UUCLV attained Green Sanctuary certification (for info, click here) in 2005 after the Green Sanctuary Committee was formed in 2003. Members worked diligently from 2003-2005 to create a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly world by making our church buildings greener, raising awareness in the congregation about living more lightly on the earth through education and service projects, and by becoming a model of environmental stewardship in the Lehigh Valley.
Under the guidance of Ilse Stoll Zinnes, members and friends created change in all the ministries of the church. This process entitled bringing Principle #7, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part,” into decisions made about both the structure at 424 Center Street in Bethlehem, PA, and the way the building was used for services, programs, and events.
Areas considered were worship and celebration (sermons, worship services), religious education (both youth and adult), the flora of the area (native plant sale and the planting of non-invasive species on church property), community programs such as the Breakfast Forum, workshops and speakers, recycling efforts for the church and wider community (including purchase of recycled and energy-efficient goods for the church building), energy audits, and Fair Trade Coffee fundraisers.
UUCLV was featured in UU World Magazine for winning a5Green Ribbon Award (July/August 2004 issue) and the church received local Bethlehem media exposure for its recycling efforts.
In 2019 the church held a plastic bag drive, collecting nearly 800 pounds of bags for the TREX program, which resulted in the attainment of a bench made from recycled plastic bags.
As the church no longer has a physical location since the sale of the building, and due to the pandemic, environmental justice programs have temporarily ceased.