8 Steps to Build a GCCM Chapter
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to creating a Global Catholic Climate Movement chapter. Every city, diocese, region and country is different, and we want you to find out what works best for you. But here are some best practices to get you started no matter where you are.
- Create a leadership team or steering committee. Don’t try to do all of the work yourself! Find people willing to take on the planning and coordination of the chapter. This might require you to talk to people in different parishes and local Catholic groups, aiming to identify a few leaders who are enthusiastic about Laudato Si’. A good steering committee should be at least 3 people and no more than 10 people. Suggested roles are a committee chair, outreach/communications director, and liaisons to different parish green teams or other organizations.
- Host a gathering to find others who would be interested in creating a chapter. Some people are more likely to come to an event or a study session rather than a meeting as a first step, so consider hosting a speaker on care for creation, or a Laudato Si study group to gather people who might be interested in working together on an ongoing basis.
- Keep a sign-in list! For your opening event, any meetings you have, and study groups, make sure you keep a sign in list to gather key contact information, see who’s active, and who might be interested in joining a chapter. Decide how you’ll keep in touch in your area—whether that’s through email, Facebook group, text, or another app such as WhatsApp that’s popular where you are.
- Reach out to other church green teams, religious orders or community groups. If you are in an area where there are green teams at your or other parishes or local environmental groups, see if representatives would be interested in joining a chapter to pool resources, or coordinate work within the Diocese.
- Set a goal for your chapter. There is much to do in putting Laudato Si into action! Decide on what your chapter will focus on while you’re getting started and set a concrete goal—two to three educational events on living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, or bringing 50 people to talk to your local elected officials about green planning in your community. In addition to local events, there are several global GCCM campaigns your chapter can engage in–Season of Creation, Advent and Lenten campaigns, and events around Earth Day or key global climate moments around the world.
- Create a communications plan. How will you get the word out about your chapter and events? Facebook events? E-mail group? Bulletin and pulpit announcements? A website? Make sure you have a list of how to advertise and how early you’ll need to have the word out about anything that happens–for instance, how early does a priest need to know about an event to include it in their after Mass announcements?
- Pray and celebrate. We are doing this work because we want to protect and celebrate God’s creation. Don’t forget to take time in your meetings to open with a prayer, to find ways to build community together, and to take time to celebrate your successes.
- Stay in touch! If you want to start a chapter, let us know. We’ll send you a logo, and make sure you’re informed of all GCCM events. We can also speak with you as you’re getting started to provide advice and make sure things are going smoothly. For English language chapters, contact Marisa Vertrees, [email protected]