A timely call to care better for God’s creation
Chris Keppie, Diocese of Exeter, Church and Society Officer, writes:
Never has it been more timely! From 1 September to 4 October, Christians around the world join together for the Season of Creation, a festival of prayer and community action to help protect the natural world.
Creationtide was launched in 1989. It was given a major boost by Pope Francis in 2016 when, speaking before nearly 2 million people at the World Youth Day in Krakow, he declared 1 September an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
Now with Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, devastating wildfires in the Amazon and Siberia, the hottest late August Bank Holiday on record in the UK, and global wildlife populations reported to have reduced by 60 per cent between 1970 and 2014, more and more people are being moved to action.
Here are a few ideas of what you can do locally in this month of Creationtide:
1. Sign up to EcoChurchSW’s mailing list to receive daily reflections and prayers for this season. The national Church of England website also has special resources.
2. Register interest for your church to become an accredited Eco Church itself! The Christian charity A Rocha runs a brilliant (and free!) award scheme, which both recognises how churches are already caring for God’s earth, people and other creatures, and then encourages movement on to the next level. A simple self-certification process looks at 5 key areas of church life, including teaching, land and building management, and personal lifestyle.
3. Contact our wonderful volunteer Diocesan Environment Officer, David Curry, to discuss ‘Living Churchyards’ – simple changes that can be made to your church’s land that can really benefit pollinators and encourage biodiversity (as well as helping mental and physical health, community engagement etc!) email:firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Train to become a volunteer ‘Green Champion’ to promote / facilitate EcoChurch, Living Churchyards, set up local groups etc to churches in your local area! Please contact email@example.com to discuss / register interest.
5. Look out for events coming up soon – eg ‘Our Fragile Earth’ series of climate science/theology discussions (Sidmouth, 6th-27th Oct), and ‘Disappearing Islands’ by Melanesian Mission (10th October) – see https://exeter.anglican.org/events/
The Bishop of Salisbury, who chairs the Church of England’s Environmental Working Group, says: “We love the beauty of the earth. The fires in the Amazon show how interconnected we are in this beautiful, wonderful, fragile planet. We know there are serious issues to address if we are going to care for God’s earth.
“Season of Creation is a chance once again to give thanks for the gifts of creation, to pray and act in ways that care for God’s creation and address the issues of climate change and the depletion of species. It is the joyful, hopeful responsibility of people throughout the world and particularly of the Church which is both local and global.” Amen