Becoming a Green Sanctuary
Our national organization, the Unitarian Universalists Association (UUA), has a national Green Sanctuary Program for congregations to proclaim and live out their commitment to the Earth and sustainable lifestyles. In 2011, our Congegation received official recognition for completing the Green Sanctuary Program. More information about the Program may be found on the UUA website.
The congregation voted to strive to:
• Build awareness of the significance and complexity of environmental issues;
• Encourage personal lifestyle changes consistent with our UU Seventh Principle;
• Engage in community action on environmental issues;
• Strengthen the connection between spiritual practice and Earth consciousness; and
Partnering with the University of Delaware to Design
Beautiful Sustainable Gardens at UUSD
UUSD’s Landscape Management Committee and the University of Delaware Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture Program worked together this past semester to begin planning sustainable garden areas for our church property. Maggie Heffernan, a Lewes resident in the L/A program, has been doing an internship with UUSD under the supervision of Associate Professor Anna Wik. On December 16, 2016 members of the UUSD Landscape Management Committee heard Maggie and several of her classmates present their garden design concepts. We were absolutely astounded at the wonderful presentation!
The students totally captured the essence of who we are at UUSD and infused that knowledge into every aspect of their designs. They chose plants from wonderful color palettes and indicated how each plant represented a value also honored by our UU faith: compassion, honesty, love, and justice. They told us they chose a wide variety of plants because they knew that we welcome diversity at our church.
The native and sustainable plantings will attract a variety of hummingbirds and bees, in keeping with our Seventh Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. One student had even attended a Sunday service at the Unitarian Universalist Societ of Mill Creek so he could get a better understanding of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist! In the design for one garden area, the student incorporated seven cascading rain barrels to represent our Seven Principles.
We encourage everyone at UUSD to view this the complete presentation to understand all the possibilities for beautifying our property while also honoring the natural flora and fauna with which we wish to coexist. In the spring, Maggie will continue her internship to help us bring some of these garden designs into reality. We also hope to invite Maggie, and any of her fellow students who are available, to do a presentation, answer questions, and give everyone the chance to meet these great young people. Those of us who went to UDel were not only overwhelmed by the wonderful presentation, but also came away feeling a renewed spirit of hope for what the upcoming generation will do to make the world a better—and more beautiful—place.
Joining Delaware Interfaith Power and Light
In January 2012, UUSD became the first Delaware congregational to join the newly formed Delaware Interfaith Power and Light (DeIPL). The mission of DeIPL is to mobilize a religious response to climate change by promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation to ensure a livable planet for ourselves and future generations. John Sykes, a member of our congregation, is the President of DeIPL. One of their offerings is a home energy audit workshop, developed by our Green Sanctuary Program for our congregation. Visit the DeIPL website for additional information about the program.