Green Sanctuary and Climate Activism at First Unitarian Church

COVID-19 has slowed many of our activities at First Unitarian Church of Chicago and our working group concerning climate warming and other issues is no exception. For many years, First U has been identified as a ‘Green Sanctuary’ church. This means we fulfilled the national UUA standards for Green Sanctuary Churches some years ago. The Green Sanctuary program at the UUA has evolved since then, and we have been asked to renew our accreditation with that program. 

In order to restart our local efforts to make First Unitarian Church a truly “green sanctuary,” and to renew our connection to the UUA Green Sanctuary program, we plan to revive the Green Sanctuary committee, and are looking for volunteers who are willing to undertake some projects related to the renewal requirements. At present, the only working Green Sanctuary projects at First U are our Stryofoam recycling effort and a program to better recycle trash and educate the membership about the importance of recycling. 

A discussion about the UUA Green Sanctuary program reaccreditation process is available here.

The first step in the reaccreditation process is for the congregation to assess what they have accomplished since they first were accredited, and where they are within this current cycle of work. The second is to create an action plan that includes either new or significantly deeper work towards each of the three goals (mitigation, adaptation/resilience, and justice), as well as significant activism/civic action. The plan is then assessed by a Review Team, and reaccreditation is achieved when the plan is accomplished and a final report issued describing and documenting the intended impacts. 

This is a five-stage process; the first is building the team, educating the congregation, and creating a Congregational Profile. Please consider this an invitation as well an opportunity to join this team and become a part of this important work. We foresee initial meetings taking place in Zoom, and plan to move to in-person meetings when it is safe to do so.  

If you are willing and able to commit to be part of the Green Sanctuary process at First U, please contact Richard Pardo at so we may discuss our next steps and assign tasks.