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You are here: Home » GreenFaith in the Media » Press Clips » United by Faith Works Towards GreenFaith Certification

United by Faith Works Towards GreenFaith Certification

Synod News-Metropolitan Synod of Chicago

United by Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Evergreen Park, Illinois, is working towards the GreenFaith Certification Program.


United By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church envisions a community where God’s creation is
enjoyed, lived, and sustained as it was meant to be “in the beginning”
(Supported by a grant from GreenFaith and Lutherans Restoring Creation).

United By Faith Evangelical Lutheran, Evergreen Park, Ill., is one of 11 new congregations nationwide that has been accepted into the GreenFaith Certification Program ( At this time, it is also the only ELCA congregation participating in this program in which religious institutions of all faiths and denominations commit to being leaders in environmental stewardship.

During a two-year period, participants engage in a variety of initiatives to be more environmentally conscious within the walls of their spiritual community, to deepen the
awareness in their congregation of the relationship between their spiritual beliefs and environmental responsibility, and to provide youth and adult education on how individuals can live in greater harmony with the creation.

United by Faith has been working toward becoming the first totally green congregation in the community by 2017. Among other things, with the help of staff and volunteers, the congregation has switched all of their light bulbs, eliminated Styrofoam dinnerware in the church and day care (eventually converting to reusable dishes), use green cleaning
products, and compost (including paper towels). Members are looking at installing solar panels in the near future.

An initial big step toward greening, which has subsequently expanded, was to create an organic United By Faith works toward GreenFaith certification The living labyrinth at United By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Evergreen Park, Ill. CommUnity Garden that uses no
pesticides and provides vegetables for their day care and local food pantries. Manual labor and corn gluten keep down weeds, and the Village of Evergreen Park has been generous in
supplying mulch.

They currently have 17 raised boxes that they rent, in addition to a
“living labyrinth.” The congregation has two master gardeners. One is a butterfly gardener who shared specific perennials to attract butterflies to the labyrinth. The master gardeners provide three to four educational events over the summer to assist in organic gardening. In addition, every fall the congregation hosts the Harvest Fest for the community, and it will be tripling the number of rain barrels to reduce water consumption.

United by Faith’s learning hours have been used to educate people about the environment, including films and “eco-tips” for both the congregation and day care. Newsletter articles and the pastor’s sermons explore care of creation throughout the year.

The congregation is excited that becoming totally green is a dream that can become a reality in a few more years. Members hope that with the collaboration of the GreenFaith Certification Program, their reality will be even more doable as they connect with other congregations and everyone works together toward becoming, once again, the creation that God intended “in the beginning ....”

For more information about United By Faith’s participation in the GreenFaith Certification Program, contact Bonnie Osborne, director of operations, at the church office (708-422-6301 or

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