Justice & Sustainability
We invite you to join with us in living out our Unitarian Universalist principles to treat others with respect and dignity, work for justice, and respect the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.
Social justice activities
Our church has long supported civil rights for members of the LGBTQ community. In 1997 the congregation voted unanimously to become a Welcoming Congregation and an LGBTQ support group, Interweave, was formed.
More recently, dozens of same-sex ceremonies have been performed in our sanctuary since marriage equality was established in Iowa, congregation members turn out in strong numbers each year at the annual Pride celebration, and we continue to educate ourselves and others about LGBTQ issues.
Social justice outreach & education
Congregation members provide direct assistance to the community in a variety of ways, which include serving meals through the Free Lunch Program, supporting immigrant families with basic needs, and contributing many hours of labor during Days of Service. We are also involved in efforts to educate ourselves and others about issues of concern, including racial justice, immigrant and refugee rights, and issues related to wealth disparities.
Financial support for community partners
Each week our Sunday service cash offerings and designated checks are donated to a community partner organization. We support a single partner for an entire month, and in months with a fifth Sunday we contribute to a special project, such as support for our partner church in Romania or funds to assist protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline. In addition, our Social Justice Action committee responds to many ad hoc requests for community assistance via the Social Justice Action Fund.
Green Sanctuary initiatives
The congregation was officially recognized as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Association in 2017. The certification process involved several years of preparatory work, followed by a thorough evaluation by an accreditation committee.
As a Green Sanctuary congregation, we are committed to continually educating ourselves on ways to live in greater harmony with the Earth, while creating projects in the following four focus areas:
Sustainable living requires us to treat the world more gently by using fewer resources and being mindful of the choices we make. Our commitment to this ideal led us in 2017 to build the “greenest church in Iowa.” Our facility incorporates many sustainable building techniques, is powered largely by solar and geothermal energy, and is surrounded by woodlands that we actively conserve for natural habitat.
- Green building details
- The story of co-creating the “greenest church in Iowa”
- Map of our outdoor spaces (PDF)
Recognizing that marginalized communities are often hit first and hardest by environmental crises, we commit to working in solidarity with communities most affected by climate change. One of our ongoing projects is to send teams to directly assist with the Chico Mendes reforestation project in Guatemala.
Eco-centered worship & celebration
As we work together towards a cleaner, more just and sustainable world, worship enables us to stay connected to each other and to celebrate the work we have accomplished. We annually celebrate Earth Day, and environmental themes are frequently featured and woven into our services. We also support an active chapter of Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPs), an earth-centered spirituality group that conducts frequent rituals, celebrations, and workshops.
Nature-based religious education
Religious education shapes the attitudes and practices of children, families and the entire adult congregation while inspiring us to keep working toward our goal of sustainable practices. Our religious education classes often use our ten-acre woodland property as an outdoor learning environment, and lessons, activities, and field trips frequently center around nature-based themes.