Green Sanctuary

A Greener Faith

Can a church be green? Is it possible to have a green faith? A visit to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Franklin, NC will give some clues. The Franklin Fellowship has been accredited by its denomination as a Green Sanctuary for its commitment to environmentally sound and sustainable policies and practices in all of its congregational decision-making. We received formal recognition in 2005 by the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Certified Green Sanctuary Congregation, joining a growing network of liberal religious churches who seek to act as trustees of the planet. Moreover, members are encouraged to visualize environmentally sound practices as a core value of the Fellowship.

We act on these commitments in a number of ways, including by:

  1. taking steps to make the church facility more energy efficient and by educating members about the importance of energy conservation;
  2. observing environmentally sound purchasing and investment practices, and
  3. working to protect and restore the environmental quality of the church grounds and that of the bioregion.

Many of the church members are active participants in local environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, the Western North Carolina Alliance, the Little Tennessee Watershed Alliance, and the Highlands Audubon Club; to name a few. After participating in a church-sponsored study of voluntary simplicity, Georgia members of the Fellowship founded Rabun Green, an environmental organization devoted to sustainable choices in the development of Rabun County.

Franklin Fellowship builds green sanctuary (link and page to be added)

The Purpose of the Green Sanctuary Initiative is to affirm and promote support for the interdependent web of existence. The goal of our Fellowship is to actualize our commitment to Earth by encouraging a sustainable lifestyle for our members as individuals and as a faith community. As we grow in faith and understanding, we hope that we can become a witness for sustainable living for others.

The Green Sanctuary Idea is constantly evolving as the Fellowship explores new expressions for living in harmony with the earth. After a recent growth spurt, members have committed to an expansion program reflecting their greener faith. The Franklin Fellowship has been located in a converted house in North Franklin just off Lakeside Drive since 1982. Members celebrated the 2008 New Year by tying a big red ribbon (recycled, of course) around their brand new circular sanctuary. Enclosed, but not yet completed, the 6000 square foot structure is being built according to “green” building standards and will demonstrate environmentally sensitive construction. It will use earth-friendly materials, promote water and energy efficiency, and will landscape with native vegetation. Its round design will reflect earth-centered traditions of spirituality.

Programs

  • Environmental Awareness: We promote awareness of sensitive environmental issues by sponsoring worship services and disseminating information through our newsletter, web page and the Environmental Education Center.
  • Sustainable Living: We sponsor field trips and forums on sustainable living programs and promote energy efficiency as a Fellowship and in our homes.
  • Environmental Action: We encourage linkage with environmental organizations and religious faiths committed to social justice and stewardship of this Earth, our home.
  • Covenant Groups: We sponsor monthly round table discussions and presentations exploring simpler, environmentally conscious lifestyles.
  • Habitat Reconstruction: We demonstrate sustainable landscaping practices and natural habitat development on the grounds of our Fellowship.