What is Prairyerth?

Prairyerth is a not-for-profit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of people whose sense of the sacred comes from their relationship with the Earth.  Its purpose is to bring people into harmony with themselves, each other, and the Earth through the teachings and practices of Earth-centered traditions.  The fellowship recognizes the interconnectedness of all of Nature and the ability of each individual to make a difference.  Its core precept is its membership bond of union: 

 "We pledge ourselves to a fellowship that recognizes the Earth as home, that acknowledges the unity of life while affirming each entity as a unique and irreplaceable resource in the web of all existence. We resolve to seek our own truth with love and acceptance for others in an effort to enrich and sustain one another.”   

Contact us at PrairyerthUUFellowship@gmail.com
  • Prairie Circle meets in the Chicago region
  • Mohawk River Circle meets in Upstate, NY (Schenectady)
  • Heartland Circle meets in Kansas City, KS

The Fellowship does not meet on Sunday mornings but on the Earth-centered holidays and it holds monthly gatherings following the cycles of the Moon; therefore our members who want a weekly, Sunday morning experience and discipline often hold dual memberships with another congregation.  We frequently combine resources and coordinate activities with sister congregations, and our speakers' bureau is available for guest pulpits and adult and children programming in churches, schools, universities, and libraries.


Prairyerth was accepted into the Unitarian Universalist Association on April 26, 1998.  Headquartered in the Chicago area the Fellowship has members and operating circles throughout the United States.  It takes its name from the eco-system of the American prairie.  

Prairyerth grew rapidly becoming the little fellowship that could with membership over 120 people in 8 states, regional Earth-centered circles that met regularly and a virtual extended family of almost 2,000.  Our four active councils developed dynamic programs, ceremonial and educational materials, and reached out across the continent.

In 2002, events beyond our control, good and bad, took a toll on the congregation and like prairie plants, we went into hibernation for a while, awakening for annual meetings, gatherings, and two Peacemaker Pilgrimages, and then retreating.  Finally like the prairie, we bloomed again.  We currently have 40 official members, 129 extended "friends", and three active circles.

The Prairyerth logo was designed by Melinda Perrin in pen and ink based on a roots diagram from the Conservation Research Institute.  It represents 
harmony in diversity and 
how deeply our interconnected roots grow in the rich soil of our fellowship.

Won't you join us?  
There are three operating circles in three geographic locations: the Prairie Circle of the Midwest, headquartered in the Chicago area; and the Mohawk River Circle in upstate New York, headquartered in Schenectady County, and the Heartland Circle in Kansas City, KS.   For more information on membership, see the By-Laws page.  Membership forms can be found on a subpage to: "All Are Welcome".  

Links to Prairyerth UU Fellowship Circles and activities:                    

In 2018 the UUA asked us to identify ethnic and racial diversity within our congregation.  We really had never thought in those terms before but after reviewing our membership we can say that Prairyerth is as diverse as the native plants on the prairie.  Our people are Black, White, Native, Asian and over 1/3 of both our fellowship and our leadership are "minorities".  Leadership positions are held by women and men in fairly equal numbers. We never ask, but the LGBTQ community is represented too.

This memorial photograph of Ray Schulenberg, a prairie restoration pioneer and Living Treasures of North America Heritage Award recipient, is in honor of someone who epitomized the Prairyerth ideal.  Ray was a humble man, a strong supporter of our congregation, and a respected Elder who taught us about the plants and about the Pottawatomie People.