The church has held numerous worship services related to the environment, Native American, and earth-based spiritual practices and has woven an environmental curriculum throughout the religious education program for children and youth of all ages. In fact, children voted ‘working on the environment’ as their top priority this year.
It worked with the NH Green Coalition, local Protestant churches, a Catholic church, and temple to create a multi-faith environmental worship service. It also offered a six-week curriculum-based discussion group and a speaker series on issues relating to environmental stewardship and climate change – both open to the public.
UUCM has been involved in social justice efforts that support disadvantaged individuals and families locally and around the world. Most recently, UUCM launched a multi-generational ongoing community service project, the Garden Box Project, through which children, youth, and adults from UUCM and the neighboring community are assisting local families in establishing raised gardens at their own residences to grow fruits and vegetables.
Also, when its partner church in Székely Szentmihály Romania experienced a severe flash flood that damaged much of the area, congregants raised funds to assist the villagers in rebuilding their homes and restoring their farms and gardens.
This past spring, UUCM, NH Green Coalition, Monadnock Energy Resources Initiative, and Hitchiner Manufacturing Co, Inc. co-hosted Button-Up, a free Level II weatherization workshop providing attendees with state-of-the-art, hands-on advice on how to make their homes more energy efficient and less expensive to run.
The church also conducted a hands-on environmental summer camp for UUCM children and their friends, drawing on David Gershon’s book Journey for the Planet: A Kid’s Five Week Adventure to Create an Earth-Friendly Life.
The UUCM church building, constructed between 1878 and 1888 of NH granite and fashioned after an English chapel, has undergone many environmental updates. Even the church grounds have been redesigned to incorporate hardy native plants and shrubs – reinforcing the New England character of the neighborhood while eliminating the need for watering systems, thereby conserving hundreds of gallons of water.
Many UUCM members and friends have made personal choices to decrease their carbon footprint. Families have had their homes energy audited and instituted measures to become more energy efficient. Some have instituted solar or photoelectric hot water systems, and others have invested in electric or hybrid cars.
UUCM continues its environmental efforts as part of its commitment to retaining this prestigious certification.