Unitarian Society of Germantown Upholds Its Creed to Respect Nature

By Gina Merlino

Religious groups voicing their stances on social issues is nothing new. But it is not often that we hear about their environmental work and opinions. Ecological responsibility has been slow to make a real impact on places of worship. However, there are signs that green spirituality is slowly growing. One such example is the Unitarian Society of Germantown (USG). Located in a tall, elegant cathedral set in a leafy suburb of northwest Philadelphia this congregation practices what they preach.

Unitarians are known as a progressive, spiritual group that embraces people of all faiths. The USG’s motto is “Building Beloved Community with Compassion, Service, and Empowerment”. The principles of the church are that compassion and dignity is evident in all human beings and all living creatures. They are not just about worship, but place importance on social action toward a range of issues. One of them is the environment. The USG has a Green Sanctuary Committee dedicated to acting on behalf of the climate.

They have also partnered with the Philadelphia chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) to address the issue of climate change. The CCL is a non-profit, grassroots organization that mobilizes volunteers to enact change in government and educate citizens. On CCL’s behalf, Green Sanctuary has hosted public talks on global warming and participated in a rally to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.

The more I read about USG, the more I came to admire and respect what USG does. They don’t just preach from the pulpit, they are active in the community. The congregation is passionate about making the world a better place.

A spokesperson for USG said, “We don’t have a creed, but we do follow the 7 principals and respect for nature is found in the last principal; respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.”

This is the type of outreach other churches can do. It is realistic and possible to make a difference. Nature benefits from groups of people coming together with a good purpose. Caring about the environment is a virtue, regardless of religious background.

Gina Merlino has a degree in philosophy and a Master’s in Engaged Humanities. She does freelance writing enjoys creating pieces about environmental issues. 

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