Green Sanctuary

The 7th Principle of states that Unitarian Universalist congregations covenant to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Green Sanctuary group is composed of all those St. Johners who want to cooperatively re-evaluate our church “lifestyle” and find more relevant and sustainable ways to honor our commitment to this principle.


In spring 2017, the UUA informed St. John’s Unitarian Universalist Church that our church now belongs to a growing number of UU congregations who are working to restore environmental sustainability and justice in our community and in our world.

Green Sanctuary LogoIn her letter of March 31, 2017, Rev. Karen Brammer, manager of the UUA Green Sanctuary Program congratulated our congregation for achieving this watershed moment. She reported that the UUA review team saw in our 40-page proposal “abundant evidence of deep dedication, broad participation and creative, strong leadership.” And they believe our congregation is moving toward becoming a “showcase for best practices in sustainable living” by building partnerships in our larger community.

Brammer, who served us as a Green Sanctuary coach through this process, compliments St. John’s for reaching beyond our congregation to build partnerships in our larger community:

  • Our involvement with the Apple Street Market and our RE “pizza garden” fundraiser; the endorsement of the Carbon Fee and Dividend Program.
  • Our community outreach through the Changing Course Program:Green Sanctuary helps organize CHANGING COURSE gatherings, free and open to the public at St. John’s on third Saturdays of the month 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. But the gatherings will not meet in November and December 2019 due to the holiday schedule.                                           Concerned citizens gather to exchange ideas and to embrace our worries about the global climate crisis as an opportunity to create locally more resilient, sustainable, and equitable communities. Join us for light refreshments and a chance to browse a display of literature related to climate change.
  • Our invitation to integrate environmental justice as integral to social justice programming.
  • Our dream of initiating an agro-tourism venture with our Partner Church.
  • The fulfillment of most of our energy audit recommendations.
  • And finally our efforts to demonstrate to our congregation that our Seventh Principle is more that environmental, and that it is a statement of human connection to each other, to future and past generations, and to the earth systems that embrace us.

But this is just the beginning! The “Green Sanctuary” designation stands as an ongoing commitment to integrate the Seventh UU Principle ever more fully into the life of the church. An implementation team has been formed, and we invite all St. Johners to join us as we plan ahead.

Jeanne Nightingale
Green Sanctuary Partners

<—– From the UUA —->

Being a Green Sanctuary is one of the ways we work toward a vision of healthier, more sustainable future.

As a recognized Green Sanctuary, we live with a deep awareness of our climate crisis and the deep environmental injustices of our time. We commit to four practices, grounded in Unitarian Universalist principles:

  • Environmental Justice: We partner with marginalized communities who are hit first and hardest by environmental crisis.  In partnering with these communities we are able to address human and environmental needs at the same time.
  • Worship and Celebration: As we work together towards a cleaner, more just and sustainable world, worship inspires our work and reminds us of what is most sacred and most true.
  • Religious Education: Our workshops and programs for all ages shape attitudes and build practices that are sustainable and spiritually-grounded.
  • Sustainable Living: We treat the world more gently by using fewer resources and being mindful of the choices we make, both as a congregation and as households.

Visit UU Ministry For Earth to find out more about being a Green Sanctuary.

We invite all who share these values to join us on this journey of connection, sustainability, and hope. Contact Jeanne Nightingale to get involved. And join our broad and growing movement for climate justice with Commit2Respond.