Green Sanctuary Congregational Vote
Before submitting your completed application, some congregations ask their congregation to vote to apply for candidacy. This is not a required step, but it can be one way of gauging a congregations’ commitment and solidifying support. On the other hand, there is some risk in asking the congregation to vote at this stage. A negative vote or a very weak positive vote, reflecting hesitancy about the program or resistance to making a strong commitment, may tie your hands and preclude moving forward. Anticipate the likely outcome and choose your strategy accordingly. (Note that a vote is required later in the process, before applying for final accreditation. By that time, the action plan has been completed, so the congregation will almost certainly be fully committed to the program.)
If you choose to ask for a vote before applying for candidacy, it’s a good idea to keep the wording of the motion fairly general. As you move through the program, you may find that you need to make adjustments to your original plans. Less restrictive language will leave your options open.
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.
Regardless of when you vote, be sure to keep the specific statement the congregation voted on. Not only will you need it for your accreditation application, but it can serve as a reminder and celebration of your congregation's commitment.