Greening Congregation Partners
To become a Greening Congregation, churches develop a written annual plan for integrating creation care into their congregational life in the areas of worship, education, facilities, and outreach. These goals should be achievable but also challenging, and the commitment is renewed annually to demonstrate a congregation’s long-term dedication to environmental stewardship.
These churches have gone above and beyond, and are a vital part of our network. They are not only actively involved in stewardship of God's creation but have chosen to partner with Earth Ministry in a meaningful way, working together to build a better future. Learn about the Greening Congregations Program!
Bellevue First United Methodist Church, Bellevue, WA
Congregational Care Team
Since 2009, Bellevue First United Methodist’s mission statement has been, “We affirm the natural world as God’s handiwork and dedicate ourselves to its preservation, enhancement, and faithful use by humankind.” The Congregational Care team at Bellevue First United Methodist has repeatedly proven their commitment to this statement through direct action. They’ve hosted summer Taize services that focus on environmental themes, organized hikes at local parks, decreased their church’s waste output and energy consumption, and much more. They also maintain an excellent blog, which can be accessed here: http://fumcgreen.wordpress.com.
Bethany United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA
Sacred Earth Ministry Team
Part of Bethany UCC's mission statement reads, "We are called to honor creation and build relationships with the created world that are life-giving and justice-producing. We are called to share our vision with other so we can make a reality this vision of justice and peace for the whole web of life." One example of the efforts to fulfill this mission, the Sacred Earth Ministry Team has led the revitalization of Bethany Garden. Once a City of Seattle Pea Patch, the organic garden was underutilized and not well maintained. Now the site features a children's garden, Food Bank garden, and members of the Bethany and Beacon Hill community nurture garden plots there.
East Shore Unitarian Church, Bellevue, WA
Earth Corps Group
East Shore strives to live by the Unitarian Universalist principle: “to affirm and promote … respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” In keeping with this principle, this past April a group from the church helped to organize, then marched and demonstrated in, the “Earthwalk” event in Seattle. Also in April, the church held their annual Earth Day service with a special presentation on the Earth Charter and conducted another service in August with testimonials from dedicated activists in the church on what they do and why they do it. On an on-going basis, they serve shade-grown/organic coffee at all services and functions and sell energy-efficient, Compact Florescent light bulbs one Sunday per month. The church is also currently helping to plan a lecture and weekend workshop with Joanna Macy for March 2003.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Mercer Island, WA
If anyone understands that it takes a village to be green, it is Emmanuel Episcopal Church. To them, a greening ministry means “contributing to a more sustainable environment through education, worship, knowledge exchange, collective purchasing, and continued greening practices with others in the community and the world.” While seeking to engender more sustainably within their facility, Emmanuel also reaches within and back out again to connect people with issues of faith and the environment through ongoing adult education, earth-themed retreats, working as volunteers at local farmers markets, creation care Sundays, and a Kids’ Green Team.
Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Seattle, WA
At Church of the Ascension, members recognize the importance of stewarding the earth today so that future generations can appreciate the beauty of God's creation tomorrow. The purpose of the Green Team is to "work together with all our ministry areas to ensure that our activities in our church, our community, and the world promote a sustainable future for all God's creation."
Fairwood Community United Methodist Church, Renton, WA
Greening Congregations Task Force
The work of Fairwood’s Greening Congregations Task Force spreads into almost every nook and cranny of the churches life: from hikes, to worship services, to a bike-and-walk to church Sunday, to doing an energy-efficiency survey with every member in the congregation, to rolling up their sleeves to help restore local watersheds. Read more about Fairwood UMC
Fauntleroy United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA
Fauntleroy's dedication to creation care has encompassed making earth-friendly choices on the road, at the table, and in the home. Some of their crowning achievements include a Care More, Car Less Sunday where more than 100 people carpooled, walked, used the bus or biked to church; supporting sustainable agriculture by purchasing food from a local, organic farmer; a Food and Faith Sunday, including switching to Fair Trade, shade-grown, organic coffee; participating in the April 2007 Step It Up March for climate change solutions, cosponsored by Earth Ministry; and promoting less toxic home and yard maintenance. To top it off, Fauntleroy is exploring faith and environment classes as part of the church's adult education program.
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Everett, WA
First Congregational now has a creation-care covenant that the entire congregation has signed and “owns.” Their “Creation Keepers” group has helped to design an Earth Day worship service, done tree plantings, supported the Heifer Project, and promoted shade grown coffee.
