Creation Care Season greetings in Christ, for Christ and for all creation.
At the 2010 Diocesan Convention we asked that the diocese endorse and encourage all congregations to celebrate Creation Care Season from St. Francis Day in early October to the first Sunday of Advent. Over the years we gladly heard from many of you telling us what you are doing and what you need help with, such as "green" grants and loans, and consultants. Many church communities in our diocese are well on their way to meeting the goal of the worldwide interfaith Genesis Covenant of reducing carbon emissions by at least 50 percent in 10 years.
We rejoice that we are in the midst of our sixth Creation Care Season. (Though in reality Creation Care Season is all seasons.) We know many congregations and people who have honored and celebrated creation and grown deeper in love with nature and all life on earth. More than 100 congregations have reduced their carbon emissions by between 10 and 70 percent, helping save the planet as well as saving thousands of dollars for ministry and mission. Many have become advocates in their communities and beyond. So in this sixth season of creation care, we thank you, God thanks you, and all life on Earth thanks you.
Last November, Convention passed a new diocesan mission strategy. One of the points in this strategy affirms and supports creation care all year long: We will strengthen our relationship with our Earth and commitment to caring for creation. We will promote meaningful, long-term conversations about caring for creation, inspiring all to be more faithful stewards and advocates for sound climate policy; fund support for congregations making significant efforts to respond to the moral crisis of climate change.
Despite climate change deniers and the federal government’s efforts to strip away environmental regulations and fossil-fuel-free incentives, we have hope and we will continue to strive for eco-justice and justice for all persons and life on earth. We want to hear about what you are doing to care for creation in any season. We want to hear from you about what support and help you need in being environmental advocates and how you might help others. We have a team of creation care friends and consultants who are eager to work with congregations. Bishop Alan Gates joins in urging you to call upon our consultants or creation care friends. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dawn Tesorero (email@example.com) or the Rev. Laurie Rofinot (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also visit the Creation Care Initiative page to learn more and find upcoming creation care events.
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts is offering a retreat, "Making the Creation Connection," Nov. 11 at Rolling Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in North Andover. The retreat is sponsored by the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, the Diocese of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts UCC Church, among others. We know from experience that her retreats are transforming, giving us wisdom and a deeper passion and love for God and God’s creation. In these most difficult days, spiritual formation is needed more than ever to sustain our hope and our biblical and moral call to strive for peace and justice for all life on earth. Margaret urges us to visit http://revivingcreation.org/ to learn more and the Diocese of Western Massachusetts creation care page: www.diocesewma.org/vision-ministry-statements/creation-care/season-of-creation/
At our Diocesan Convention on Nov. 4 we will present a resolution titled "We Are Still In." The "We are Still In" resolution asks our diocese to support the Paris Climate Accord despite the fact that the United States government has withdrawn from it, even as extreme weather fueled by climate change is destroying lives, lands, homes and a sustainable environment. A version of this resolution is also being considered in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts and has been passed already by the UCC nationally. In voting for this resolution we will stand with hundreds of municipalities, states and businesses across the country who also have said: We are still in.
In the words of Peter Yarrow’s song, “Never give up, Never give up….you’ll find your new tomorrow, never give up!"
"We Are Still In" is a wonderful way to welcome Advent later in November as we receive, declare, pray and work for hope, peace, joy and love, not only for all who believe but for all creation and life on Earth suffering from climate change.
Creation Care Season blessings, hope and love,
The Rt. Rev. Bud Cederholm
Bishop Suffragan, Retired
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