Green Congregation Challenge

What is the Green Congregation Challenge?

The Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ (SNEUCC)—which now includes Connecticut and Rhode Island, besides Massachusetts—is a leader in the environmental movement. Working with local congregations, church members, and other institutions, the SNEUCC empowers faith communities to “set attainable goals, experience success and build momentum”—through the Green Congregation Challenge.
Comprised of three levels—Level One, Level Two, and Level Three—the Green Congregation Challenge establishes necessary tasks towards accomplishing this goal. For each level completed, the participating church is recognized at an awards ceremony, standing from that time forward with other environmentally committed churches in the conference.
Each Level has a corresponding set of attainable goals. But though the goals for each level are achievable, the people of God must work together towards achieving them. Thus, each time a level is completed, it is rightly a time of congregational celebration – that honors God’s people as stewards and guardians of our community and planet earth.
Though involved in environmentally sound measures previously through Sustainable Winchester, in the Fall of 2017 and with the involvement ecologically minded members, FCC launched a Green Congregation Taskforce. Using the Green Congregational Challenge as a guidepost, the team worked with members of the Facilities Ministry and others to focus on energy minded goals that could be achieved, while lowering cost. To that end, studies and analyses were done to improve the lighting on our campus while working towards lowering costs.
With the buy-in from members of our congregation (while having a lot of fun too), on April 22, 2018, Earth Day Sunday, an Adopt a Light Initiative was held. With the success of this endeavor and other work, FCC was proud to be recognized for achieving Level One of the Green Congregation Challenge.
Since then, FCC has continued to work towards achieving Level Two and ultimately, Level Three of the Green Congregation Challenge. It is our hope to achieve Level Two by the end of this year, 2020.

To achieve Level One, we:

  • Hold an Annual Earth Day Service
  • Formed a “Green Team”
  • Recycle as much as possible
  • Broadcast and educate through offering resources and publishing upcoming events
  • Ask experts or hold a panel discussion on environmental topics (Oct. 2017, April 2018)
  • Participate in an event sponsored by 350.org
  • Conducted an energy audit of our church building
  • Put office machines on power strips
  • Replaced incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs
  • Installed energy-efficient lights/ballasts
 

Our work towards Level Two includes:

  • Installed occupant sensors and timers for lights in common areas,
  • Shifted church communications from paper to electronic,
  • Banned styrofoam, and shifted to reusable dishes/utensils,
  • Only run the dishwasher when full. Open the door and let air dry to save energy.
Two other requirements for Level Two to be completed online include:
  • Feature a family-oriented environmental film or documentary to congregation
  • A fun group discussion on an environmental topic (such as the merits of composting or a demonstration of vegetarian cooking)

Using the 2019 Addendum to the Green Congregation Challenge requirements, the three requirements that FCC is working toward or have satisfied are:

  • Promoting the UCC Creation Care Voter Project to church members…especially in this election year.
  • A highly comprehensive energy audit was done in March of 2019 (through Mass Interfaith Power and Light), and a report was issued and made available to Bruce Alexander and Ed Banzy.
  • Information Session on solar panels (provided as an 11th Hour presentation in April of 2019).

Learn more about the Green Congregation Challenge

Read about our Environmental Stewardship Assessment.

Learn more about Environmental Justice.