Parsippany's St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church is upping its commitment to the planet: The congregation, already involved in ecological works of service, has applied for GreenFaith certification.
GreenFaith is a New Jersey-based organization that offers a two-year environmental leadership program for houses of worship from all faiths and throughout the nation. Faith groups must survive a rigorous two-year program to earn the the certification—only 10 so far have done so.
The program guides faith communities through green-facility upgrades, incorporation of environmental principles into worship and religious education, and participation in environmental justice efforts.
St. Gregory's vicar, the Rev. Susan Saucedo-Sica, said that becoming GreenFaith certified dovetails perfectly with her progressive and inclusive church's priorities.
“The Episcopal Church has a longstanding commitment to the environment,”
said Sica. “Saint Gregory’s looks forward to joining the GreenFaith-certified
institutions that have become environmental leaders in their communities”, she added.
The South Beverwyck Road church already boasts a community garden, which is open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis, giving area residents the opportunity to grow their own local organic produce. The church recently installed energy-efficient windows and, as part of its Easter season worship, distributes eco-friendly palm branches on Palm Sunday.
A year ago, St. Gregory's served as a base for local homeowners interested in obtaining information on how to go solar.
To earn GreenFaith certification, Saint Gregory’s will work to improve its building and grounds, reducing waste and energy use, and working environmental lessons into its worship and educational programs.
Rev. Sica emphasized that environmental stewardship is an important part of her church’s work.
“The preservation of earthly resources is not only consistent with religious teachings, but is essential to fulfilling our mission,” she said.
“We’re very excited about ‘greening our church’”, said church member Karen Stoia, who is leading the church’s certification efforts. "Changing our practices and upgrading our facilities will be difficult, but our congregation
is up for the challenge.”
Anyone interested in joining Saint Gregory’s Church in its efforts to earn the
environmental certification or interested in participating in its community garden can contact Rev. Sica at 973-887-5879.