The "green ministry" at St. Anne's: from left, front row: Jennifer Relopez, Jane Relopez, Rev. Geoffrey Baraan, pastor; middle row: Joseph Agtane, Flora Agtane, Tom Kells; top: Jessica Torres, Carl Bello, Gabriel Torres.
St. Anne's wins award
for 'Best Green Business'
At St. Anne's Church in Union City, parish ministries have come together to institute "green" practices into parish life, beginning first with a recycling program and followed by an organics waste collection program.
This commitment to a green community was recognized on March 20 when the Union City Chamber of Commerce awarded St. Anne's with the 2012-2013 "Best Green Business Award," taking note of the parish's efforts to reduce waste and promote recycling opportunities.
Since 2006, the parish's commitment to environmental stewardship has been embraced by various ministries, including Faith Formation, youth and young adult ministries, Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, prayer groups, the social justice and facilities committees, liturgical ministries and others.
St. Anne's commitment to environmental stewardship began with a simple recycling program in 2006. Though limited to California Redemption Value items for the first two years, the parish met its goals of reducing waste disposal expenses (Stewardship of Treasure), allowing parishioners the chance to live out their faith as "one body of Christ" (Stewardship of Time).
The program soon became rooted in parish community life; recycling options were offered whenever food and drink services were available to the parishioners, friends and guests.
In 2010, St. Anne expanded its environmental stewardship program to include organic waste. Any food scraps or biodegradable products were collected and discarded in the organics (green) bin. Paper, cardboard or unredeemable glass was collected and placed in a white bin.
Rev. Geoffrey Baraan, pastor, supported the dedicated parishioners who helped collect and sort recyclables.
With recycling and organic waste collection now a key part of all parish events, the St. Anne's Facilities Committee has grown to include a Recycling/Organics Waste Collection Team. Parish volunteer Jessica Torres, facilities committee chairperson, leads the newly expanded committee.
Parish operations have seen a 50 percent reduction in waste, as well as a 75 percent reduction in waste disposal expenses.
(Jane Relopez is recycling/organic waste collection lead at St. Anne Church, Union City.)
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