Creation Care Season is upon us, running from September to Advent. Of course, every season is a creation care season, but by dedicating these months, as our Diocesan Convention voted to do in 2010, we have a special invitation to focus our prayer, special worship services, study, spiritual formation, advocacy and commitments toward reducing carbon emissions in our churches, our homes and our communities.
In 2018 our Creation Care Season is part of a massive international season that includes participation in many countries and by people of all faiths. This gives us hope. As our Diocesan Convention in 2017 proclaimed through a resolution responding to the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Parish Climate Accord: "We are still in." We still believe in the accord's purpose of binding nations to meet carbon reduction goals over the next few decades, thereby aiming to help reduce the catastrophic storms and rising seas that now threaten all lives on Earth. The good news is that people of all faiths, that many governors, mayors and business leaders all over the country are also carrying out the promise of the Paris Accord.
A team of creation care advocates and ministers in our diocese has prepared a tip sheet of resources to support us in a variety of ways as we observe Creation Care Season. Our diocesan staff contact person for these resources is Jennifer Garrett (firstname.lastname@example.org). You might also visit the EcoChurch website for additional ideas and resources.
You, dear friends, give me and the church hope. We are stewards and God's partners in caring for all creation. Many of our congregations have youth involved in creation care in their churches, communities and schools. This also gives us hope. They care and know that they will inherit what we do or don’t do to protect and save life and the sustainability of Earth.
This Creation Care Season, may we believe in mind, body and spirit that creation care is a most critical moral, biblical and justice issue facing us today. May we forever sing in our hearts a song to all life on Earth: "Listen, listen, listen to my heart song / Listen, listen, listen to my heart song / I will always love you / I will never forget you / I will always love you / I will never forget you." (Variation of "Listen Listen Listen" music and lyrics by Paramahansa Yogananda)
As we sing and live this song, and as we join our Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry's call to be a part of the Jesus movement in our churches, communities and world, we are committing to love our neighbors and all creation as God loves us.
May you have a blessed Creation Care Season to the Glory of God and all creation.
Peace and love in Christ, for Christ and for all creation,
The Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm, Bishop Suffragan, Retired
Creation Care Iniatiative: Green Loans
Within the Creation Care Initiative, there have been three separate programs: Simple Acts Grants, of up to $1,000, which supported congregational activities focused on the environment and conservation and built on appreciation of and gratitude for blessings; Green Improvement Grants, in amounts up to $10,000, which assisted congregations in funding their purchase of energy-saving equipment and supplies; and Green Loans, which are low-interest loans of up to $100,000 that enable congregations to make energy-efficient changes to their buildings.
These programs have been supported by funds raised through the diocese's Together Now campaign. The Together Now-funded phase of the grant program is now complete. Green Loans are still available.
- Green Loans, initiated in 2014, are awarded on a rolling basis.
- Congregations interested in applying for Green Loans will find more information and application materials on the Grants and Loans page.
Creation Care Network:
A network of clergy and lay people in the diocese are 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.
Tell the network more about you: This network would like to improve how it communicates its work and increase the number of people it works with. Please complete this survey so the group can learn more about others interested in this work and what others need to know to support creation care. The survey should take less than five minutes.
Earth Day, April 22: What might you do to preach a creation care message?
• You might begin with the prayer “For Knowledge of God's Creation” (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 827):
Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with all its marvelous order, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures: Grant that, as we probe the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly, and more surely fulfill our role in your eternal purpose; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
• Talk with members of your congregation to get a sense of “who” (in the expanded ecological sense) are their neighbors, and who has been beaten and lies along side of the road. Who are “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40) in need of attention and care?
• Talk with other clergy to learn the history of neighbor relations in the community. What stories do they tell about neighbors helping each other (or not)? Do any of them share your interest in environmental issues so that you may collaborate on preaching ideas?
• Preach as one of the “nature” characters in a biblical text (e.g., the fig tree which Jesus causes to wither, the stones about to cry out along the Palm Sunday Road, the birds or lilies from Jesus’ parable).
• Read more here.
Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light: http://www.mipandl.org/
Facebook: Episcopalians Caring for Creation
Sun-powered stewardship: Solar panel usage in the Diocese of Massachusetts
“How to Start a Green Team at Your Church” by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Patrick Cage is a guide to creating a Green Team at your church, which can help your congregation become more effective in caring for God’s creation. Green Teams expand environmental activities in our churches and help congregations connect their faith with sustainable living. In our diocese, they are a requirement in order to obtain a Green Grant or Green Loan. This guide offers a variety of specific activities from which you can select the ones that best match your congregation’s level of energy and engagement. Download a PDF version below.
"God So Loved The World": A slideshow intended to inspire Christians to connect their faith with the urgent need to tackle global warming. It is available free of charge and lasts about 25 minutes. “God So Loved The World” was co-produced by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Dr. Robert A. Jonas and The Canary Project, an organization that produces art and media to deepen public understanding of human-induced climate change and to energize commitment to solutions. The slideshow is available as a PowerPoint presentation or PDF, with a written script that should be read aloud as the slides are shown. The slideshow and accompanying script is available at revivingcreation.org.