The Congregational Church of Needham has been recognized as a Level One Green Church by the Massachusetts conference of the United Church of Christ. This designation, presented at the conference’s 2012 Annual Meeting, was earned through the efforts of the Congregational Church’s Environmental Ministry Team. The Church was one of six local churches who were the first in the state of Massachusetts to receive this certification.
The Church’s qualifying environmental activities and achievements included the following:
- Insulation and installation of CFL’s throughout church property with the assistance of NSTAR.
- Installation of 4 compost caddies in the two church kitchens as well as a large outdoor compost bin that collects coffee grounds, plant material and food waste.
- Establishment and promotion of October and May as walk or bike to church month.
- Encouragement of church members to sign the Vision Statement for a Walkable America – promoting health, economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and social equity.
- Installation of a new bike rack on the church grounds.
- Needham in Motion: In May 2010, the Church logged the highest number of walking and biking miles of any community group – 1400 miles!
- Organization of “Climate Change Cafés”: welcoming, educational/discussion forums held two to three times annually. Presentations have included showing films such as Renewal and The Story of Stuff, hosting representatives from Citizens Climate Lobby and writing letters to our representatives, presenting “Made in God’s Image – Why our personal care choices matter”.
- Participation in Green Needham Collaboratives 10% Challenge, bronze level: promotion of Home MassSAVE Energy Audits for church members.
- Collection of used cell phones to be recycled to the benefit of Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Celebration of Earth Day with packets of flower and lettuce seeds for church members.
Since being recognized as a Green Church, the Environmental Ministries Team at the Congregational Church of Needham has continued in its mission with programs on Biking and Bike Maintenance, Sustainability and Social Justice and exuberant participation in the US Conference of the United Church of Christ 4/1 Earth Mission.
The Congregational Church’s Environmental Ministries Team also participates in Green Needham’s Interfaith Environmental Group. Made up of representatives from similar groups in several Needham houses of worship, the group meets several times a year to share experiences and ideas that help advance the work of all the groups. The Interfaith Group led the Fields Recycling Pilot project and the group’s members have been leaders in engaging their congregations in Green Needham’s community-wide initiatives.