Couple's Earth-friendly nuptials support ministry

By Carla Hinton Published: June 7, 2008
EDMOND — What better place to have a "green wedding” than a Green Sanctuary?

Virginia Benson and Nelson Daniel said their environmentally friendly nuptials scheduled for today are an extension of a new program at their ministry, Channing Unitarian Universalist Church, 2800 W 15 St.


One might say the couple has become faithfully green.

"Our motto is reduce, reuse and recycle, and the more you do, the more green it is,” Benson said of the wedding.

Daniel, 45, said the wedding and other eco-friendly efforts at the Edmond church go hand in hand with the belief that members of the faith community have a responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth.

"There is a larger movement of stewardship of all creation,” he said.

The groom is the chairman of the church's quest for Green Sanctuary accreditation with the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth, an affiliate of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. His Green Sanctuary committee has completed several projects toward that goal, including a monthlong sermon series in April in conjunction with Earth Day, and it provides environmental information for use in the church's newsletter. Also, Daniel said the church has started composting and recently started using real dishes instead of cups and plates made of plastic foam and paper.

Daniel said as church members enthusiastically embraced the program, he came up with the idea to go green as he and Benson say "I do.”

Benson, 47, said she is a member of Daniel's committee and loved the idea.

After becoming engaged in July 2007, the couple attended a local bridal fair and began to look at bridal magazines. Benson said she was a bit troubled by some of the conspicuous consumption that was evidenced. Benson and Daniel both have been married before, and she said she wanted to do something different.

She said they began to look for ways to reduce, reuse and recycle as they made their wedding plans. She said the book "Eco-Chic Weddings” became her bible of sorts as she made arrangements and conducted research.

Eventually, the entire church began to help with the wedding. Congregation members agreed to provide services such as photography, and some are allowing out-of-town guests to stay at their homes.

"This is a family church, and this is becoming a family wedding,” Benson said.

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Nelson Daniel and Virginia Benson stand at the site of their "green wedding,” which is planned for today at Channing Unitarian Universalist Church in Edmond. By Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

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