Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth

Seven key principles guide the Unitarian Universalist tradition, and can be found infused in the daily life of UU Congregations. This is certainly the case at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Duluth (UUCD) where members take seriously their commitment to live out those principles.


Balancing the teachings of each principle means recognizing the interdependence of all things, including social, political, ethical, cultural, and environmental issues. Connecting the first and seventh principles , Rev. Bruce Johnson said, “We still need to hold in balance the value of the individual soul, and to see human beings for the good we can do without being blind to the damage we can do.” For Rev. Johnson, the values of justice, equity, and compassion are all pieces of a mosaic necessary to address the root causes of climate change and build the the just, beautiful world we know is possible. UUCD members are responding to the impacts of climate change and living out our shared potential to build a more just and sustainable world through green building design, education, and more.

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11,000 square feet of soil and native grasses on the green roof embrace UUCD’s Green Sanctuary, absorbing 70% of rainfall to reduce runoff and providing insulation. The green roof was designed as a future solar array site, with the potential to generate enough energy to cover the congregation's need. Building materials, such as low-VOC surface coatings, energy efficient windows, and a waste-reducing kitchen also contribute to the building’s green design.

As you step outside, UUCD's richly wooded outdoor sanctuary serves as an intentional space for all life to cohabitate. Venture further and you'll find a pond that absorbs water runoff before entering the Chester Creek watershed. And try though you might, you won't find a visible parking lot; one of the most innovative green design features places a parking garage underneath the building!

The efforts made to creatively address climate change also provide educational opportunities. Biology students at St. Scholastica partner with UUCD to observe wildlife on the property, study native prairie grasses, and learn about the unique ecosystems that we can nurture and enrich. Additionally, members of the Climate Action Team sponsored community-wide forums in partnership with MNIPL’s Arrowhead Regional Network, connecting climate change, justice, and faith.

UUCD members are living out their intentions to do good and play a part in addressing climate change by taking practical, spiritual, and systemic action. Read more about their green building design and watch a video about the green roof project!