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You are here: Home » GreenFaith in the Media » Press Clips » Holy Family Steps Up Its 'Green' Efforts

Holy Family Steps Up Its 'Green' Efforts

By Jim Neal, Op-Ed

Episcopal Church of the Holy Family wrote an Op-Ed article describing the Certification Program and their advocacy efforts


On Aug. 1, the Times-News reported that the Episcopal Church of the Holy Family hosted an immigration forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters. The article was a good report, except it should be noted that Holy Family, not the League, sponsored the forum. The League had been invited to give one of its presentations on the subject.

Holy Family member Michele Burnette chaired the committee that planned this event, publicized it with 40 posters in various businesses in the area and invited the LWV and panelists.

The idea for this forum came as result of Burnett leading a church group study on “Becoming the Church Together: Immigration, the Bible, and Our New Neighbors.”

The Episcopal Church of the Holy Family has entered a GreenFaith Certification Program and must complete 45 requirements over a two-year period to obtain the Green-Faith Certification. Holy Family established a Green Team to accomplish the requirements in three core areas: 25 requirements in stewardship, 11 in spirit and nine in justice.

Burnett discussed the idea of sponsoring an educational forum with the Green Team, which concurred and added the idea of obtaining signatures on cards to be sent to our U.S. congressman and senators urging them to become active in passing immigration reform in order to aid our country’s agriculture industry. We expect this event to count as an education event and an advocacy event in the justice area for GreenFaith Certification as we obtained signatures on 21 cards for Sen. Kay Hagan, Sen. Richard Burr and Congressman Heath Shuler. Earlier, Holy Family completed another justice advocacy requirement by submitting 59 signatures on a petition to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urging it to move the Safe Chemical Act out of committee to the Senate Floor for action. Fifty signatures were required for the petition to qualify as a justice advocacy action.

The GreenFaith Certification Program is a two-year environmental leadership program for houses of worship. GreenFaith provides guidance, mentoring and resources to help take “green” efforts to the next level.

When churches begin the program, they audit their facilities and programs using templates that GreenFaith provides, then create an action plan. They can “green” their facilities by saving energy and water, using non-toxic cleaning and maintenance practices, increasing recycling and by offering healthy, sustainable food to members and guests.

Churches conduct environmentally themed worship services and education for children, teens and adults. They advocate for a healthier environment for vulnerable communities. They conduct interfaith programming and share their progress with the media. As a result, they not only save money and achieve significant environmental projects but also experience the revitalization that comes from a deep commitment to caring for Creation.

Holy Family is one of 12 churches that started the GreenFaith program at the beginning of this year, joining 33 already in the program. All faiths are invited to become part of the program, and there are 15 Jewish and several Christian denominations seeking certification. Holy Family is one of two Episcopal Churches in North Carolina in the program. GreenFaith’s mission is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership. Our work is based on beliefs shared by the world’s great religions — we believe that protecting the Earth is a religious value and that environmental stewardship is a moral responsibility.

Jim Neal is the Green Team leader for the GreenFaith Certification Program at Episcopal Church of the Holy Family in Mills River.

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