Have you ever participated with a group to draft a vision and mission statement? The process can be meaningful and arduous. The final product is, of course, intended to guide the group’s energy and efforts. Some groups do a better job than others at keeping their vision and mission at the center of their work.

After a relatively painless process, the Climate Action Team revised its guiding document last spring, and we added a statement of values to the vision and mission statements. One of those values is: “We are grounded in partnership and collective action. We know that individual choices are not enough; it is only through partnership and collective action that we can save our biosphere.”

Lofty, aspirational language is a hallmark of such statements. Enacting the aspirations with intention is the challenge, and the Climate Action Team is doing just that. On Feb. 7, we hosted 13 green team members from Morningside Presbyterian Church and Oakhurst Presbyterian Church to share details about our work and about our building renovation. My co-leader Nicole Haines and I met the group for lunch, and then we all joined operations director Bryce Thomason and Project Phoenix member DeAnn Peterson for a tour of the campus. 

“All of us enjoyed the tour and appreciate the time your team took in showing us all the innovative ways you made the church yours,” Morningside’s Linda Sweum shared. “The steps taken to be energy efficient are impressive.”

“What amazing things you have done to transform your building into an incredible UUCA worship center,” added Morningside’s Jeanne McCarthy  “I enjoyed the entire day – lunch, meeting your staff, taking copious notes… the detailed history of your journey to this new location, the eco-friendly additions, the site, the columbarium, the charging stations… I could go on. One thing that I am most grateful for is meeting all of you and looking forward to more connections, ideas, endeavors, and friendships.”

The connections are already in play. For example, Jeanne and our own Pat Russell work together as members of the Earth Mamas group. That group researched and produced a useful actions list that we featured in this blog last fall. Members of our team traveled to Morningside last spring for a documentary screening hosted by Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, and some of us vanpooled this summer to tour a recycling facility with Morningside members and others from a dozen metro congregations.

We’re looking forward to rejoining some of these new friends at GIPL’s Feb. 26 Green Team Summit. This year, our Climate Action Team is a non-profit sponsor of the summit, and we’ll host a table and present on a panel. Before that, though, we have members who will participate in the Feb. 21 Capitol Conservation Day and lobby state legislators to support clean water initiatives and other conservation efforts.

We had CAT representatives at the Feb. 16 campus gardening and landscaping team meeting and look forward to collaborating on garden planning and planting. We are working with church staff to secure recycling carts from DeKalb’s sanitation division, and we’ve engaged a county commissioner to help. CAT members Julie Simon and Bert Pearce are analyzing church utility usage to provide accountability figures as part of the Southface grants they helped secure for energy efficiency measures. Our collaboration continues in a new direction this spring as the Climate Action Team takes on a central role in programming April’s congregational retreat at The Mountain.

We’re making a concerted effort as individuals and as a group to live our values, and we value partnership and teamwork. We’re thrilled that new folks have found their way to this work over the past six months, and we invite you – UUCA member or not – to join the Climate Action Team and to be a part of collective action that enables positive change. 

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JOIN US: The Climate Action Team extends a radical welcome to activists, contemplatives, readers, meditators, questioners, tree hugging hippies, scientists, policy wonks, radicals, pacifists, nature enthusiasts, and all who seek community as we navigate our changing times together. Contact Nicole Haines to connect to the CAT. Join us via Zoom on Monday, Feb. 20, at 7:30 PM. Learn more about the CAT here.

READ UP: Our peer-to-peer lending library boasts over 80 titles that cover a broad spectrum of environmental, climate, and ecospirituality topics. Review the list, schedule an exchange with the book owner, and cozy up with a book worth reading!

FUNDS AVAILABLE: The Carbon Offset Fund is now ready to offer grants. Read more here and consider working with another member or church group to prepare a grant request. The process is simple!