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Environmental Justice Center at Chestnut Hill United Church

The Environmental Justice Center at Chestnut Hill United Church is an inter-religious coalition sponsored by the Chestnut Hill United Church of Philadelphia. The Center provides education, support, and guidance about environmental issues to interested faith communities and individuals. We seek to drive good public policy at all levels – from local communities right up through the federal government by our work to influence decision makers to act with moral responsibility to protect God’s creation.

We at the Center are particularly concerned about addressing environmental racism, which occurs when communities of color are hurt disproportionately by pollution and other environmental stressors, and are less able to get out of harm’s way. That’s not fair, or just. We seek to raise awareness of these situations as well as to work to rectify them.

Chestnut Hill United Church has been concerned about climate change for 25 years. Although climate disruption will hurt almost all sectors of the natural and human worlds, the Environmental Justice Center recognizes that those at the margins of society – the old, the very young, the sick, the poor – will be disproportionately and unjustly harmed.

The Environmental Justice Center works collaboratively with faith partners and the broader community. We are a member of the U.S. Climate Action Network, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light, and the Choose Clean Water Coalition. We participate in the POWER coalition (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild) by dint of Chestnut Hill United Church’s membership in POWER.

Under the guidance of the Environmental Justice Center, the Chestnut Hill United Church purchases 100 percent clean electricity for its buildings, providing a model for other houses of worship.

  • We are available for speaking engagements. We can provide sermons, lead adult study groups, meet with property committees to discuss the “greening” of houses of worship, and lead multi-session workshops for family groups.
  • We can help individuals or congregations engage in the process of influencing public policy. We can help you learn how to contact legislators, write letters to the editor, and otherwise effectively engage in public discourse. Here at the Center, we believe that “the voice of the faithful” has an important role in seeking justice at many levels and in many ways. We’d love to help you and your congregation assume a leadership role in sustaining God’s world.
  • We can help answer your questions on sustainability or direct you to other helpful resources.

Learn more and get involved.  You can reach our director, Joy Bergey, at 215-313-1311 or We’d love to talk with you.





"To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival."   Wendell Berry