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Process for Becoming a Green Sanctuary

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Green Sanctuary Program is evolving to meet the changing needs of our time.

There are new standards and applications for those just beginning the process and those who are Accredited who now seek Re-Accreditation. If your congregation fits into either of these categories, it is important that you contact the GS Manager at uua_greensanctuary @

For those who began work for candidate and certified status before October 2013, your work will be assessed using the 2009 version of the Green Sanctuary Manual (PDF, 121 pages).

  1. Establish a Green Sanctuary Program Committee.
    The Green Sanctuary Program Committee is officially sanctioned (by whatever process is the usual practice for your congregation) as an on-going (not temporary) committee with a designated chair or contact person. Members represent all aspects of congregational life including religious education, worship and celebration, communications, buildings and grounds, finance, social justice, and any other areas that are relevant in your congregation.
  2. Conduct an environmental assessment.
    Conducting an environmental assessment provides a snapshot of where your congregation stands with respect to their environmental behaviors. The assessment establishes the baseline or starting point for your congregation. The assessment has at least two parts—the professional energy audit and the congregational assessment. The assessment may include a third part which is personal assessments for individual congregant members. The congregational assessment will include an assessment of:
    • Worship and Celebration
    • Religious Education—adult and children's
    • Environmental Justice
    • Sustainable Living—grounds, parking lot, location,transportation, facilities, kitchen, food, recycling/reuseables, office and cleaning supplies, energy use, investment policies, congregation policies, congregation committees, etc.
    • Anything else you think is relevant
  3. Create an action plan.
    Develop an action plan that may address some of the things highlighted in your environmental assessment. The action plan is a road map to help you think through your strategy and check the logistics of your program elements. If circumstances change, plans are no longer appropriate, or barriers for a particular project are insurmountable, the action plan may be adjusted or modified. The action plan includes a minimum of twelve projects within four focus areas and includes a communications strategy for sharing information about and inviting participation in projects.
  4. Apply for Green Sanctuary Candidacy (Word). (PDF)
    Using the Green Sanctuary Candidacy Application submit your application including your action plan electronically via email to uua_greensanctuary @ Mail your application fee of $100 to the UUA Office of Congregational Stewardship Services at:

    Green Sanctuary Program
    25 Beacon Street
    Boston, MA 02108
  5. Review feedback from a Green Sanctuary review team.
    Congregations are accepted into the Green Sanctuary Candidacy phase by Green Sanctuary review teams. These teams meet via conference call once a month and review three to four applications at each meeting. After the review meeting, the Program Manager of Congregational Stewardship Services will draft a letter welcoming your congregation into the Green Sanctuary Program and providing feedback about your action plan.
  6. Make appropriate modifications to your action plan.
    Based on feedback from one of the Green Sanctuary review teams and changing circumstances, make appropriate modifications to your action plan. If you have any questions contact the Office of Congregational Stewardship Services.
  7. Complete your action plan.
    Have fun carrying out your projects in your action plan. Remember to celebrate your accomplishments as you go along.
  8. Apply for Green Sanctuary Accreditation (Word) (PDF)
    After completing or making significant progress on each of the twelve projects outlined in your action plan, complete an affirmative congregational vote to apply for Green Sanctuary Accreditation. Using the Green Sanctuary Accreditation Application, submit your application electronically via email to uua_greensanctuary @
  9. Receive recognition as a Green Sanctuary.
    A Green Sanctuary review team will review your Green Sanctuary Accreditation application. After the review meeting, the Green Sanctuary Program Manager will draft a letter officially recognizing your congregation as a Green Sanctuary.
  10. Re-accreditation process.
    Congregations that have already earned official Green Sanctuary recognition can now earn official recognition for continuing their work to restore Earth and renew Spirit through the Green Sanctuary re-accreditation process.

For more information contact uua_greensanctuary @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

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