Religious Education 
    Religious Education shapes more than minds. It shapes the attitudes and practices of children, families and the entire adult congregation while inspiring us to keep working toward our goal of sustainable practices.
  • Sustainable Living 
    Sustainable living requires us to treat the world more gently by using fewer resources and being mindful of the choices we make.

Congregations follow a customized, five-stage process towards accreditation:


What’s Involved

Approximate Time Frame / Description

Possible Costs


Learning Green Sanctuary program requirements, review of application process and available resources (including the GS website).

Participation in an introductory conference call.

1 -2 weeks


Stage 1: Team Building and Congregational Education

Team immersion.

Establishing a Green Team to manage the GS process.

Congregational education, getting congregational leaders on board.

2-4 months


Stage 2: Congregational Assessment

Assess congregational energy and water use, waste disposal, food choices, purchasing and other practices.

Collect data and present it to the congregation.

2-4 months

Professional energy audit

Purchasing “Our Place in the Web of Life” curriculum

Stage 3: Creating an Action Plan

Choosing and creating project plans in the four focus areas based on data from the assessments.

Creating a communications plan to inform the congregation about all GS work.

2-4 months

Will depend on frequency of Green Team meetings and congregational dynamics. Best to include input from the congregation.


Stage 4: Applying to be a GS Candidate 

Preparing and submitting application.

Receive feedback, modify plan.

10 – 20 hours

Review team will offer feedback within two weeks.

$100 Application Fee

Stage 5: Gaining GS Accreditation

Carrying out the action plan

Applying for Accreditation status

1 – 3 years

Major transitions or congregational crises can lengthen this timeframe. It may also take time to develop partnerships in the community.


UUA Green Sanctuary Program - First Steps

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