Milford Unitarian church wins green award
Thursday, December 27, 2012
MILFORD – The Unitarian Universalist Congregation (UUCM) has been awarded certification as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the coordinating organization for more than 1,100 congregations, less than 20 percent of which have earned this certification.
According to UUCM minister Rev. Barbara McKusick Liscord, “Since 2008, UUCM has been working in the Green Sanctuary Program has been described as an effort supporting the vision that, together, people can create a world in which all people make reverence, gratitude, and care for the Earth a core part of their lives.
In a press release, the Unitarian Congregation said, “We have explored what it means to live on an imperiled planet and to become environmental stewards. We are very proud of our new designation and will continue to pursue sustainable lifestyles as individuals and as a faith community.”
The Congregation undertook projects in the areas of worship and celebration, religious education, environmental justice, and sustainable living, some of which were collaborations with other local organizations, the press release said.
The church held numerous worship services related to the environment, Native American, and earth-based spiritual practices and has woven an environmental curriculum throughout the religious education program for children and youth of all ages. In fact, children voted working on the environment as their top priority this year, the Congregation said.
The Congregation worked with the NH Green Coalition, local Protestant churches, a Catholic church, and a temple to create a multi-faith environmental worship service. It also offered a six-week curriculum-based discussion group and a speaker series on issues relating to environmental stewardship and climate change – both open to the public.
The Unitarian Congregation has been involved in social justice efforts that support disadvantaged individuals and families locally and around the world, said the press release Most recently, UUCM launched a multi-generational ongoing community service project, the Garden Box Project, through which children, youth, and adults are assisting local families in establishing raised gardens at their residences to grow fruits and vegetables.
Also, when its partner church in Székely Szentmihály, Romania experienced a severe flash flood that damaged much of the area, congregants raised funds to assist the villagers in rebuilding their homes and restoring their farms and gardens.
This past spring, UUCM, NH Green Coalition, Monadnock Energy Resources Initiative, and Hitchiner Manufacturing Co, Inc. co-hosted Button-Up, a free Level II weatherization workshop providing attendees with state-of-the-art, hands-on advice on how to make their homes more energy efficient and less expensive to run, said the press release.
The church also conducted a hands-on environmental summer camp for UUCM children and their friends, drawing on David Gershon’s book “Journey for the Planet: A Kid’s Five Week Adventure to Create an Earth-Friendly Life.”
The UUCM church building, constructed between 1878 and 1888 of NH granite and fashioned after an English chapel, has undergone many environmental updates, according to the Congregation. Even the church grounds have been redesigned to incorporate hardy native plants and shrubs, “reinforcing the New England character of the neighborhood while eliminating the need for watering systems, thereby conserving hundreds of gallons of water.”
Church members help
Many UUCM members and friends have made personal choices to decrease their carbon footprint. Families have had their homes energy audited and instituted measures to become more energy efficient. Some have instituted solar or photoelectric hot water systems, and others have invested in electric or hybrid cars, the Congregation said.
UUCM serves members and friends from Milford, Amherst, Mont Vernon, Bedford, Hollis, New Boston, Merrimack, Wilton, and 13 other area towns. Organizations looking to partner with UUCM on environmental projects can contact the Social Justice Coordinating Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.