Living Mindfully on this Earth
At First Parish, we take great pride in having been recognized as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The rigorous Green Sanctuary certification process requires a congregation to demonstrate a fundamental, bottom-line commitment to living in harmony with the Earth. To qualify, a congregation must demonstrate green initiatives in many different areas including worship, social action, and religious education, and in ways that foster sustainable lifestyles for both individuals and the community. The church’s environmental efforts have also been recognized with awards from Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light, the U.S. EPA, and the Green Needham Collaborative.
There are many aspects of our Green Sanctuary initiative, including:
- The addition in 2013 of solar panels and new sanctuary windows that greatly reduce First Parish’s carbon footprint and add to the further greening of our green building.
- Ongoing support, including the first two years of hosting, for the Needham Farmers Market.
- Regular incorporation of green principles, as embodied in our green covenant, into our worship services and into the Religious Exploration program.
- Active participation in and support for the Needham Community Farm.
- Regular Roll and Stroll Sundays, where congregants walk or bike to services, often forming up “walking church buses.”
- Comprehensive recycling and waste reduction policies.
- Regular continuing education offerings on timely environmental topics.
- Frequent collaboration with local environmental organizations, showing films such as Food, Inc. and taking part in advocacy activities such as the Updated Bottle Bill ballot initiative.
The Green Sanctuary Program is overseen by the Green Congregation Committee.