Congregational Success Stories


St. Luke’s United Methodist Church Garden and Wading Pool Garden Project

Spring is approaching, robins are returning, and gardens are calling! Mary Purdy, a member of St. Luke’s Methodist in Dubuque has her fingers in the soil of two amazing garden projects to benefit the food insecure that are worth emulating. One is the church garden and one is the Wading Pool project. Read their Success Story here.



20150627_134307New Year’s Resolution – Make the Switch!

Join others around the state and make the switch! Help your congregation switch to reusable coffee mugs to save energy, money, and the planet. Metro Community Church in Davenport did it, and you can too!

“It’s part of our obligation to care for creation,” says Pastor Rich Hendricks, “God expects us to be good stewards of all of our resources.”

Read more here.





Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.34.20 PMSt. Joseph the Worker Earns Petal Project Certification

St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Parish in Dubuque, Iowa is officially Petal Certified–and the first church in all of Iowa to complete the process! Through the leadership of the Stewardship Committee at St. Joseph the Worker, their community has made sustainability and eco-friendly practices part of their spiritual life. Read more here.





Zero Waste FIMG_1044estival at Church of the Resurrection

The Church of the Resurrection in Dubuque was selected Runner Up award winner in the national Cool Congregations Challenge in Engaging Congregants and Communities in 2013.

The community earned this award by taking many actions to educate parishioners and reduce energy use of their campus, but the centerpiece of their efforts is waste reduction at the annual Green Parish Festival. Read more here.




Food Pantry Gardens: a Healing Ministry

Growing gardens to provide fresh food to food pantries is a growing ministry in many congregations in Iowa.

Some call it a healing ministry. It heals the body by improving access to healthy, fresh produce for low-income families. It heals the soul by renewing our spiritual connection with God in creation. And it heals Earth by absorbing greenhouse gases that cause climate change. It’s a win- win-win! Read more about two impressive gardens and resources on where to volunteer or start your own food pantry garden here.



Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.57.21 AM

First Lutheran, Decorah: Solar Installed

First Lutheran installed solar panels in August of 2014 to produce some of their own electricity, and in the early stages they are already reporting an energy savings of 34%! Read more here.




Liv and Alice prepare to take produce to Cafe on Vine

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities, Davenport

Over the past four years, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities has been working on over ten projects to complete the Green Sanctuary program, and to establish greater environmental awareness in their congregational life.  Accreditation from the UUA to their congregation was awarded in March, 2015. Read more of their story here.



Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls

Bethlehem Lutheran in Cedar Falls needed to replace their poorly functioning 30-year old air source heat pump systems, and they wanted to do the right thing for the earth and for their budget. So when a parishioner left them a generous donation in their will, they decided to install ground source heat pumps to heat and cool their building. Read more of their story here.




prairie and panelsCathedral of St. Paul, Des Moines

The Episcopal Cathedral of St. Paul, at Ninth and High Streets in downtown Des Moines, has completed a project, called the St. Paul’s Cathedral and Neighbors’ Rain Gardens, that transformed their asphalt parking lot into an urban green-space that models good water practices and makes the site more beautiful and pedestrian friendly. Read more of their story here.



Mennonite Congregation Own Modules in Solar Garden

Lower Deer Creek Mennonite in Kalona has purchased modules in Iowa’s first community-owned Solar Garden operated by the nation’s oldest electric cooperative, Farmer’s Electric Coop in Frytown, Iowa. Read more of their story here.




Dubuque Rescue Mission, Dubuque

Like many of us, Rick Mihm, the Executive Director of the Dubuque Rescue Mission, believes that God is the creator of all and that we are called to be good stewards of God’s gift of the natural order. But he also sees the social justice angle of environmental stewardship as paramount. Since assuming the position as director he has made many changes to improve the energy efficiency of the Mission house. Read their updated Success Story here.



First Lutheran, DecorahFirst Lutheran Church, Decorah

First Lutheran in Decorah has quietly been going about caring for creation in a very big way, cutting their energy bill in half by installing insulation, new windows and doors, and a new efficient hot water condensing boiler system. Read more of their story here.





St. Thomas More Parish, Coralville

St. Thomas More Catholic Parish built a LEED certified building when they relocated to Coralville, inspired by social teachings of the Catholic faith. Read more of their story here.





St. John’s Lutheran Church, Cedar Falls

St. John’s Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls has cut their garbage removal fees in half by recycling. In addition to cutting their congregation’s carbon footprint by approximately 14 tons, the congregation is saving almost $600 a year in garbage removal fees. Read more of their story here.




Trinity Episcopal Church, Iowa City

Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City has completed a 1.6 million dollar LEED registered construction project to preserve the historic church built in 1871 and provide more classroom and meeting space for the growing congregation. Read more of their story here.



Has your congregation taken measures to reduce energy use? We would love to share your congregation’s success story, contact us at