"For the Protection of Creation": Three of the world’s top Christian leaders—Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew—issued in September a “Joint Message for the Protection of Creation,” calling on people to pray for world leaders ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November. It also calls on individuals to make meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the planet, working together and taking responsibility for how we use our resources; and, for those with far-reaching responsibilities, to choose people-centered profits and lead the transition to just and sustainable economies. The statement reads: “We call on everyone, whatever their belief or worldview, to endeavour to listen to the cry of the earth and of people who are poor, examining their behaviour and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the earth which God has given us.” Find the full statement here.
"Hope Beyond the Heat":
2021 Season of Creation, Sept. 1-Oct. 4
The Creation Care Justice Network in the Diocese of Massachusetts invites you to use the Season of Creation as a time to celebrate, grieve, pray and get engaged with creation and climate issues.
After a summer of record-breaking heat waves and wildfires, violent storms and floods, and continued inequities suffered by vulnerable low-income communities and people of color, we are called to look for the "Hope Beyond the Heat."
What is our faithful response? To paraphrase 1 Thessalonians 4:13, even in the face of death, we are not like those who have no hope. We magnify our hope as we worship, pray and act together. The Season of Creation is our opportunity to lean into the groaning of God's creation and God's people, and lean on our Lord for forgiveness, guidance, community building and strength.
See the suggestions below for some ways you and your congregation can respond to the climate emergency with "Hope Beyond the Heat." The list is divided into four areas: Pray, Learn, Act and Advocate. Each includes a variety of activities, ranging from easy to more challenging. Additional ideas are available here. The Creation Care Justice Network invites feedback and ideas for other responses.
We are a hopeful people, made strong by our collective response!
View the webinars on ways to Pray, Learn, Act and Advocate in response to the climate emergency. This series of four 75-minute recordings is available here.
- Incorporate creation and climate justice themes into worship. Click here for ideas.
- Begin worship with this "Great Litany of Creation." Find a list of creation-centered hymns here.
- Attend the online retreat "Ecological Conversion: Falling in Love with Earth" on Saturday, Oct. 2, led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. Register here.
- Other worship, music, preaching and daily prayer ideas are listed here.
- Participate in the online "Climate Crisis Preaching" workshop, Thursday, Sept. 16, 10-11 a.m. Register here.
- Show a film, followed by a discussion. Here is a list used by St. Anne's-in-the-Fields Church, Lincoln.
- Many other opportunities to learn are listed here.
- Opt up to 100 percent green energy for your home or church. Find more information here.
- Convert some available green space to native habitat or a Good News Garden.
- For other actions for your church, household and local community, click here.
- Watch and discuss this 30-minute video: "Christians Advocate for Climate Health."
- Participate in a COP26 (UN climate talks) event, such as the Global Prayer and Action Chain for Climate Justice or Green Faith's Faiths 4 Climate Justice campaign.
- Other ways to support local, state and national climate efforts are listed here.
Join one another:
Consider joining the Creation Care Justice Network in our diocese as we continue to explore together our collective calling to care for creation and all God's creatures.
If another meeting is more than you can manage, please fill out this short survey to help us learn more about our collective Episcopal community here in eastern Massachusetts.
A pastoral reflection by Bishop Harris for 2021 Season of Creation
In a pastoral reflection for Season of Creation 2021, Bishop Gayle E. Harris writes:
To be indifferent to climate change is to be indifferent to what God has given us. If we are to be fruitful--that is, productive--we must engage the science of climate change with the commitment and fortitude of faith. Faith means we know that we are responsible to God, and responsible to and for all life which God has created.
There are many actions we can each take to address climate change and bring stability and greater sustainability of our environment. Some are small, even daily acts of caring for creation. Other actions we must engage with each other on a larger scale.
This is our hope for our future. This we can do, with the help of God and each other. Faith gives hope. It also gives us the wisdom and energy to act. We do this as the people of God for the creation given from God.
Read the full reflection here.
