We at Unity Center of Peace have adopted Unity’s EarthCare Initiative with enthusiasm. We have established an Earthcare Team, led UCP member, Tom Hoban, who brings his expertise as Professor of Environmental Studies at Elon University here in North Carolina. The team is passionately supported by a significant percentage of our membership. Our congregation inspires us regularly with new ideas for how we can become more earth-friendly. After the team was launched, we dedicated the month of September to the idea of “Loving Our Planet” and wove talks and presentations around this topic (you can find them archived under Past Services.) The month ended with an EarthCare Covenant Service where we ceremonially agreed to, and signed, the EarthCare Covenant that we had developed under the direction of our EarthCare Team. Below is our Covenant.
Our consciousnes reveals that all of creation is connected as one. The story of creation reveals our role as good caregivers. As a people committed to spiritual awakening, we pledge now to renew our reverence for life and to respect the interdependent web of all existence.
We honor our sacred promise to balance our individual needs with those of nature. We envision a world in which everything has intrinsic value, and where all beings are assured a secure and meaningful life that is ecologically responsible and sustainable.
We agree to align our individual and shared lives in a way that demonstrates our respect for our planet and for each other. We vow to walk upon the Earth for the greatest good of all creation.
The covenant is signed by Rev. Victoria Loveland-Coen, Rev. Rosemary Hyde, Tom Hoban, Melanie Caron (representing the Board of Trustees) and Daniel Mora (representing the Youth Team). It hangs proudly in our foyer.
As part of our EarthCare Initiative, here are the steps that are now underway at UCP:
A. Pray/Vision/Commit. Unity Center of Peace’s EarthCare Team has reflected on, visioned and defined an EarthCare Covenant. That covenant was officially signed by both our Ministers, a Board of Trustees representative Tom Hoban, our EarthCare Team Ambassador and a representative of our youth team, before the entire congregation on September 29th, 2019. Our congregation affirmed their agreement to this covenant.
B. Mindful Eating: We have established a CSA program at Unity Center of Peace. After each Sunday service local farmer, Doug Jones, provides us with fresh, local, organic vegetables every week, year round. Our team is Marlene Medina with Farmer Doug Jones.
C. Waste Minimization. In collaboration with other Chapel Hill spiritual communities and the Orange County Waste Disposal Service, we are establishing a Zero-Waste program. Part of this program is to educate our congregation on how to reduce, recycle, reuse, as well as compost 100% of products used. This will reduce polluting landfill use to almost zero— eliminating one of the biggest sources of climate changing methane emissions from our portion of planet Earth.
D. Interdependent Web of Creation. Our Homestead Road Cleanup commitment. Four times a year, our spiritual community is committed to remove all waste from along a major street in our neighborhood, Homestead Road. In collaboration with Orange County, this cleanup contributes significantly to protecting our local wildlife from toxicity and injury from a wide range of discarded industrial products.
We are also home to sacred spaces including a labyrinth and medicine wheel for individuals and groups to reflect, pray and walk in reverence with Mother Earth.
E. Recycling/Conservancy of Natural Resources. We are committed to protecting our environment here at our spiritual family's building and grounds, as well as educating our community. This initiative includes using only recyclable and compostable disposable items, replacing all single use items with reusable ones, and sharing this policy with all of our renters, and anyone who uses our building and grounds.
F. Share. Unity Center of Peace is part of the Unity Ministers of the Mid-Atlantic States sub-region (consisting of approximately 50 Unity centers) which meet twice a year, and hosts an annual retreat for all members. This year we passionately shared our community’s commitment to the EarthCare Initiative, hoping to inspire other spiritual communities in this region to embrace the initiative as well. We learned that we are the first, but we are committed to continue sharing this message and helping them adopt it.