Celebrate Earth Day
Since 2009, UU Ministry for Earth has developed resources to help congregations celebrate Earth Day. Each year, we selected a different environmental justice theme and created “Take Action” materials to inspire UUs to engage in action projects around Earth Day and throughout the year.
This year, we decoupled the “Take Action” resources from their Earth Day origins. You will find them listed individually in a new “Take Action Topics” section. There are also links to each action topic under "Ideas for Earth Day Projects" near the bottom of this page. We intend to periodically create new topics to add to this section and update existing ones. Please bear with us as we continue our website reorganization project that will bring you a more robust collection of resources for year-round use on a more easily navigated site.
This page will serve as the home of UUMFE’s current Earth Day resources each year. Sub-pages include previous worship resources, congregational Eco-Heroes, and media and messaging for Earth Day (spread the word).
Earth Day 2016 Resources
A special sermon for your Earth Sunday service
Many thanks to Rev. Dr. Marilyn Sewell, Minister Emerita, First Unitarian Portland, OR for creating a special Earth Day sermon on climate justice to share with UUs across the denomination. Her sermon – “The Moral Demands of Climate Change” – is a clarion call to action.
Since her retirement from the ministry in 2009, Marilyn continues to speak and write and has focused her energies on climate change justice issues. These two recent Huffington Post articles are particularly informative: “Civic Disobedience and Climate Change” and “Top Ten Reasons We Don’t Talk About Climate Change.”
Marilyn consistently brings a moral voice to many public hearings, protests, and actions that oppose new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. During a recent Lobby Day during the 2016 Oregon legislative session, she spoke on the “Theology of Climate Change” at the Healthy Climate Prayer into Action Gathering sponsored by Oregon Interfaith Power and Light. In the video, she echoes some of the themes in her Earth Day sermon.
Marilyn is a long-time friend of UU Ministry for Earth and contributed two sermons to UUMFE’s 2004 worship resource, Honoring Earth*. A revisit to those sermons revealed their timelessness. “Making the Earth Sacred Again” is her self-avowed very first environmentally focused sermon, written in 1999. It is still as fresh as the day it was written. In “The Living Water” from 2000, she accurately presages our current water troubles, including poisoned waters as in Flint, MI.
*Honoring Earth contains a wealth of environmental and justice oriented worship resources including (1) opening/closing words and chalice lightings; (2) prayers and meditations; (3) drum, dance, chant, and song; (4) readings; (5) sermons; (6) worship service sampler; (7) celebrations and rituals; and (8) quotations. This timeless resource is available for download through UUMFE’s website store.
Order of Service covers
For 2016, we offer three Order of Service cover designs, downloadable PDFs in both letter and legal size. The image in the first one relates to Marilyn’s sermon. The other two covers feature inspiring natural scenes. Clink links to view and/or download.
- Fennica Departure Blockade – letter size or legal size
- Running With Seagulls – letter size or legal size
- Spring Walk – letter size or legal size
Honor your congregational Eco-Hero
Each year, UUMFE invites congregations to honor an Eco-Hero with a special certificate during an Earth Sunday service or other occasion. Your Eco-Hero is that dedicated, hard working person who has made a significant contribution to your church's Earth ministry this past year. Download this Eco-Hero information sheet for details.
This year, we offer three new certificates and three from previous years with particularly beautiful images, downloadable as PDFs:
- Spring Walk
- Simple Landscape
- Running With Seagulls
- Planetary Pasture
- Colours of the Rainbow
- Spring Morning
We will publish the names of all Eco-Heroes, along with a one- or two-sentence description of their work, on the Congregational Eco-Heroes page. You may include the name and description with your Earth Day registration (last two items on the form).
An Invitation from the UU Young Adults for Climate Justice
This Earth Day Sunday, or any Sunday, consider bringing the voice of a UU young adult into your service or the pulpit. Our 100 Services for Climate Justice campaign, launched last year in conjunction with Commit2Respond, is eager to work with congregations and young adults who with to take part. See a map of the services led by UU young adult ministers, seminarians, and lay volunteers to date and a list of their sermons here.
Other worship resources
Our new Previous Worship Resources page will house an increasing variety of Earth Day and environmental justice sermons and other worship elements as they are created each year. You will also find sermons on a variety of environment related topics on UUMFE's sermons page.
Ideas for Earth Day projects
We encourage you to explore the “Take Action Topics” of past Earth Days below. And, these tables of Earth Day activities from registered congregations – 2016 (updated April 24), 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 – contain many inspirational ideas. Learn how to engage your community through press and publicity for your Earth Day events on the Spread the Word page.
- Introduction To Key Concepts of Sustainability (2013)
- Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities (2013)
- Climate Action and Climate Adaptation Plans (2013)
- Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2013)
- Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (2013)
- Waste and Consumption (2014)
- Socially Responsible Investing (2014)
- Energy and Climate (2015)
- Immigration and Environmental Justice (2012)
- Water Justice (2011)
- Ethical Eating and Food Justice (2010)
- Environmental Justice (2009)
Be sure to register your congregation's Earth Day 2016 events. All registered congregations will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate to redeem at inSpirit, the UU Book and Gift Shop.
Within a day of registering, your event will appear on this Google map. You can check out what congregations across the country are doing by clicking on the pointers – green is a worship service and red is another activity. Events are listed in order of receipt. For a listing by state, see our event table (updated April 24).
Environmental Film Library
While developing a list of relevant films for Earth Day 2013: Working Towards Sustainable Communities, we found so many that UUMFE created a separate Environmental Film Library for the Resources section of the website. We added quite a few new films for 2015. If you would like for us to include a film, send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Environmental Film Library” in the subject line – be sure to include links, etc. and a suggested category for the listing.
The generosity of individual donors and members make the work of UU Ministry for Earth possible. Please consider making a donation today to help us continue this important endeavor. Thank you.