The steps that congregations typically take to become an Earth Ministry Greening Congregation
Earth Ministry suggests that Greening Congregation Partners adapt the following process to meet your congregation's needs. Our process is designed to be flexible and reflect that different faith communities have different means and passions. The following steps are required for admittance to this program.
Apply to be a Greening Congregation Partner
1. Form a congregational creation-awareness/care group. Groups may consist of two or three individuals, a larger ad-hoc group, concerned friends who meet on an ongoing basis, or an entire congregation.
2. Gain acceptance within the congregation for becoming a Greening Congregation. This acceptance is twofold: Firstly, we require a statement of intent signed by the governing body (vestry, church council, priest) of the church; secondly, the congregation must become a congregational member of Earth Ministry if not already. We encourage all Greening Congregations to join at the $250 level, but congregational membership begins at $100 and is renewed annually. Membership and submission of your statement of intent formalize your relationship with Earth Ministry.
3. Adopt a mission statement to guide your group’s vision and ongoing efforts. A mission statement serves as a touchstone for how your group envisions fostering creation awareness and care in the congregation. You are welcome to develop your own statement or use the mission statement template provided here.
4. Write a summary of past activities, if applicable. This summary serves as both a record of your past accomplishments and a chance to celebrate what you have already done. It is not a requirement for admittance into the program, but is a helpful tool for forming your annual plan.
5. Develop an annual plan that brings your mission statement to life. Each year’s plan should be manageable in scope and viewed as one piece in an ongoing, year-by-year effort. This plan should bring creation awareness and care into various green fields of congregational life – an annual plan template has been created to streamline this process. Additionally, we ask that you create a Green Team roster and submit names and email addresses to Earth Ministry to ensure effective communication regarding Greening Congregations news and events.
6. Submit your completed application materials. To review, Earth Ministry requires that member congregations submit three items: a signed statement of intent, a mission statement, and an annual plan for the upcoming year. These materials can be mailed to Earth Ministry, 6512 23rd Ave NW, Suite 317, Seattle, WA 98117 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Your group and congregation members carry out the annual plan. This is the most exciting part of the process! Earth Ministry’s Greening Congregations Handbook is full of resources and tools to help bring your plan to life.
2. Schedule in-person staff consultation and adult education with Earth Ministry. Benefits of congregational membership at the $250 level and above include an in-person staff consultation with Earth Ministry’s Outreach Coordinator about your church’s greening efforts, and an adult education class for your congregation.
3. Evaluate previous year’s annual plan and create a new one. This is a self-evaluation process for your group to appreciate its accomplishments and look at areas of desired growth. It is especially helpful to review your plan shortly before creating an annual plan for the upcoming year. Earth Ministry encourages Greening Congregations to implement this step in the spring. See the above template for assistance in submitting your annual plan renewal.
4. Celebrate your annual accomplishments. In addition to the initial celebration and banner presentation within your congregation, Earth Ministry will annually honor Greening Congregations Partners at our Celebration of St. Francis in the fall. We ask that green teams from all of our Greening Congregations attend and be recognized during a beautiful litany – your congregation will be called by name and representatives will be asked to stand and be honored for their creation care efforts.