Policies of The United Methodist Church
for Going Green

Church and Organizational Policies | General Conference Resolutions | Women's Division/UMW Policies |

Church and Organizational Policies

United Methodist Women are governed by several layers of Church policy that form the foundation for implementing environmentally just guidelines when planning events.

The Social Principles

"The Social Principles" found in The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church serves as the base for the entire Church’s call to environmentally just action. Below are the most relevant excerpts:

The Natural World

"All creation is the Lord’s and we are responsible for the ways in which we use and abuse it. Water, air, soil, minerals, energy resources, plants, animal life, and space are to be valued and conserved because they are God’s creation and not solely because they are useful to human beings. Therefore we repent of our devastation of the physical and non-human world. Further, we recognize the responsibility of the church toward lifestyle and systemic changes in society that will promote a more ecologically just world and a better quality of life for all creation...." (Para. 64)

The Social Community

"We affirm all persons as equally valuable in the sight of God. We therefore work toward societies in which each person’s value is recognized, maintained, and strengthened. We support the basic rights of all persons to equal access to housing, education, employment, medical care, legal redress for grievances, and physical protection....[W]e recognize racism as a sin...." (Para. 66)

The Economic Community

"We claim all economic systems to be under the judgment of God no less than other facets of the created order....We believe private and public economic enterprises are responsible for the social costs of doing business, such as employment and environmental pollution, and that they should be held accountable for these costs...." (Para. 67)

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General Conference Resolutions

The next level in the policy foundation is General Conference resolutions, which apply to all parts of the United Methodist Church. Listed below are those which most directly bear upon environmentally-just planning practices, the year they were adopted, and the prime relevant message. There are other resolutions which also justify and amplify the rationale for the guidelines in this manual. See a current "Book of Resolutions of the United Methodist Church" for complete documentation.

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Women's Division/UMW Policies

At the Fall 1997 Board Meeting, the Directors of the Women's Division voted unanimously that the Division go chlorine-free. This was a way to practically implement the General Conference resolution, "A Dioxin-Free Future". The resolution also arose out of mounting evidence on the connection between dioxin contamination and various severe health problems in women and children, including reproductive cancers (such as breast cancer). One of the prime causes of dioxin production is chlorine bleaching in the pulp and paper industry. The relevant section of the resolution reads:

"Women's Division begin to model environmental responsibility with respect to dioxin contamination. This would require the Division to:

* use chlorine-free paper for all its copying and publishing needs;

* switch to chlorine-free products wherever possible (e.g. toilet paper, paper towels, linens, non-chlorine bleaches) in all its offices and facilities;

* encourage United Methodist Women to do likewise....."

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