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Energize Your Ministry, Become a Green Leader – and Save Money: The Episcopal Church-GreenFaith Partnership

April 13, 2011

By Michael Schut


Since last fall, the Episcopal Church has partnered with GreenFaith to offer tuition subsidies for Episcopal churches to enroll in the Green Certification Program, a unique 2-year environmental leadership program designed specifically for houses of worship.  And the evidence is mounting: Congregations engaging in this holistic program are finding that they engage and energize their members and care for Creation, while also reducing their operating expenses through energy conservation, discounted green purchasing opportunities and more.


Through the Episcopal Church-GreenFaith partnership, tuition for the program ranges between $250-$750, depending on your church’s budget size.  The Jubilee Ministry’s grant program is offering an additional $250-$500 to subsidize congregational participation in the program through their “Protecting God’s Creation Education Grants.” While the original  deadline for applications has now passed, applications will still be accepted and reviewed for possible funding.


To learn more about The Episcopal Church’s Economic and Environmental Affairs Office’s partnership with GreenFaith and tuition subsidies for Episcopal churches, click here. 


Jubilee and Creation Care


Jubilee Ministries, almost by definition, understand in their very bones that Jesus calls us to bind up the brokenhearted, bring good news to the poor, and release the oppressed. That call has been there since Jesus launched his ministry as described in Luke 4.


While the call has not changed, I think our awareness of the context has.  We know now that without clean air, our children suffer. We know now that without access to healthy food, our bodies suffer.  We know now that minority and lower-income communities are those most negatively impacted by ecological degradation. We know, in other words, that there is really very little separation between caring for people and caring for this Earth-home, between social and environmental justice.


GreenFaith’s Green Certification Program provides a roadmap and the support, resources, and mentoring to guide your ministries in the process of exploring and embodying this fundamental connectedness between caring for people and planet — after all, we are part of this miracle of a planet we call home.


The Program: An Overview


With the grant opportunity and tuition subsidy briefly described above, Jubilee Ministries now have an excellent opportunity to apply to this program.


Over the course of this two-year program participating congregations:

  • educate their members about environmental racism and injustice, build relationships with local environmental justice leaders, and advocate for a healthy environment
  • carry out environmentally-themed worship and education programs (for all ages)
  • ‘green’ their facilities and reduce operating expenses through energy conservation;
  • teach congregants to live ‘greener’ and healthier at home;
  • and, in the process, experience the transformation that comes from sharing a religious commitment to God’s good creation.


The certification program is well-supported by GreenFaith’s staff. Six webinars provide clergy and lay leaders with the tools they need to succeed; staff are available via phone and email to answer questions and brainstorm programmatic ideas. A password-protected website provides extensive resources to guide participants through the program’s requirements. And, congregations offer support to each other, sharing their experiences.


Launched in 2009, the Certification Program already has a strong track record of helping houses of worship from across the country.  One program participant called the program “Groundbreaking!  If you dream of becoming a congregation that puts Creation Care at the center of its agenda, this is the path you want to take!”


Jubilee Justice


Author and theologian Walter Brueggemann has said that Jubilee justice is “finding out what belongs to whom and giving it back.”


The Psalmist (24:1) reminds us rather matter-of-factly that the Earth belongs to God, simply stating, “The Earth is the Lord’s”.  Put alternatively, none of what we have is ours; all of life is a gift. The GreenFaith program is one concrete way to acknowledge that gift, and to discover ways to together care for the part of creation that your ministry and congregation impacts — to care for that which has always belonged to God.


All Saints, Hoboken, New Jersey


All Saints is an active parish in Hoboken, N.J., just across the river from Manhattan; it is also a Jubilee Ministry Center and will be applying to the Certification Program in May. All Saints’ rector, Geoff Curtiss, sees the program as a great opportunity for a variety of reasons:


“We see partnering with GreenFaith and their Green Certification Program as an important organizing tool. It will help our congregation not only address internal issues like energy use and becoming more ecologically responsible and aware, but also bring together in a common vision and direction our parish, our Jubilee Center after-school program and our Parish Day School. As a Jubilee Ministry Center the Certification Program will help us reach out within the larger community, particularly in the environmental justice arena, and so the Certification gives us both an outreach tool for the public life of our organization as well as an internal organizing tool that will guide our community advocacy and actions as well.”


Find out More


Participating in the GreenFaith Certification Program is an exciting opportunity.  Find out more about the collaboration between The Episcopal Church and GreenFaith, and also access the tuition assistance form here:


Stacey Kennealy directs the program.  Feel free to contact her at or Mike Schut of The Episcopal Church at

Michael Schut serves as the Economic and Environmental Affairs Officer of The Episcopal Church, following 11 years on the staff of Earth Ministry.  He has edited and partially authored three books/study guides: Money and Faith: The Search for Enough; Food and Faith: Justice, Joy and Daily Bread; and Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective (which won the second best “spiritual” book award by the Catholic Press Association in 2000).  He coordinates and provides resources for various eco-justice programs in the church and speaks and leads workshops/retreats connecting faith, justice, economics and ecology. He represented the Episcopal Church on a Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships White House Task Force on Environment and Climate Change. Michael has worked with homeless men, served as a Park Ranger, and led wilderness trips. He received his M.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon in 1993 and his B.S. in Biology in 1987 from Wheaton College in Illinois.  He likes to backpack, climb, sing, read, and spend time with his nephew, Carter. He lives in Seattle. 


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