Creation Care Justice Network
Clergy and lay people working together to help churches and communities care for creation through embracing sustainable practices and providing support and ideas for reducing the church’s carbon footprint--saving dollars and the earth; experiencing the outdoors; and preaching about interconnectedness with the natural world.
- Sign up here to get connected with the network and receive its e-mail updates.
- Action and Advocacy, working with outside groups, such as Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light, to develop church and community action and policy changes.
- Spiritual Practice and Grounding, offering prayer, liturgies and practices to engage with creation and a theology that centers environmental wholeness.
- Communications and Networking, focusing on interactions to develop a stronger network among parishes and groups within the diocese around creation and climate justice.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to join.
“Pray, learn, act, advocate”: MA bishops declare climate emergency
On March 23, 2021, the bishops of the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts declared a climate emergency. From their declaration:
“We believe that God is calling us all to embrace brave and difficult change. Everything we do as faithful individuals and as a church must reckon with the unprecedented emergency in which humanity now finds itself.
“We therefore encourage all Episcopalians to explore The Episcopal Church’s Covenant for the Care of Creation , a commitment to practice loving formation, liberating advocacy, and life-giving conversation as individuals, congregations, ministries, and dioceses.
“We strongly urge congregations across Massachusetts to pray, learn, act, and advocate as we build a bold and faith-filled response to the greatest moral challenge of our time.”
Read the bishops’ full declaration and their suggested actions and resources here.
And next steps:
On Wednesdays in May, the Creation Care Justice Network and the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas hosted four webinars on responding to the climate emergency: Pray, Learn, Act and Advocate.
View recordings of the webinars on YouTube here,
courtesy of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.
Worship & action resources compiled by the Creation Care Justice Network
Planning worship? Click here for “5 easy ways to incorporate creation and climate justice into worship” and other liturgical resources.
Reimagining and Honoring the Ancient Practice of Rogation: Modern Reflections for Rogation Days, from the Episcopal Networks Collaborative. Click here for the resource.
Need other resources or book group ideas? Click here.
Good News Gardens: Want to grow food and feed the hungry? Join Good News Gardens, the newest network of the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts. For information about Good News Gardens in Massachusetts, click here or go to Good News Gardens Massachusetts on Facebook. You can become part of the movement in Massachusetts by filling out this form.
How are Christians called to advocate climate health?
Watch a video presentation by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas on how Christians are called to advocate climate health, courtesy of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts on YouTube, here. The half-hour video explains six different types of advocacy and offers suggestions for concrete steps that individuals and congregations can take. Find the study guide here and an annotated resource list here.
Bullitt-Jonas began serving as creation care advisor for the Diocese of Massachusetts in January 2021, and is missioner for creation care for the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ.
Green Loans and Fossil Fuel Free Fund
Diocesan Green Loans are low-interest loans of up to $100,000 that enable congregations to make energy-efficient changes to their buildings.
- Green Loans are awarded on a rolling basis.
- Congregations interested in applying for Green Loans will find more information and application materials on the Green Loans page.
Fossil Fuel Free Fund: For information about investment opportunities with this broadly diversified portfolio, contact Charlie Jordan, Investment Coordinator, Trustees of Donations (email@example.com or 617-482-4826, ext. 307).
Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home Carbon Tracker
Want to know what your household's carbon output is and how you can reduce it? Want to get others in your congregation and community to work together to reduce your combined carbon footprint? The Episcopal Church's "Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home" online carbon tracker can help.
Go to www.sustainislandhome.org, scroll down to "Massachusetts Diocese" and then click on the "Join the Challenge" button below Bishop Gates's video and letter. The tracker is organized by diocese, congregation, city and region. For more information or to get a Green Team going in your congregation, contact the Rev. Laurie Rofinot (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Creation Tithing Primer: A workbook of resources for creation tithing, a program for houses of worship and their members to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent each year through a dedicated focus on reducing the worst consumer-generated emitters.
Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light: Offers specialized training and energy assessments based on energy use patterns of houses of worship. Fees for energy assessment are charged on a sliding scale. Ask in advance for details.
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