Main Line Unitarian Church
In the Main Line Unitarian Church of Devon, Pennsylvania, social activism among the congregants comes naturally. The congregation has a long tradition of social justice advocacy and organization, and a broad range of active committees working on issues from fighting racism to just foreign policy to helping the local homeless. So after members of the church listened to Rev. Fred Small at a rally in front of the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., and learned a bit about their own state’s role in global warming, it was only natural that they would transmit their ideals into action with the creation of a Green Sanctuary Task Force to combat carbon dioxide pollution.
Pennsylvania alone produces one percent of the world’s carbon dioxide production annually with its coal-fed electricity plants: the type of plant responsible for 40 percent of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. These facts horrified the Green Sanctuary members of MLUC, but also spurred them to action on a wide range of fronts. The group organized tours of alternative “Trash-to-Steam” plants; hosted speakers on diverse ecological topics; encouraged congregants in everyday environmentalism through a monthly church newsletter column; participated in public protests and petition drives and key activist organizing summits; and influenced church procedures for recycling and the procurement of environmentally-just goods. But perhaps the most significant accomplishment of the Green Sanctuary team was successfully switching Main Line Unitarian Church to 100 percent wind energy: a significant move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and a powerful model for other members of the community considering such a change.
As a practical measure to help subsidize the added costs of wind energy, MLUC conducted an energy audit and implemented further conservation efforts by switching to energy-efficient lighting and exit signs, upgrading appliances, and holding church sales of energy efficient lighting for church members’ private homes. As one of the first churches in Pennsylvania to switch to total wind energy, MLUC was honored repeatedly as a “Green Hero,” a “Green Religious Buyer,” and was among the first member churches of the Unitarian-Universalist Association to receive the distinction of Green Sanctuary recognition. In addition to the church itself, 47 households in the MLUC operate their own homes with wind energy.
Not resting with their commitment to the environmentally-sound energy source, MLUC also campaigned tirelessly for Wind Power, performing numerous public presentations on the topic and sponsoring wind energy education displays and lectures at MLUC’s own Earth Fest 2003: the church’s noted Earth Day celebration, which was widely lauded as the best regional Earth Day event in 20 years. Over 1,000 visitors and 80 exhibitors came through the church that day to participate in Earth Fest, and the effort and innovation displayed led several new families to join Main Line Unitarian Church: a congregation dedicated and actively working to leave its children a cleaner world.
Main Line Unitarian Church
816 S. Valley Forge Rd.
Devon, PA 19333
Phone: (610) 688-8332