UU Ministry for the Earth

Marquette UUs work with a number of environmental action and justice groups within the greater community, as well as working to have our Meeting House in keeping with these principles.

Our denomination has programs and resources available to help us. The hyperlink at the top of the page will direct you to their website. Info below is background.

Connecting and inspiring an active community of UUs for environmental justice, spiritual renewal, and shared reverence for our Earth home.


We envision a world in which reverence, gratitude, and care for the living Earth are central to the lives of all people. Our purpose is to inspire, facilitate, and support personal, congregational, and denominational practices that honor and sustain the Earth and all beings. We affirm and promote the seven principles of the UUA, including: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Although the UU Ministry for Earth has close ties to the UUA, it is a separate not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization with an independent Board of Directors.
Supporting Our Work

As an independent non-profit organization, most of UUMFE’s funding comes from memberships, donations, grants, and resource sales. A special targeted gift, given to us through the UUA, supported the Program Associate in Environmental Justice position. All other UUMFE programs, projects, resources, and staff depend upon our own fundraising efforts. Here are the many ways you can support our work:

Become a member or renew, make a donation, purchase resources, and download the Environmental Justice Curriculum “Our Place in the Web of Life” on our Donate & Order page or download and print a form that you can mail to us.
Join the fifteen Parents for the Planet, a special giving level for people who can make gifts of $1,000 or more to UUMFE
Provide match money for the challenge grant to support UUMFE partnerships with Districts
Ask your congregation to have a special plate collection for UU Ministry for Earth
Volunteer to write a story about environmental justice work in your congregation
Ask how you can get involved with environmental justice in your community, your congregation, and your faith tradition

2011-12 Strategic Action Plan

Communication, Education, and Advocacy

Bring Earth justice education and action campaigns to our members and congregations
Help coordinate sharing of ideas and information across organizations and across congregations, districts, state networks, etc., by creating a shared network, both in-person and virtual through the web and social media
Create an advocacy coalition for environmental justice issues in collaboration with other Unitarian Universalist (UU) partners (including the UU Association, UU Service Committee, UU United Nations Office, State Legislative Ministries)in order to multiply our strengths as UUs by coordinating efforts, enabling a louder/more effective/more cohesive voice
Work with other UU partners to create materials for Earth Day use by congregations focused on water in 2011 and immigration in 2012
Convene a conversation with UU leaders about the congruence of environmental justice and anti-racism/anti-oppression and its implications for UU directions
Continue development of an Environmental Justice curriculum (piloted in 2010)
Participate in the Ethical Eating Statement of Conscience discussion at the 2011 General Assembly with a focus on environmental justice
Identify immigration as an environmental justice issue with a workshop at the 2011 General Assembly and continue the discussion through the 2012 General Assembly in Phoenix
Lift up the stories of successful congregational Earth justice projects
Continue working with Districts on bringing their environmental activists together for support and coordination


Encourage UUs and organizations at all levels to articulate UU theology, principles, and values around Earth ministry and to develop some common language to facilitate their environmental justice work
Create a ministerial advisory group to assist in building Earth ministry in the leadership of our faith, including clergy, seminarians, lay leaders, and educators
Acknowledge and address the despair that people feel when confronting the scope of environmental damage and help provide ways of working through it to constructive action


Serve as a resource for reporting and implementing the Green Revolution in Religion Business Resolution
Build a stronger volunteer network to help with UUMFE activities
Diversify the volunteer pool and Board by adding young adults and people of color
Monitor and support the Green Sanctuary listserv
Manage our financial resources responsibly

UU Ministry for Earth History

The concept began in 1989 with discussions about how to make the Seventh Principle of the UUA more central to members, congregations, and the Association. The first edition of the Green Sanctuary Handbook was published in 1991 blending religious celebrations, education, administration, and community action. In 1999, Rev. Fred Small inspired a national environmental program. In 2002, The Seventh Principle Project incorporated and the Green Sanctuary program began accrediting congregations. In 2005, the organization changed its name to Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth.

UUMFE was instrumental to the passage of the landmark 2006 Statement of Conscience on the Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change. In 2008, UUMFE gave the Green Sanctuary program to the UUA to administer and began refocusing on environmental justice while still providing support to congregations with their Earth ministry. In 2009, in partnership with the UU Office of Advocacy and Witness, Rowan Van Ness became the first Environmental Justice Program Associate in the Washington DC office as an employee of UUMFE. With the UUA reorganization in 2010, Rowan joined the Multicultural Growth and Witness team.

Timeline of UUMFE History

1989 General Assembly, in New Haven, Connecticut, introduces Unitarian Universalists to themes like ‘ecology theology’ and ‘environmental justice.’

1991 Seventh Principle Project publishes first edition of the Green Sanctuary Handbook, blending religious celebrations, religious education, church administration, and community action into one program. Bob Murphy, Rachael Stark, and Brian and Roxanne Reddington‐Wilde are the prophets responsible.

1993 Bob Murphy and Marjorie Bowens‐Wheatley introduce General Assembly resolution on Environmental Justice (adopted in 1994). Folk singer Jim Scott becomes the group’s musical ambassador.

1999 Fred Small issues inspirational call to action at General Assembly, Salt Lake City, energizing a new audience of UUs with the idea of a national environmental program. Gisela Bahr introduces a Study Action Issue on Responsible Consumption as a Moral Responsibility (adopted as a Statement of Conscience in 2001). Seventh Principle Project publishes the second, more comprehensive edition of the Green Sanctuary Handbook, edited by David Cockrell.

2001 Seventh Principle Project incorporates, is established as affiliate organization of the UUA, and hires Katherine Jesch as quarter‐time office manager and manager of the Green Sanctuary program.

2002 Katherine Jesch becomes Director of Environmental Ministry. Seventh Principle Project certifies first five congregations as Green Sanctuaries.

2003 Boston General Assembly, UUA answers Seventh Principle Project’s call to green Unitarian Universalist Annual Meeting.

2005 Seventh Principle Project becomes Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth (UUMFE).

2006 UUMFE leads in the passage of landmark Statement of Conscience on the Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change, marking the coming of age of environmental activism in our faith.

2008 Green Sanctuary Program management transfers to UUA. General Assembly, Ft. Lauderdale, selects Ethical Eating: Food and Environmental Justice as new Study Action Issue. UUMFE recommends Van Jones as Ware Lecturer. He issues inspiring call for environmental justice.

2009 UUMFE and UU Office of Advocacy and Witness jointly hire Rowan Van Ness as Program Associate for Environmental Justice. UUMFE publishes “Environmental Justice Green Papers” on-line. More than 100 congregations participate in 350 International Day of Climate Change.

2010 With UUA reorganization, Rowan Van Ness joins Multicultural Growth and Witness Team. Three Districts hold environmental conferences in conjunction with UUMFE. More than 150 congregations register their Earth Day activities. Ninety congregations participate in 10/10/10 Global Work Parties. UUMFE convenes UU partners to form Climate Justice Collaborative.