Reflections

A Magazine of Theological and Ethical Inquiry from Yale Divinity School

How to Form a Green Team at Church

Tips from Codi Norred, Program Director of Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (GIPL)

  1. Recruit at least three friends from your congregation who care about sustainability as an aspect of faith.
  2. Meet with your pastoral leader(s) to get their endorsement.
  3. Research your denomination’s statements on creation care.
  4. Become an officially recognized group in the congregation.
  5. In your first Green Team meetings:
    • Craft a mission statement. If your tradition has a statement on sustainability, incorporate that.
    • Brainstorm about what you hope to accomplish as a team. Go wild with this list – don’t hold back. Highlight up to three action items that can be accomplished within the first year.
    • Set a timeline of practical goals and a meeting schedule. Consider meeting once a month when getting started.
    • Issue news releases about Green Team initiatives in congregational media outlets.
  6. Above all, pray together, learn together, and enjoy creation together!

Some Beginning Entry Points

  1. Plan one event in the first six months – perhaps a class, a documentary screening, establishing a community garden or a tree planting. Consider “greening” a congregational event already planned.
  2. Ask pastoral leaders to include environmental stewardship themes within regular services or classes.

Embracing Energy Efficiencies

  1. Review the power bills for your buildings. Meet with the property staff to determine which energy efficiency projects to adopt.
  2. Strive for a 25-percent energy reduction.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice

  1. Establish a recycling program in your congregation. Or maximize the visibility of your current one.
  2. Obtain reusable dishware to reduce waste.
  3. Adopt a “No-Water-Bottles” policy for events. Single- use plastic creates a huge environmental footprint. Encourage people to bring water bottles to events or use pitchers of water and cups.

Long-Term Goals

  1. Participate in community conversations. Meet with local and state elected officials.
  2. Plan interfaith or ecumenical eco-activities. Build relationships across congregations.
  3. Contact a state affiliate of Interfaith Power and Light near you or the national office in San Francisco.

Source: Georgia Interfaith Power and Light (gipl.org), part of the national network of Interfaith Power and Light initiatives (see interfaithpowerandlight.org). IPL mobilizes congregational responses to global warming, monitors government action, and offers liturgies to revive ecological imagination.

Issue Title: 
Crucified Creation: A Green Faith Rising
Issue Year: 
2019