Green Sanctuary Team updates

Green Sanctuary accreditation application has been submitted

What is this, and what does it mean? The Green Sanctuary program is a nationally recognized path for congregational study, reflection and action in UU congregations in response to environmental challenges (see below). Currently, about 25% of UU congregations have achieved GS accreditation, and now we are on our way. It has been a long, challenging process, putting the application and work plan together. Many thanks to Lisa Guillory and Jan Weaver for all their work making this happen!

What does this mean? The Green Sanctuary Team has completed a congregational self-assessment and put together several projects across four focus areas: Environmental Justice, Worship and Celebration, Religious Education, and Sustainable Living. Over the next two to three years, you will see many opportunities to get involved.

In December, for example, we will be kicking off our series of family-friendly “Got Skills Workshops,” to be held on the second Saturday of February, April, June, August, October and December. The first is coming up on Dec. 9, when we will be making t-shirt bags (with a craft for little hands as well) that can be used for bringing your own dishes to potlucks, among other uses. No sewing skills needed! That’s the basic skill we will be highlighting. We are focusing this month on how we consume energy and materials. We all share the burden of the waste from their use. By taking a step away from consumption, you are taking a step toward justice and towards love and compassion for others, both human and wild.

December will also see the kickoff of the New Year-to-Valentine’s Day “Green Hearts” challenge, an opportunity to join other UUs as you choose a new personal environmental practice as an act of spiritual devotion to justice and love.

There will be many opportunities to get involved with this process. You can join us at our Green Sanctuary Team meetings to help with planning; you can be involved in organizing individual projects of interest to you; or you can simply participate in the activities that appeal to you. Our next meeting, and all are welcome, is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12 at the home of Ellen Thomas.

According to the Green Sanctuary website, the process of certification:

  • Calls us to simply to do our part through small steps carried out consistently, with faith in our power to make a difference. Religious leaders from most of the world’s faith traditions claim that our environmental crises may be the greatest moral challenge facing humankind in the 21st century.
  • Considers the long-term impact of our individual and communal practices and behavior. Green Sanctuary congregations learn how their choices can damage or enhance our environment, weaving related moral, emotional and spiritual issues into worship. This creates space to care for and help one another in challenging times.
  • Identifies us as a faith community with a historic and deep commitment to justice that respects the interdependent web of all existence. We understand that caring for the Earth and all of its inhabitants is a critical ingredient in building true justice.

GST ‘Stream Team’ to monitor Hinkson Creek section

The Green Sanctuary Team would like to announce that UUCC now has its very own Stream Team that has committed to monitoring the health of a section of the Hinkson Creek near Capen Park.

This involves making a trip to the Hinkson about four times a year and measuring the health of the stream by catching and counting macro-invertebrates (like the mayfly seen here) that live in the stream. We will also be measuring stream flow, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrate content, pH level, conductivity and turbidity.

The Hinkson Creek is the biggest stream flowing through Columbia, and it is not in the best of health. It is on the list of impaired waterways compiled as part of the federal Clean Water Act. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Department of Conservation are charged with keeping an eye on the health of our waterways but they do not have the resources or personnel to do much regular monitoring. They rely on volunteer stream teams to do the monitoring and to feed them information. So we are joining with hundreds of volunteers in the Missouri Stream Team Program that are working to keep our waters clean and healthy.

We have done our first monitoring expedition with the Green Sanctuary Team, and it was great fun. We have chosen a beautiful section of the Hinkson where we can hang out, have a picnic, bring families, and really get to form a “deep connection” with the creek and the creatures that live there. Look for an invitation in the spring to come and join us on our next monitoring trip.