Green Sanctuary Report

Green Sanctuary Committee

Olympia Brown UU Church


History and Activities

As of February 2011



The Green Sanctuary Committee was founded in fall 2003 to help the congregation become more environmentally friendly and pursue accreditation as a UUA Green Sanctuary Congregation.  We were accredited as a Green Sanctuary Congregation in February of 2006 by the Unitarian Universalist Association after completing the required actions. 

This committee is open to anyone in the congregation.


The UUA Ministry for Earth established criteria for action in four areas: Worship, Education, Environmental Justice and Sustainable Living. 


The following describes our activities in these areas.





  • Native American “Mother Earth” service.  Water services.  Animal blessing services.
  • Several Earth Day services conducted entirely by Green Sanctuary Committee (GSC) or with assistance of GSC.
  • Soy candles used during services at suggestion of GSC.
  • Frequent readings, songs, and references to environmental respect and stewardship from various religious traditions.
  • Several environmental groups are included in our offertory outreach. 
  • Services for youth (Sunday School) also include Green Sanctuary themes.
  • GSC members have presented Earth Day message to youth groups.






  • We have facilitated many adult education discussion courses including Deep Ecology, Voluntary Simplicity, Sustainable Living, Global Warming, Menu for the Future and Simplicity for the Holidays.
  • We formed two EnAct (Environmental Action) Teams to help people green their life.
  • OBUUC Day Camp has focused on environmental activities built on the themes of Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Life.
  • An Environmentally Ethical Eating course was held.
  • Compassionate Cooking pesentation.
  •  “Oil on Ice” viewing.   “An Inconvenient Truth” viewing.
  • Renak-Polak Woods work and education project 
  • EcoJustice Center work and education, including Helping Hands Club (youth).
  • GSC organized trip to the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee to see their green facility and environmental programs.
  • Ongoing articles are submitted for church newsletter on green topics. 



Environmental Justice



  • Fair Trade coffee is purchased for Coffee Hour and all church activities. 
  • We offer Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate for sale to members on Sundays.
  • We have collected computer components for responsible recycling.
  • We have provided about 3000 CFL light bulbs to low income residents, distributed through the food bank system.
  • We have arranged for excess produce from CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members and the farm to be collected at OBUUC on pick up day and brought to HALO, our homeless shelter, providing local and healthful produce to those that can least afford it. 


Sustainable Living



  • Coffee grounds composting at church since 2003.
  • Went through Energy Stewards evaluation and implemented what we could.  High efficiency furnaces installed, high efficiency AC installed, efficient lighting installed where possible.
  • Earth Day neighborhood cleanup, 2004
  • Canvas tote bag sale.  200+ sold.
  • Sustainable Travel to Worship month (bike, walk, carpool to church) every year since 2005.
  • Established secure bike parking area at church.
  • Group attended Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair 2006
  • MRF tour (Municipal Recycling Facility) 2006
  • Magazine exchange ongoing.
  • Helped Property Concerns Committee (building and grounds) to implement “no disposables” policy.  Purchased additional dishes and flatware.
  • GSC investigated and promoted purchase of 100% recyclable paper products (toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels), which are now used by the church and are for sale to members.
  • Collected old CFLs for proper disposal (soon to be discontinued since there are now good local options). 
  • Collection of printer cartridges continues with proceeds going to church general fund.
  • OBUUC is a participant in the “Energy for Tomorrow” program at the 100% level (renewable energy sources). 
  • We began a Drive Slow, Conserve campaign.  “Green Slow Moving Vehicle” bumper stickers and small dash board reminder stickers are made available.
  • Vegetarian Eating group ongoing.
  • Held a neck tie collection for old ties.  They are turned into quilt squares. 
  • We are a pilot church for Youth Restoring Earth (2011)