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Innovative partnership aims to assist Episcopal churches to “go green”

October 5, 2010

In an innovative venture that benefits congregations of all sizes, The Episcopal Church has partnered with GreenFaith, a leading national religious environmental group, to assist churches" efforts to "go green."

Many congregations have expressed the desire to be environmentally "green" and as ecologically responsible as possible. As a result, the collaboration between GreenFaith and The Episcopal Church provides a means for that effort.

"I'm very excited about this collaboration with GreenFaith," explained Michael Schut, Episcopal Church Officer for Economic/Environmental Affairs. "The program is holistic and very well supported. Participating congregations will not only ‘green" their buildings and grounds, but develop relationships with environmental justice advocacy organizations and members of the interfaith community, and integrate creation-care into education and worship. Congregations can learn from the experiences of other congregations. The program is a possible avenue for deep congregational revitalization."

"Collaboration with GreenFaith is a wonderful expression of our 2009 General Convention mission priority commitment to ‘Networking the Body of Christ" and to ‘Alleviating Poverty and Injustice,"" noted the Rev. Christopher Johnson, Episcopal Church Officer for Social and Economic Justice. "We look forward to encouraging participation among Jubilee Ministries around the interdependent issues of environmental, economic and social injustice and how these three factors subvert the dignity of those most adversely impacted by their affects."

GreenFaith Certification Program

According to Schut, goals of this partnership include: to support the development of faithful, strong environmental leadership; to help congregations learn to reduce their operating costs; and to model creation care, spirituality and justice throughout a congregation"s life and practice.

To address those goals, GreenFaith is offering its GreenFaith Certification Program which Schut explained as a two-year, holistic process engaging an entire congregation through education, worship, environmental justice advocacy, building and grounds, and developing relationships with the larger interfaith community.

According to the GreenFaith"s Executive Director, the Rev. Fletcher Harper, the Program is the nation"s first interfaith environmental certification program designed specifically for houses of worship. The program empowers churches, mosques and temples to become strong environmental leaders by carrying out a substantial number of environmental leadership activities over a two year period

Among the tools and resources provided by GreenFaith to participating churches are webinars, web-based resources, and phone/email support.

Grants available

To participate in the program, GreenFaith offers a sliding scale fee, based on congregational size. To mark the launch of this collaboration, the Economic/Environmental Affairs Office and GreenFaith are underwriting 50% of the tuition of 30 churches nationwide, enabling selected churches to enroll for a total discounted cost of $250 – $750.

To apply, contact Schut at Application deadlines for tuition subsidies for the program are December 1, 2010 and February 1, 2011.

Next Steps

GreenFaith will offer a free hour-long webinar to help congregational leadership understand the program and to answer questions and address concerns. The schedule for the upcoming webinars is:

Monday, October 18, 7 pm and 9 pm Eastern (6 pm/8 pm Central, 5 pm/7 pm Mountain, 4 pm/6 pm Pacific)

Thursday, October 21, noon and 3 pm Eastern (11 am/2 pm Central, 10 am/1 pm Mountain, 9 am/noon Pacific)

Recordings of the webinars will be available online afterwards for those institutions that cannot participate.

To participate in the webinars, contact Stacey Kennealy,


Environmental resources from the Episcopal Church:


Green Faith:


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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer