Dear Friends of God's Creation,
Our diocese's fifth annual Creation Care Season (from St. Francis Day, Oct. 4 through the rest of the Pentecost season until I Advent on Nov. 30) comes on the heels of the Sept. 21 global climate demonstration in New York, at which more than 300,000 people, including thousands of interfaith marchers, hundreds of people from at least seven Episcopal dioceses, dozens of buses from Massachusetts and dozens of Diocese of Massachusetts Episcopalians, made a witness which will, I hope, result in significant actions from world leaders who met last week at the United Nations to address climate change. One organizer is quoted in the Boston Globe saying that "climate change is no longer an environmental issue, it's an everybody issue!"
That's what Creation Care Season is all about: people and communities of faith seeking to live into our baptismal promises to love our neighbors, "our kin in all creation." We vow to strive for justice and respect the dignity of every living being and thing in God's home--creation.
The Genesis Covenant introduced to our Diocesan Convention in 2010 calls for faith communities all over the world to reduce emissions by 50% by 2020. There has been a great deal of interest in clean, renewable energy and major building energy saving projects, and I believe many in our diocese will reach and perhaps exceed that goal.
Some of the largest energy savings have come from our diocese's nine solar-powered congregations; many went solar in just the past two years, and one of my greatest joys and privileges has been ascending in a truck bucket for the blessing of solar panels!
A team of solar advisors from these congregations is sharing its learnings and wisdom with congregations exploring feasibility, best practices and providers who work well with churches. This Creation Care Season, congregations are encouraged to contact these solar advisors and explore solar energy while state and solar providers still have cost saving incentives. A goal in the next five years is to have a total of 100 churches solarized or purchasing solar energy from other churches who can sell their excess.
Get some "green"!
In the past four years our diocese has awarded nearly $750,000 in Green Grants that have reduced carbon emissions in amounts ranging from 10 to 50%. Over half our congregations have participated in Sustainable House of Worship workshops (SHOWs).
The diocese is now granting Green Loans up to $100,000 with low interest rates and payment schedules based on yearly energy cost savings, which can be used for solar installations or other energy-saving projects. See the Creation Care webpage for contact info on solar advisors, Green Grants and Green Loans.
We still have several hundreds of thousands of dollars left for Green Grants over the next two to three years provided by our diocese's Together Now campaign. The nearly $1 million for Green Loans will be self-perpetuating. How exciting is that! All creation rejoices!
Answer the call, together!
The 2013 Diocesan Convention witnessed the overwhelming passage of a resolution on divestment from fossil fuel companies and reinvestment in fossil free and clean renewable energy. A Creation Care Task Force was formed to help implement the several resolves, with subgroups on education, divestment, advocacy and communications. Each subgroup initiates and supports ways we can learn and be inspired and committed to action for a sustainable environment.
This Creation Care Season, resources and events are again on offer to support people and congregations in learning, advocating and divesting/reinvesting. Please see the Creation Care Initiative page to access these resources.
May your Season of Care bless you, your congregation and God's creation which we love and serve as God's stewards.
Love and Peace in Christ, for Christ, and for all creation,
+ Bud Cederholm
Resources for Creation Care Season 2014
Screening an environmental film is an easy way to call your congregation's attention to Creation Care Season. Some favorites include "Chasing Ice," "Carbon Nation," "Cowspiracy" and "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" series. E-mail Esther Powell at email@example.com if you'd like help acquiring these DVDs; they are all available through the diocesan offices or public libraries. After the screening, ask people to share their feelings about awe, wonder, responsibility and action.
Download the Creation Care Season bulletin insert to inspire action and introspection throughout the season.
Join the "Green Friends" mailing list to receive periodic e-mail updates about environmental events, advocacy opportunities and reflections. E-mail Esther Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list.
Visit the Creation Care Initiative page for a calendar of events for Creation Care Season 2014.
Creation Care Season 2014: A Letter from Bishop Bud Cederholm
Dear Friends of God's Creation,