First Universalist Church
First Universalist Church has stood hand in hand with MNIPL at the forefront of climate justice work since the early 2000s. A generous grant from the First Universalist Church Foundation catalyzed the work of the Just Community Solar Coalition to build the Shiloh Temple Community Solar Garden. United by the mantra, “standing on the side of love,” members of First Universalist Church have been putting their faith in action on climate justice issues for 14 years. By helping to write the Statement of Conscience on Climate Change, members grounded their work around the core values of their faith as it relates to climate change.
At the center of their work, the Faithful Action Environmental Justice Group at First Universalist upholds a commitment to illuminate the ways climate and racial justice are interconnected, rather than separate problems. Education, discussion, advocacy, and an active membership in the Minnesota Universalist Unitarian Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA) support their efforts. Taking part in MNIPL’s Climate Conversations program also helped members who felt battered by the struggle to address these issue to reignite their passion for the work.
By making tangible changes in their own lives and within the congregation, members are embodying the change they wish to see. Recognition as a Green Sanctuary in 2011 sparked the first of two energy audits at First Universalist. Lighting systems will soon be completely LED, low-flow faucets are in place to reduce water use, and new windows plus thermostat limits on heat and cooling save both energy and money. A community solar garden is also in the works to provide affordable solar power to the building and faith community members.
Interested in learning more about First Universalist Church’s efforts to address climate justice issues? Read more about their story.