Church of the Presentation, Upper Saddle River First Catholic Parish in the U.S. to Receive GreenFaith Sanctuary Designation

Top Quote Church of the Presentation, Upper Saddle River, NJ was inspired to embark on a two year, rigorous environmental and spirituality process. It will be named the first Catholic parish in the United States to receive the distinction of being a GreenFaith Sanctuary. This process grew from belief in the sacredness of God's creation and the need to put faith in action thru environmental stewardship. End Quote
  • Bergen-Passaic, NJ (1888PressRelease) October 15, 2013 - The Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey will become the first Catholic parish in the United States to be certified as a GreenFaith Sanctuary, and the largest religious institution of any denomination to receive this distinction.

    The GreenFaith designation acknowledges religious-environmental leaders who have carried out a range of initiatives to integrate environmental themes into their worship, religious education for adults and children, facility maintenance as well as social outreach actions over a two-year period.

    The Church of the Presentation entered into the rigorous GreenFaith certification process because it aligns with our beliefs that a Creator God has called us to be responsible stewards for our planet's ongoing health and life.

    A GreenFaith Team was established to organize and track progress toward the requirements for the GreenFaith certification designation. These requirements were focused on three categories: Spirit, Stewardship, and Environmental Justice plus an active internal and external communication commitment. Subcommittees were created for each of these areas.

    The Spirit Subcommittee undertook fostering eco-themed worship services each year, along with other spiritually related activities. Three classes were designed for various age groups - adults, teenagers and children in the various religious education programs. Outdoor religious environmental activities were held by a number of groups in the community of nearly 4,000 families.

    The Stewardship Subcommittee oversaw the integration of environmental conservation and the use of environmentally sensitive products. This included a focus on energy, food, water, waste, toxics, and transportation along with ground maintenance initiatives in all of these areas. The parish has undertaken a number of initiatives such as installing solar panels on the roof of the church, putting in eco-friendly and energy-efficient bathroom facilities, and lessening the use of styrofoam and plastic water bottles. The church also boasts the installation of five beehives on church property.

    The Environmental Justice Ministry (EJ) brought EJ education programs to the parish as well as participation in advocating for environmental justice on a regional and international level. "While we have been blessed by the rich resources and bounty of our nation, we have come to confess that it is often our consumer-driven ways that result in the impoverishment of those whose natural resources are being over-used or destroyed," Father Bob emphasized.

    "The Green Team approach attempts to educate Presentation parishioners about the religious principles and ethical and moral implications that will help us to continue to become more conscious of the sacredness of the Earth as God's creation. It strives to make our parish more aware of its responsibilities to protect our environment for future generations," continued Father Bob.

    The GreenFaith Sanctuary certificate will be presented to the Church of the Presentation parish by a representative of GreenFaith at the 11:30 a.m. Liturgy, Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River on October 20, 2013.

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