First Presbyterian Church, Port Townsend, WA
First Presbyterian is in the early stages of bringing creation care efforts to its congregation, but has shown true commitment to sustainability by putting together an ambitious plan with the blessing of church leadership. In 2009. the Social Action, Justice and Environment Team plans to examine the congregation’s use of paper, plastics and cleaning supplies. In keeping with an emphasis on Fellowship, First Presbyterian is hosting a series of educational luncheons where locally grown, organic foods are served and speakers are invited to present on environmental or social justice topics. the congregation is set to perform an energy audit on the church building and assess the efficiency and quality of the heating infrastructure. Alternative energy and green building practices will be considered during upcoming major church renovations.
First United Methodist Church, Bellevue, WA
Bellevue First United Methodist Church's vision is to nurture the congregation through spiritual reflection on Creation care and by promoting actions to sustain a healthful environment. They minister to the needs of the larger community, including the natural community and celebrate God's presence in Creation. FUMC promotes the use of fair trade coffee and tea, hosted an Earth Ministry Congregational Sharing event, led an environmental advocacy training for congregation members as well as a Earth Day Festival of Creation, and has plans to include more environmental stewardship activities in the coming year.
Flagstaff Federated Community Church, Flagstaff, AZ
Christians for the Earth
Over the past thirteen years, Flagstaff Federated Community Church's group Christians for the Earth has grown from the original group of four or five to over 30 and has been involved in a multitude of creation care activities. Most recently, they signed their congregation up for Interfaith Power & Light’s Cool Congregation program, which allows them to calculate Flagstaff Federated’s carbon footprint and then begin to reduce it. So far the church has been refit with CFL light bulbs, used weather stripping, a water meter, and digital thermostats. The next step is to replace four heaters for their organ with more energy-efficient models. Christians for the Earth also hopes that they will be able to turn down the thermostat in the sanctuary and enlist the church’s Prayer Shawl Ministry to provide shawls in every pew in case people get chilly during worship.
Georgetown Gospel Chapel, Seattle, WA
The Chapel sits as an oasis in the industrial core of Seattle with its vegetable and flower gardens that nourish both human and other-creature neighbors. Among the many ways in which the Chapel works to (quote) “replenish the earth” is through their concrete actions to confront global warming – a dedication that won them an EPA Energy Star award for excellence in energy efficiency in 1999.
Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge, WA
Earth & Spirit
From its outset, Grace has been oriented towards practices within its communal life that reflect its commitment to Earth stewardship. Grace has prioritized green practices in their facilities including the design of their new church building and the way their kitchen is used. They have also held educational programs to inspire and inform congregation members on issues such as climate change, carbon emissions, and food choices. Hands-on experiences with nature have also been important at Grace. Bird watching on Grace’s 11 acres, a pre-dawn “owl prowl” around Bainbridge, hikes to get to know rivers on the Olympic Peninsula, and wildlife viewing trips have engaged church members with their local environment. Read more about Grace Episcopal
Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Bellevue, WAEarth Keeping Ministry
Since August 2009, The Holy Cross Lutheran Church Earth Keeping Ministry has been very busy finding ways to advance their ministry, especially in the realms of education and advocacy. Some of their accomplishments include reviewing the energy audit for the campus, making action plans and replacing fixtures to CFL’s where possible; committing to use Fair Trade coffee; committing to use only “green” paper products and washable dishes and cups; providing monthly tips in their newsletter to reduce, reuse, and recycle; conducting a 3 week class on Cry of Creation for the congregation; incorporating earth awareness into the regular worship; and holding worship outdoors to appreciate our gift of earth. They are currently in the process of developing approximately 30 plots of pea patches for their community to assist individuals in growing food.
Kirkland Congregational United Church of Christ, Kirkland, WA
Kirkland Congregational Church had jumped into its creation care activities in the past year, led by its motivated Earthkeepers group. Many activities have been planned that involve all members of the congregation including a youth trip to the Seattle Public Library that taught youth about public transportation and green building and the development of a special Earth Day worship service and children's sermon. A bulletin board with information about the four 2009 Environmental Priorities was created to keep the church up to date on environmental advocacy efforts in the state as well.
Langley United Methodist Church, Langley, WA
In 1993 Langley UMC passed a congregational statement declaring, “Our purpose is to affirm that all God’s creation is sacred and to rediscover our interconnections with that creation in ways that will protect and heal the environment.” After over ten years of building relationships around this mission, and many efforts to live it out, Langley now has a “covenant group” – and the blessing of the entire congregation – to actively shape congregational life around this mission.
