Members of The Hopedale Unitarian Universalist (HUU) congregation are not only devoted to providing welcoming religious and spiritual inspiration to all people, but also dedicate time to steward and take care of the environment. The congregation is the first Unitarian-Universalist congregation in Ohio to receive the denomination’s official recognition as a Green Sanctuary. The Green Sanctuary Program accredits UU congregations committed to environmental stewardship and creating a sustainable lifestyle for members of the specific faith community. This Green Sanctuary creates a harmonious bond between religion and the environment that cares for the Earth.
Hopedale UU member, Orie Loucks, started the movement for more environmentally friendly attitudes decades ago when he was an ecologist and taught at several different universities. His studies of botany, forestry, and zoology inspired a passion for the care of nature and environmental stewardship and his experience led him to believe that “the religious community may be the strongest force for how we view the environment.” Through his commitment, Hopedale UU has been able to make great strides as a Green Sanctuary congregation.
Hopedale UU has worked on several projects in the past few years, showing its continuing support for a healthier environment.
- Web of Life Sundays:The church devoted 5 Sundays in 2012 in the June and July months to help people understand their place in life. By exploring environmental impacts and the consciousness of current ethics, they discuss common values and possibilities of how to improve environmental injustice.
- Interfaith Climate Change Work Group: Orie Loucks represents this group in Oxford and is working on energy conservation and reducing carbon footprints. Last year, the Green Screen series had several movies that explored big changes in our environment and where we might be headed if we continue our current exploitation techniques.
- In affiliation with Habitat for Humanity and Gathering to Give, Hopeale congregational members work to help promote Economic Justice.
The success of Hopedale UU has been astonishing. This congregation is not only environmentally friendly, but welcomes people with trust and support. Their biggest accomplishment is bringing together faith and the environment and spreading inspiration and knowledge throughout the religious community. Hopedale UU members are doing their best to make improvements everyday and promote stewardship of the Earth and all its creatures by making it a better place to live.
This Congregational Highlight was contributed by Elwonger Payton, OSU student