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You are here: Home » GreenFaith in the Media » Press Clips » Galloway Unitarian service and veggie burger cook-off pay tribute to water

Galloway Unitarian service and veggie burger cook-off pay tribute to water

By Steve Prisament
The Current of Galloway Township
Galloway Unitarian service and veggie burger cook-off pay tribute to water

Geraldine McCluskey of Galloway blends the water collected by congregation members during their travels near and far.


GALLOWAY - The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore celebrated the vital role of water in our lives and in the life of the planet with its annual water communion service Sunday, Sept. 8 led by Rev. Charlie Dieterich.

During the water communion, a Unitarian Universalist tradition, participants add water from recent travels to a common bowl, sharing the significance of the water. Each year, water from the previous year’s communion is also added to the bowl.

The water communion was followed by the congregation’s annual family picnic, which for the first time included a veggie burger cook-off to underscore the idea that a meatless diet consumes less water than a meat-based one.

The day’s events highlighted efforts by the congregation as it joins other faith communities in New Jersey in working toward the GreenFaith Water Shield, a national designation signifying that a faith-based institution has taken educational, spiritual and practical steps to conserve water, protect water quality and mobilize its members and the community to do the same. GreenFaith is a New Jersey-based interfaith coalition for the environment founded in 1992.

“Our Unitarian Universalist faith affirms our responsibility as stewards of the planet’s natural resources,” Dieterich said. “When we built our UU Center, we used many environmentally sustainable and low-impact elements including solar panels, a geothermal system, waterless urinals, products containing pre- and post-consumer recycled materials and native plantings. The Water Shield program is an effective way for UUCSJS to show leadership in the areas of water conservation and water quality protection.”

According to Steve Fiedler, Galloway, a member of the congregation’s Water Shield team, many congregants have signed the Water Shield “Household Water Pledge,” to reduce water consumption and protect water quality in their own lives by electing to make changes such as adopting “Meatless Mondays,” drinking tap water instead of bottled water, buying only biodegradable, vegetable-based cleaning products, and eliminating the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. “As part of the program, congregants also sanded and painted rain barrels to collect rain water for the building’s own native plant gardens and this fall, religious education classes on water are planned for children and adults.”

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at the center, 75 S. Pomona Road.

See For information about the Water Shield program, see

Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal denomination that welcomes people with diverse beliefs and life experiences, including a wide range of religious and non-religious backgrounds.

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