Magnolia United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA
As part of a goal-setting process, Magnolia UCC chose three areas of focus: education and youth, caring for creation, and stewardship of facilities. Sunday school themes reflect the church's dedication to environmental stewardship. The weekly newsletter contains "greening tips". They have facilities-wide requirements for energy efficiency, including requiring compliance from wedding planners and other outside uses of the building. Members also hold an annual "care fair" to inspire the wider congregation with new environmental ideas.
Olympic View Community Church of the Brethren, Seattle, WA
As a Greening Congregation, Olympic View Community seeks to express their love for God by showing reverence for the Earth and all of its creatures. Toward this end, they seek a greater understanding of the right relationship between humans and creation. Olympic View intends to steward the Earth’s resources more justly and sustainably. By replacing the south lawn with drought-tolerant plants, Olympic View has incorporated stewardship into the church’s landscaping. Olympic View continues to evaluate ways to green their building and facilities, including replacing old toilets with high efficiency ones and replacing cleaning supplies with eco-friendly alternatives.
Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA
Creation-Care Action Group
Plymouth is one of Seattle’s most prominent churches – largely due to the fact that the congregation actively participates in helping to bring about social and environmental justice (their tireless work to help eliminate homelessness in Seattle, is but one example). As another example, they have been one of the congregations most dedicated to restoring the health of the Duwamish River. Their ongoing involvement in especially helping to restore Hamm Creek has been a blessing to the salmon that annually return there, as well as surrounding human communities for whom this SuperFund site is their backyard. Plymouth is also known throughout the community for its vibrant worship life. The Creation Care Action Group has helped to infuse worship with a creation-honoring focus. Their Earth Day worship service in 2002 was a magnificent example of this: this intergenerational service was filled with dance, earth-care readings from children, forums with local environmental leaders, a car-free emphasis, creation-celebrating music, advocacy opportunities, and even a plant exchange. Read more about Plymouth UCC
Richmond Beach Congregational United Church of Christ, Shoreline, WA
Richmond Beach UCC added an important phrase to their Congregational Covenant as a Community of Faith, "We strive to live in harmony with nature, respecting and honoring the gifts of God's creation." Because of this growing commitment, they have chosen to carry out several activities that make their congregation green. They have brought creation care as a theme into their worship services. They have implemented recycling and developed an education plan for all facility users. They reduce the use of excess paper and books in their children's education program. Every November, they hold a Gentle Giving Fair focusing on Fair Trade and environmentally-friendly gifts for the holidays. Additionally, they publish a quarterly newsletter, One World, to give congregants earth-friendly tips and ideas. Read more about Richmond Beach UCC
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Port Angeles, WA
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church promotes initiatives “that call us to examine our lifestyles as Christians with the goals of reducing our contribution to global warming and of living in harmony with all God's creation.” To demonstrate leadership by example, the congregation seeks to use their facility’s water and energy more efficiently by checking toilets, faucets, light bulbs, and hot water heaters; to reduce solid waste and garbage, developing worm and recycling bins; and to implement ongoing education of their congregation and community through creation care services, study sessions and retreats, and advocacy.
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Seattle, WA
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church has successfully woven creation-awareness and care into their existing ministries. When members of their Palestinian sister church visited, St. Andrew's Environmental Group led a meditative day hike on Mount Rainier. St. Andrew’s incorporated locally-grown, organic food into their monthly “Jubilee Dinner” – attended by about 150 people per month) who hunger for community and other for basic human needs. St. Andrews members have also been very active in a number of eco-justice issues throughout the years, while never forgetting to holistically incorporate these issues into their worship life together. Read more about St. Andrew's Episcopal
St. Augustine's in-the-Woods, Freeland, WA
A long time supporter of Earth Ministry, St. Augustine's made the decision last year to become a Greening Congregation. By focusing on five categories of their church's Long-Range Plan, which include Christian Formation, Parish Life, Worship & Spirituality, Communications & Parish Leadership, and Outreach, the goal of the Greening Committee is to develop, promote, and sustain environmentally friendly policies, procedures, and initiatives that will enhance parish life and reinforce the congregation's commitment to preserve God's Creation.
St. James Catholic Cathedral, Seattle, WA
A passion for ecological justice can be manifested in numerous ways—education/awareness, advocacy, greening of facilities, prayer, and community outreach. St. James Cathedral has chosen to focus on each of these forms of ministry in its greening process. Having participated and initiated several projects already, including the advocacy of parishioners in the 100 Mile Potluck and Step in Up March for Climate Action and implementation of two annual Environmental Health Fairs, a Taize Candlelight Vigil for Climate Action, and an eight-week discussion series on Climate change, St. James looks forward to the great work left to do.
St. John's Episcopal Church, Snohomish, WA
From hosting the Great Zucchini Cook-Off featuring local foods to monitoring energy use with the EPA's Portfolio Manager, greening is blooming at St. John's. Members of the Creation Stewards believe "we are part of the created order, not separate from it, and our first calling by God is to be the caretakers of Creation." Some of the many ways members at St. John's serve as caretakers for Creation include hosting a Crop Walk Meal, including ecological messages in prayers, growing vegetables to donate to food banks, and attending Environmental Lobby Day.
St. John United Lutheran Church, Seattle, WA
For members at St. John United, the environment is very much a part of their identity. Through an organic community garden, St. John United offers a peaceful place for reflection, a source of food for soup kitchens held at the church and a way to care for the earth as they advocate for more sustainable policy locally and globally. Members of St. John United aim to give thanks for the wonder of the creation in many ways, including “tending the created world through our community garden, managing our property and encouraging sustainable living in our homes and neighborhoods; and we advocate for public policies that protect the environment for the well-being of all." Recently, St. John United was featured alongside Earth Ministry in Natural Saints: How People of Faith are Working to Save God's Earth.
St. Margaret's Episcopal Church, Bellevue, WA
The Greening Ministry Committee at St. Margaret's Episcopal took on the mission to facilitate and participate in transitioning the congregational community towards a way of life that reflects and honors the truth that all creation is our Oikos -- our home and environment, a stewardship entrusted to us by God and essential to our existence. St. Margaret's has already started greening in a number of areas and over the next year plans to conduct an energy audit, continue to emphasize native plant landscaping, organize carpools to worship services, and celebrate Earth Day over three Sundays with an environmental emphasis in education and worship. In accordance with the Genesis Covenant Challenge, they also are working to reduce by half the greenhouse gas emissions of the church facility over the next ten years.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Seattle, WA
As an example of their greening vision and work, St. Mark’s Cathedral included “care for creation” goals in the cathedral’s strategic plan, so that such care is incorporated in the vision for the cathedral’s life over the next decade. The group also initiated two study groups using Earth Ministry’s publication Simpler Living: Compassionate Life and sponsored a six-part series titled “The Global Economy, Justice, and You.” On Earth Day 2002 the group, along with the cathedral’s Garden Volunteers and youth, worked to clean up the “greenbelt” that adjoins the cathedral. Read more about St. Mark's Episcopal
Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Port Townsend, WAGreening Task Force
Members of St. Paul’s Episcopal seek to “recognize God's call . . . through Christ and scripture to practice wise, humble and responsible stewardship of all that God has created on our planet.” Together with their Greening Task force, they have pledged to “promote, through reflection, education and action: a reduction in our carbon footprint, reduced consumption, and the protection and sustainability of our natural resources.” With hope for a greener future, they plan to encourage food sustainability, recycling and composting, energy and water conservation, and further education and awareness within their community.
Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, Seattle, WA
Folks at St. Paul’s Episcopal have also engaged in creation-care for many years. Their ongoing work includes important “household-keeping” efforts such as: serving and promoting organic, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee; using of china cups and plates and cloth napkins; initiating a comprehensive recycling program; and creating a “green space” within the church for all members to learn about the most current environmental resources and events. The church has also undergone a comprehensive energy audit with Seattle City Light – the resulting retrofits puts the congregation on a path for greater energy efficiency and reduction of their contribution to global warming. The church, which is located blocks from the Seattle Center, also deconstructed one of their large parish buildings and replaced it with a new green space – a new urban oasis.
Seattle First Baptist Church, Seattle, WA
For many years, Seattle First Baptist members have embodied the following mission: “We are called to open our eyes to the profound mystery of God’s creation and to vision for ourselves and others a new world in which nature is reclaimed, nurtured, and celebrated for future generations. We pledge ourselves to seek and follow ways to live lightly, with love and respect, for this precious earth, our home.” Such light, loving, and respectful living has taken the form of adopting a portion of Thorton Creek and spending Saturdays clearing out invasive plants. Some members also spend their Saturdays cleaning up a portion of their most immediate neighborhood on Capitol Hill. These Partners help to provide support and funding for the Duwamish People as they preserve their own cultural and ecological heritage; host community gatherings with visionaries like Terry Tempest Williams and Wendell Berry; host environmental fairs, retreats, and educational series; and so much more.
