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Program requirements and logistics

How do we report our institution’s progress to GreenFaith?

Two times per year, participating institutions must submit Progress Reports to GreenFaith. Upon their acceptance into the Program, participating institutions will be given a timeline and calendar that includes the Progress Report deadlines.

For the first Progress Report in year 1, participating institutions must complete the appropriate forms and submit the following additional items:

  • Mission Statement
  • Communications Plan
  • Audit Results
  • Action Plan
  • Letter to the Denomination’s Regional Leader Highlighting Acceptance into the Program
  • Newsletter Article Highlighting Acceptance into the Program
  • For the subsequent Progress Reports, there are no strict guidelines for what can be submitted. However, institutions must submit materials indicating their progress at each deadline. GreenFaith will not accept all Program materials from an institution at the final deadline.

How much work does the GreenFaith Certification Program require?

The GreenFaith Certification Program is designed for institutions willing and able to make a substantial commitment towards religious-environmental work over a two-year period. To complete the Program successfully requires consistent work and cooperation among various members of your institution.

GreenFaith provides a recommended timeline for completing the various Program requirements, and the institution’s Green Team is expected to meet approximately once every 6 weeks. Two Progress Reports per year must also be submitted to GreenFaith. For a more detailed explanation of the work involved with the GreenFaith Certification Program, see the Process and Requirements page.

GreenFaith understands that the environment is a new area of activity for most religious institutions, and that the Program requires efforts in unfamiliar areas. GreenFaith is committed to providing you with the resources and support you need to make this program a success in your setting. We know that the Program is achievable, and that it brings renewed vision and energy into religious institutions.

What if an institution takes longer than two years to complete the program?

Experience has taught GreenFaith that a focused approach encourages the emergence of strong religious-environmental leadership. For this reason, GreenFaith asks participating institutions to be prepared to make the Program a major focus of its efforts over a 2-year period. To ensure that institutions are prepared for this commitment, GreenFaith requires a resolution from the governing board, evidence of public statements of support from the ordained leader, and the completion of a Green Team Commitment Form prior to accepting institutions into the Program.

GreenFaith also realizes that at times, unexpected circumstances come to pass which require religious institutions to respond. If a participating institution experiences such a circumstance, GreenFaith will gladly consider granting an extension. Examples of circumstances warranting an extension include an unanticipated change in clergy leadership, a major life change with two or more Green Team leaders, or damage to the institution’s facilities that require major repairs or renovation. However, GreenFaith will generally not grant extensions if an institution loses interest after a portion of the Program timeframe, or if an institution decides to adopt another major programmatic focus after entering the Program.

In many institutions, it takes one or more years to build interest and commitment around the GreenFaith Certification Program. This commitment is critical to finishing the Program within the two year timeframe. For institutions which are beginning to build this interest and commitment, we recommend that you tackle several environmental projects successfully and then look into the Certification Program. GreenFaith's website provides many resources and activities to help you with this.

Why is there one set of requirements for religious institutions of different sizes, denominations, and locations?

GreenFaith has worked with religious institutions of many different traditions, sizes and settings. We have developed and tested ‘greening’ strategies that work in these diverse settings. While the requirements are specific, GreenFaith has sought to make them adaptable to many settings. GreenFaith has also designed the Program to allow participating institutions to meet Program requirements in a manner best suited to their own circumstances.  The Program currently includes a diverse range of institutions, from a 4,000 member church to an 16 member church, and a wide range of denominations and geographic locations. 

Can our institution get credit for work that we completed before joining the Program?

Yes.  GreenFaith does give credit for selected Stewardship requirements - those requirements dealing with 'greening' of building operations - that were completed in the past. However, all educational, Spirit and Justice requirements must be carried out within the Program’s two year timeframe.  We want those educational and spiritual efforts to be ongoing and fresh, and therefore we cannot accept past efforts unless it continues to this day (e.g. an environmental religious education class offered every year).

Will the GreenFaith Certification Program require our institution to be involved in politics?

GreenFaith believes that political advocacy is an important and integral part of building an environmentally sustainable and just world. The Program does require some form of environmental advocacy, particularly in relation to creating healthy environments for minority and low-income communities which usually suffer the worst effects of pollution. However, we understand that some institutions are uncomfortable with highly political activities, so to make this requirement flexible we do not dictate the issue nor the specific activity centered around advocacy – and we provide resources and support to help your team in crafting advocacy activities that work best for your particular institution.

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