Green Congregations

A Program of the Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission

(MEESC)
www.env-steward.com


Rationale

The Minnesota Episcopal Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) created the Green Congregations program as a way to recognize and encourage congregations in their creation care efforts. Multiple resources and lists of ideas have already been published. But sometimes it helps people to have clear targets, specific steps they can take to meet those goals, and recognition for meeting them. Although we should care for creation just because it’s the right thing to do, in reality all of us are more likely to follow through when we’ve made specific commitments. People and congregations also enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes from being recognized for their efforts.

Cost

The program is an opportunity for congregations, not a requirement.
Participating congregations will be asked to contribute $35.00 per year to MEESC, to help keep the program going.

Description of the program

Each participating congregation will form a green team, create a plan to reduce its carbon footprint and other negative environmental impacts, and take steps to nurture creation on its own property. Part of the plan will include steps to be taken by individual members at their homes or workplaces. The congregation will chose from a list of possible creation care activities, each of which has been assigned a point value. The local green team may identify actions besides those listed and agree with their MEESC contact person on point values for them.

The congregation will be recognized with a reusable wooden plaque, and encouraged to celebrate, when it has earned points as follows:

  • Spring Green 30 points
  • Bright Green 60 points
  • Evergreen 90 points.

Each congregation is asked to “pay it forward” by helping another congregation.

The program is designed to be flexible, while still specific enough to give direction and yield concrete results. Creation care activities undertaken prior to officially joining in the program may be counted toward the Spring Green certificate.

While fixed ratios are not required, activities should be spread across various areas of congregational life:

  • Education
  • Specifically for children
  • Worship / Preaching
  • Programs and Support
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • Community involvement
  • Commitments by members to take action in their homes. (Members commit in writing to take specific steps they select for themselves.)

Congregational Buy In

Participating congregations are asked to sign a covenant with MEESC by official action of the vestry or Bishop’s Committee. It is preferred that a separate green team be created in the congregation. In smaller congregations, however, this work may be folded into the work of a related committee or even the vestry itself.

Each congregation will appoint a liaison, who will meet with a member of MEESC at least once a year to report on the congregation’s activities. The liaison’s report should also be made part of the Annual Report of the Congregation.

Evaluation

Completion of each award will be confirmed, where possible, with a visit to the congregation by a member of MEESC. The visit is intended to be supportive and encouraging. It will also help MEESC learn and improve the program.

Copyright notice.