Snoqualmie United Methodist Church, Snoqualmie, WA
If you were to visit Snoqualmie UMC, a couple of things would stand out to you. First, their explicit curricula expresses a rich ecological ethic in both education and worship. Both children and adults use creation-oriented curriculum. Second, their implicit curricula - what you see in their pea-patch; in their commercial-grade dishwasher that allows them to use china at all functions instead of paper or plastic; their use of Fair Trade, organic coffee; and so on - also expresses their worldview that caring for people is integrally connected to caring for all of God's creation.
Suquamish Community Congregational UCC, Suquamish, WA
For many years the church has included the following words in their mission statement: “As stewards, we are called to be a caring people, living in harmony with the environment, respecting and honoring the gifts of God’s creation.” The church’s Colleague was initially drawn to the church because of this statement. Now as a member, the Colleague helps to foster creation-care through meditative hikes, worship opportunities, energy efficiency measures, and much more.
United Church in University Place, University Place, WA
In a Green Declaration of Interdependence, United Church in University Place pledges, "As stewards of God’s creation we are emboldened by our Christian faith to understand, protect, preserve and conserve God’s good earth." Energy and green audits on UCUP have led them to improve the church's practices through such efforts as natural, drought-tolerant landscaping, commitment to environmentally-friendly products such as unbleached paper products and environmentally sound lighting, responsible use of energy/natural resources, and attention to recycling, composting and use of recycled products. As the congregation continues to learn about stewardship, they take public positions on issues that will increase the health of our environment.
University Congregational United Church of Christ, Seattle, WA
Sacred Earth Group
University Congregational has brought creation-care into many aspects of their church life including participating in several ecological restoration projects, bringing earth-friendly decisions to the process of renovating the church building, incorporating earth elements into the Sanctuary, starting a CSA project, and integrating creation-care into their Sunday school curriculum.
University Lutheran Church, ELCA, Seattle, WA
University has a long history of efforts like serving Fair Trade/shade grown/organic coffee; public advocacy for clean, renewable energy; and going to lengths to improve their energy efficiency. Who are these good people, and why do they do what they do? In their own words: “We are young and old. We are multi-racial. We strive to be faithful stewards of God’s creation, to care for our neighbors, and to work for justice and peace in our community and in the world.” And in striving to be faithful stewards, folks at University Lutheran do a really good job of having fun along the way. For example, in 2004 they hosted a festive, intergenerational “Celebration of the Earth” with song and dance, exhibits of arts and crafts, and Rain Forest refreshments.
Wesley United Methodist Church, Yakima, WA
Since 1978, Wesley UMC church volunteers have run a recycling station on the property of the church. It is the largest noncommercial, community recycling center in Yakima, and between 1980 and 2008 it has kept over 5 million pounds of waste out of the landfill. For 25 years a church garden has provided fresh produce for the congregation, and 5 years ago it was converted to an organic garden. Wesley has transformed their coffee hour with the purchase of Fair Trade Organic coffee and the elimination of Styrofoam and paper cups. The church’s Green Team designed a Car Free Sunday based on Earth Ministry’s On the Road materials and coordinated 90 participants in walking, biking, or carpooling to church.
Wooden Cross Lutheran Church, Woodinville, WA
Creation Care Committee
At Wooden Cross, God is Green! With a vision “to make [their church] more eco-friendly and to promote the communication of great conservation ideas and actions amongst our members,” the Creation Care Committee began to implement changes in every facet of their ministry. Greening their facilities took the form of broadening and improving their church recycling program, starting a compost bin, utilizing greener options for ordering office supplies, moving to use only organic lawn and plant products, and eliminating the use of plastic utensils in their church, among other projects. They have even created a Monthly Green Team Challenge, a “tip-of-the-month” newsletter column, and have a useful Living Green section of the church website. Recently, Wooden Cross became the first church in the U.S. to install an electric vehicle charging station on site.
Woodland Park Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA
The church has just begun a building remodeling project and is working to integrate sustainable building practices into the design. In the area of worship, Woodland Park held a Car Free Sunday last April to encourage congregants to consider the impact of their transportation choices on our climate and quality of life. For the past two years, Palm Sunday has been a “green” event with the purchase of sustainably grown palms for the congregation’s worship service. Fellowship has been the main area of focus over the last year and kitchen operations will continue to be a major area for greening activities in the coming year.