Green Sanctuary Working Group

The Green Sanctuary Committee (GSC) is UUCJ’s environmental working group
for a variety of projects aimed at upholding the UUA’s Seventh Principle:
“respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part”. The Green Sanctuary Committee works toward caring for the Earth in our church community, nation, and world.

The national UUA program to help guide congregations toward living the
Seventh Principle is called the “Green Sanctuary Program.”

July 28, 2009, UUCJ received recognition as an Accredited Green Sanctuary.
Other groups are encouraged to review the process documentation we submitted,
which may provide insight into the accreditation program.

Where: We meet at UUCJ in the Fletcher Room (south wing next to the library).

When: Monthly on the 3rd Sunday of every month from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Next Activity, SAT 10/17 (2-3:30 pm): GREEN JOBS STRATEGY MEETING - WE NEED YOU !!
A 1½-hour strategy meeting to build momentum for Green Jobs in North Florida, to gather different leaders already working on job creation, sustainability, and/or renewable energy so we may discuss where we currently are, our goals for the future, and potential avenues for strengthening each others’ work.

October-November GS Activities
  • October 2: Fall GS movie night - Kilowatt Ours - 7 pm Social Hall
  • October 11: Fundraiser Potluck to raise funds for kitchen improvements-in the Social Hall after the service
  • October 17: Green Jobs Strategy Meeting-2 p.m. Social Hall
  • October 18: GSC monthly meeting- 12:30 Fletcher Room (all are welcomed!)
  • November 14 (Sat): Fall Green Sanctuary Outing
We’ll enjoy the cooler Fall weather by walking the scenic hiking trails of the University of North Florida. We’ll walk for about two hours on level trails and boardwalks, take in views of the lake, woods and swamps, and then have a bring-your-own picnic lunch together. Please bring lunch and water, and dress for the weather (whatever it happens to be). We will meet in the University of North Florida parking lot next to the building where you would normally obtain a parking pass for the University. This entrance is about one quarter mile east of 9A on the right side of the road into the University (opposite the police station). You will not need a pass to go on the trails. There is no need to reserve a place on the outing. For further information please contact Brian Paradise at: bgparadise@comcast.net or (904) 710-0479 (cell).
  • November 15: GSC monthly meeting-12:30 Fletcher Room (all are welcome!)

Your Involvement: Meetings are open to all UUCJ members and friends. Your involvement can be long term or short term depending on your available time and interest. You may join the group at any time or be a “helper” on a specific project that interests you. Projects will be posted on this page and announced in the newsletter. Any and all involvement is welcomed and needed -- whether extended or a single instance.

History: The GSC was officially sanctioned by the UUCJ Board in January 2007. Since that time we have conducted numerous “green” audits and, based on the results of those audits, have created a Green Sanctuary action plan for UUCJ. The action plan requires that at least 12 “action steps” or environmental improvements are made in four focus areas: worship and celebration, religious education, sustainable living, and environmental justice.

The UUCJ action plan and its current status can be viewed below, and the UUA Green Sanctuary Program can be viewed at uuministryforearth.org.

Current Projects:   (Also see the Green Sanctuary Environmental Justice Projects brochure.)

Our Ethical Eating Environmental Justice Project focuses on supporting local foods with an emphasis on farmers’ markets and community gardens. We are also focusing on moving food that would be wasted to the hungry through our collaboration with The Society of St. Andrew Gleaning Network
(www.sosafl@endhunger.org), a national effort that started in 1988 to help move food that would be wasted to the hungry. 
The Gleaning Network brings together groups who are willing to volunteer to glean the fields after mechanical harvesting with growers who are willing to let them do so. The USDA estimates that 20% of all food grown in this country is wasted either because it is not commercially marketable or because it is missed during mechanical harvesting.  Each year over 15-20 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables are delivered to hungry people. We will be working with the NE FL area coordinator to glean from farmers in the Hastings area and deliver to hunger relief agencies in the Green Cove Springs, St. Augustine and Jacksonville area such as Sulzbacher Center, Clara White Mission, City Rescue Mission, and Salvation Army. Food is also delivered to community food pantries, soup kitchens, and church food ministries.
Gleaning takes place every Saturday, and our current thinking is to choose one Saturday in April, May and June to glean so that all of us have an opportunity to give it a try. We will then resume gleaning in December when the season begins anew on a schedule to be determined by the UUCJ gleaners (can be anywhere from monthly to quarterly). We will announce the month (and crop to be gleaned) in advance and arrange to car pool to the meet-up point. Volunteers of all ages and abilities can participate due to the variety of tasks involved. Gleaners are also allowed to “self glean” for themselves and neighbors if they are in need. We see this as a great way to reconnect ourselves (and our children) with the farms that supply our food while we help those most in need in these difficult economic times.

Our Sustainable Energy Justice Project focuses on advocating for sustainable energy policies and green collar jobs (especially for the under-served) through our collaboration with Faiths United for Sustainable Energy or FUSE, a Florida based education and advocacy group (www.fusenow.org).
The Green Sanctuary Committee has discussed, reviewed, and selected the environmental justice component for our two environmental justice projects. We gave careful consideration to selecting components that we felt would most fully engage the congregation, allowing for all ages and abilities to participate. We are excited about our choices and hope that you will be as well.
For our collaboration with FUSE, we will be working with other faith groups throughout Florida to advocate for sustainable energy and green jobs. FUSE will alert us to upcoming legislation, our committee will further review it to ensure that it is in keeping with UUA principles, and we will then ask you to support that legislation. When that occurs, an announcement will be made during the service, and tables will be set up downstairs during coffee hour with paper, pencils and talking points. We will either hand deliver your letters or mail them as a group (the idea is to voice our concerns as a faith group rather than as individuals) to the appropriate officials.

We are working toward increasing Environmental Awareness through our guest speakers, environmental movies, environmental book reviews, and nature outings.

Individual Sustainable Living Classes are offered periodically  through our collaboration with The Green Team Project (www.greenteamproject.org).

Recent GS Activities:
  • April 7, 21 and May 5: Green Team classes
  • April 18, May 23, and June 27: Gleaning Dates
  • April 25: Outreach at Tree Hill Butterfly Festival
  • April 25: Guest Speaker - Gretchen Ferrell - Beaches Local Food Network
  • May 2: Outreach at Catholic Diocese “Caring for Creation” workshop
  • April 19, May 17, June 28 : GSC monthly meetings
  • October 2: Fall GS movie night - Kilowatt Ours - 7 pm Social Hall

Recommended Reading:

Recommended DVDs:

Contact: For more information contact Lynne Paradise at lynneparadise@comcast.net or the UUCJ church office.