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GSS Certification

Why Certification?

The Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Certification program recognizes, celebrates, and motivates faith communities that demonstrate commitment in the care of the environment through action.

GSS certification icon Know all about it? Proceed to our Application Page.
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Whether you are just getting started or are ready for the next level of greening, the GSS Certification program is an excellent way to engage your faith community in stewardship and showcase what you have accomplished together.

Receive recognition for the greening efforts that your faith community undertakes, no matter how big or small.

Celebrate and motivate! Our Certification program is a measurable way to motivate for action.

Be inspired by what is possible!

How It Works

certification levelsUse our certification checklist to assess your congregation’s greening journey, in categories of action and achievement levels that fit a wide variety of faith traditions and worship spaces. The checklist can help you review your achievements with your Green Team or committee prior to submitting your application.

Download printable checklist

This checklist is applicable to faith communities with traditional properties as well as to groups who meet for worship in homes, community centres, or rented spaces. We include actions you take as a congregation within your community and at home.

Decide which level your faith community wishes to apply for: Light Green, Medium Green. or Deep Green status. Light Green is a prerequisite for Medium Green, and Medium Green is a prerequisite for Deep Green.

Each certification level has a corresponding list of possible actions in categories such as Community, Energy, and Water. The table below shows how many possibilities are in each category. Your faith community is eligible to apply for certification once you have completed a minimum of 10 greening actions in one of Light Green, Medium Green, or Deep Green.

Certification Levels and Possible Actions
Categories of Action
Light Green Medium Green Deep Green
Spirituality and Worship 4 actions 4 actions 2 actions
Community 5 actions 6 actions 6 actions
Operations/Maintenance 3 actions 3 actions 3 actions
Energy 9 actions 7 actions 8 actions
Water 3 actions 3 actions 3 actions
Waste 2 actions 2 actions 2 actions
Kitchen/Events 2 actions 3 actions 3 actions
Environmental Justice 3 actions 3 actions 3 actions

Example: All Angels started a Green Team last year and are eager to display what they have done so far. Reviewing the checklist, they have completed 11 Light Green Actions: 3 in Spirituality and Worship, 5 in Community, and 3 in Water. They apply for Light Green this year.

They have already done 4 actions on the Medium Green list. They will use the checklist to direct their Green Team activities for the coming year and hope to apply for Medium Green next fall.


Greening Sacred Spaces charges a nominal fee of $75 per application to offset the costs of administering the program. Each level (Light, Medium, or Deep Green) is considered a separate application. Payment is accepted online through PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account. You will automatically be taken to the payment page once you have completed the form.

If cost is a barrier, please contact us at [email protected].

Apply for Certification

For congregations in Region 10 of the United Church of Canada:
How Green Is Your Church?

Application Process

  1. Light Green CertifcateRegister your faith community for our free online network.
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. Refresh this page and click on the application button above.
  4. Scroll through the page and select the online link for Light, Medium, or Deep Green Certification to submit and pay for your application. Each level (Light, Medium, or Deep Green) must be applied and paid for separately.
  5. For Medium and Deep Green applications, prepare to upload a photo of your Green Team or greening work (1 MB max).
  6. Pay the $75 application fee through PayPal. (The form will take you there automatically. You do not need a PayPal account.)
  7. Successful applicants receive a beautiful certificate suitable for framing, indicating their level of achievement (Light, Medium, or Deep Green) and online recognition in our national network.

Download a pdf version of this information page

Applications are reviewed monthly. Our checklist of actions is reviewed annually by our Energy Coordinator.


For questions about certification:
David Patterson, Energy Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1-866-231-1877 x 103

For questions about online registration or problems accessing the application form:
Email: [email protected]

In establishing the criteria for the certification program, Faith & the Common Good would like to thank the organizations that contributed to formulating several of the protocols used in the Green Accreditation program including: The EnviroAction Committee of the Diocese of Huron of the Anglican Church of Canada, The Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, Kairos Canada, Churches’ Agency on Social Issues (CASI) New Zealand, Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church, in Bainbridge Island, Washington, the Toronto United Church Council, and the Anglican Dioceses of Niagara and Ottawa in Ontario. Their work has served as a frame of reference in the development of this award within Faith & the Common Good.

St. Anselm’s Ecology Group: How Our Church’s Green Team Evolved

Guest post by Marlie Whittle, St. Anselm’s Ecology Group in Toronto.

St Anselms green team with certificate
GSS Certification Team

In 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical called Laudato Si: Praise be to You. This encyclical was a call to environmental action from the highest authority of the Catholic Church. Since 2015, many Catholic orders, churches and people have found different ways to respond to this call. I have had the privilege of being on St. Anselm’s Church’s ‘Green Team’ for over a year. We call ourselves St. Anselm’s Ecology Group and in the past three years our team has grown from two parishioners to 13!

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