We at Throop Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, California, are known as “The Permaculture Church” here in Pasadena. Part of our vision for ourselves is being known as the church working on sustainability (and spirit and arts). In 2012 we started a permaculture Learning Garden and our most recent effort is to set up a rainwater catchment system.

For Climate Justice Month (or as we called it, Thirty Days for Earth), we partnered with Transition Pasadena (a sustainability org with close ties to Throop) to create a four-week series of workshops and run an eco-spirituality group that tied into our worship services which all focused around issues of climate change, environmental justice, and “Active Hope.”

But that’s not all. Here is the full list of everything we did:

  1. Five worship services devoted to issues of environmental justice and eco-spirituality.
  2. “Thirty Days” kick-off worship including a ritual that invited worshipers to choose a one earth-healing intention for those thirty days.
  3. A 30-day Facebook image campaign—each day a new image with a hopeful statement of action. 20+ local sustainability groups joined us; each social media image/message included the logos of all these groups, and each of those groups committed to reposting the daily messages.
  4. A four-week eco-spirituality group met, with half participants from Throop and half from our wider community, which reflected on the thirty-day intention and followed Joanna Macy’s spiral (opening in gratitude, honoring our despair for the world, seeing with new eyes, going forth).
  5. Three Sunday afternoons of special speakers on topics related to climate justice.
  6. We started including a permanent “Promise to our Planet” unison reading that is part of every Sunday’s liturgy.
  7. Our Liturgical calendar is grounded in our congregation’s ethic of eco-spirituality and environmental sustainability.
  8. We shared Commit2Respond’s Climate Justice Month messages in various ways, and used some of them in the four-week eco-spirituality group.
  9. Our Earth Day Sunday is our “high holy day” of the year, and we try to make this worship extra special and meaningful.

It’s exciting to be tied into both UU efforts through Commit2Respond and also part of local Pasadena efforts to raise awareness and hope, and it’s so rewarding for our congregation to explicitly live into our mission of sustainability and earth care.

Rev. Tera Little is the minister at Throop Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasadena, California. 

p.s. Learn more about Throop’s Learning Garden and successful efforts to start a rainwater catchment system: