Weekly posts through October and November for reflection and conversation are on our Creation Care Season page, here.
In a Sept. 4 letter, retired bishop suffragan Bud Cederholm asks congregations to observe aCreation Care Season during late Pentecost, and asks: “What would it look like if every congregation in our diocese and others across the globe observed a holy season of creation care that defined our relationship with God as one of thanksgiving and wonder; of repentance for our sins against creation; of reconciliation with God and all of creation?” He also asks congregations to designate a “Creation Care Sunday,” with an offering to support a creation care project in the congregation. The full letter is available below.
Bishop Cederholm and others are posting weekly reflections during Creation Care Season, here, and encourage discussion on the diocesan Facebook page at www.facebook.com/diomass. A Creation Care Season bulletin insert and resources for worship, prayer and educational efforts are available at the bottom of this page (please scroll down).
Sept. 4, 2012
Good news! Creation Care Season in late Pentecost (Sept. 30-Nov. 30) is fast approaching. We have a biblical mandate to care for creation as well as our Diocesan Convention resolution in 2010 urging congregations to do so. As we approach our third Creation Care Season, I am most grateful for the hundreds of people and dozens of congregations whose witness and passion for the environment have made an impact in healing the earth and brought about noticeable transformation of lives and priorities in people and congregations.
Each year I have seen more and more people, young and old, living the words of 12th-century visionary Hildegard of Bingen by “falling in love deeper and deeper with creation and responding to its endangerment with passion.”
This kind of falling in love with creation and responding with passion has generated more than $320,000 for green grants to some 50 congregations these past two years, with even more getting on board this year. And our Creation Care Season itself has been an awakening in many congregations to the many resources available for worship, education, formation and contemplation in nature, and advocacy that shapes public policy. Numerous churches and homeowners have reduced their carbon footprint. Acts of justice have addressed the poisoning of the environment that causes death and extinction of species. Extraordinary numbers of people and congregations in the diocese have responded to help communities affected by climate change related catastrophes. People and congregations use, or will explore using, renewable energy. Community gardens have been planted. Clean water projects, tree planting and support for sustainable agriculture all over the world also are among the many ways congregations are showing their care. These are the marvels that happen when we “let creation penetrate us with so much admiration that wherever we go, the least plant is enough to occupy our minds in beholding the art with which it has been made.” (Basil the Great, 4th Century)
When I see the radical transformation of hearts and lives in young and old alike, my heart sings! But friends, we run a marathon, not a hundred-yard dash. Creation Care Season helps us remember and give thanks for what has been done, and it challenges us to go deeper into the heart of God for the strength, courage and wisdom for the long race, caring for creation, making a lasting impact on climate change and pollution, falling even deeper in love with creation.
What might Creation Care Season look like in your life and in your congregation this year?
For ideas and resources go to www.diomass.org and click on the Creation Care Season headline. Along with resources for worship, prayer and education, and holy habits and environmental action ideas, weekly reflections will be posted by different writers throughout Creation Care Season, with the invitation to engage in conversation via the diocesan Facebook page at www.facebook.com/diomass.
Again this year we ask every congregation to designate a Creation Care Sunday, with the day’s special offering going to support a project in the congregation. It could be an educational event or action reducing carbon emissions or something in your community, such as a garden or a clean-up effort. Or, the offering could be designated to support the diocesan green grants, as it did last year. Please let us know what was raised and how it was used so we can spread the news.
“How we treat the earth and all of creation defines the relationship each of us has with God. To commit a crime (i.e. cause change in climate/degrade/pollute/harm/poison) against the natural world is a sin.” (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew)
Just imagine! What would it look like if every congregation in our diocese and others across the globe observed a holy season of creation care that defined our relationship with God as one of thanksgiving and wonder; of repentance for our sins against creation; of reconciliation with God and all of creation? Imagine thousands trusting in the grace and power of the Holy Spirit and forming a partnership with God in Christ and with others for a bold witness of caring for creation. I invite you therefore to an observance of a holy Creation Care Season. And when you say, “YES,” God will say “that it is VERY good”!
With Christ, in Christ and for Christ in all creation,
Bishop Suffragan (Retired)