From Easter into summer
In this beautiful season of renewal, the church calendar celebrates the joyous season of Easter as the natural world stirs to new life. There is something deeply comforting about the warmth of the sun on our skin and the greening of the natural landscape around us. Life is returning. Life is resilient. As Christians we believe that at Easter the epic battle between the forces of death and life is resolved in favor of life, thanks to God’s deep and abiding love for the world.
Otherwise, for those who are acutely aware of the perilous state of Earth’s climate, it would be hard to resist despair. Humanity continues to rush headlong into the most profound and dangerous environmental crisis imaginable, even as the dire predictions of scientists come to pass years ahead of schedule.
To paraphrase the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt Jonas, the church’s mission must change in this time of climate/ecological emergency. So, in the spirit of Easter hope, let us follow in the footsteps of the early apostles and commit ourselves to God’s message of love and hope. Let us spread the message of hope; let us lovingly work to care for God’s creation and build an economy that honors and preserves all life.
With God’s grace, let us PRAY, LEARN, ACT and ADVOCATE as we create a decarbonized, sustainable future for all that God has made. When we PRAY we ground ourselves in hope and faith. When we LEARN, we realize that we are not alone and change is possible. Together these give us strength to ACT and ADVOCATE.
The Creation Care Justice Network hopes that these suggestions, and others in the "Sustainable Life" resource list, will help us all to renew our minds, our communities and our planet over the coming months. Join us on this journey!
Observing the season
What is God and God’s creation calling you into this Eastertide and Pentecost? Here are some ideas to consider. Find others in the "Sustainable Life" resource list. These suggestions are from the Creation Care Justice Network.
- "Healing Our Hearts, Healing the Land" is a 90-minute, family-friendly liturgy written by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas for Earth Sunday but it is certainly a suitable summer event. It includes time for walking, outdoor cleanup and prayer. Follow it with a meatless picnic/BBQ!
- For the Anglican Communion, observation of Rogation Days is over the three days preceding Ascension Day (May 15-17, 2023). Historically it was a blessing of the fields, but it has been broadened to include much more. To assist congregations in honoring this ancient, creation-focused time, the Episcopal Networks Collaborative developed this handout in 2021: Reimagining and Honoring the Ancient Practice of Rogation: Modern Reflections for Rogation Days.
- Climate Change: A Conversation with Katharine Hayhoe
• One-hour presentation originally broadcast in April 2023
• One of a series of digital workshops from the Episcopal Parish Network
- “Love God, Love God’s World” from The Episcopal Church's Creation Care Ministries
• Nine-session, film-based curriculum similar to “Sacred Ground”
• Register here for more info and updates
- “Operation Restoration: Mending God’s World”
• A five-day Vacation Bible School package that invites kids to be menders in God’s world
• Published by Augsburg Fortress and advertised in The Living Church
• Learn more and free digital download here.
- Plant a garden.
• Good News Gardens is a national movement across The Episcopal Church. Visit this website to learn about the national movement. Click here for information about the Diocese of Western Massachusetts chapter, its newsletter and Facebook presence.
• Plant a pollinator garden. Join parishes across the state, drawing upon the resources of our state (background material and actions) and the town of Greenfield.
- Sign a petition.
• Gas is in the Past asks Gov. Healey to declare there is no future for gas in Massachusetts.
• Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (international) can be signed by groups or individuals.
- Write to your state legislators to express support for swift and just transition away from the use of fossil fuels and other earth-harming economic practices.
Check "Sustainable Life" for more activities as they become available.
Creation Care Justice Network
We are Episcopal clergy and lay people across Massachusetts, working together to help our congregations PRAY, LEARN, ACT and ADVOCATE on behalf of God's creation and to mobilize a robust, justice-centered response to the ecological and climate emergency.
For over a year the Creation Care Justice Network has been working to develop a tool for congregations called “An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice.” Our goal is to create an accessible, appealing program that will guide congregations to PRAY, LEARN, ACT and ADVOCATE in ways that are faithful to our Gospel call to love God’s creation and to build a more just, safe, and healthy future for all. We hope to share more in the coming months; here is a flier with more information. In the meantime, you are invited to get started by selecting activities from the "Sustainable Life" resource list. Updates about "An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice" will be posted in the Green Justice News. Subscribe here.
Here is a short video that frames our mission: a call to climate action in Massachusetts. Please take a look, and then sign up to join our network. Whether you're an experienced climate activist or just beginning to be concerned about the health of our soils, forests, water and air--to say nothing of the human and other-than-human creatures whose lives depend on them--we need your skills and input as we work together to protect the web of life that God entrusted to our care.
If you join the Creation Care Justice Network, you'll receive a monthly newsletter, Green Justice News.
- Sign up here to get connected with the network and receive its e-mail updates.
Ready to roll up your sleeves, leap into action and make some new friends? You're invited to join a working group:
- Action and Advocacy works with groups such as Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light to encourage church and community action and policy changes.
- Spiritual Practice and Grounding offers prayers, liturgies and practices to engage with creation and a theology that centers environmental wholeness.
- Communications and Networking focuses on developing a stronger network among congregations and diocesan groups around creation and climate justice.
For more information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
If another meeting is more than you can manage, please fill out this short survey to help us learn more about our collective Episcopal community here in Massachusetts.
Meet our diocese's creation care advisor
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas serves as a liaison to the Creation Care Justice Network. She works in both Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts and the Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ to build emotional and spiritual resilience as we mobilize action to address climate emergency. To invite her to preach, lead a retreat or speak in your church, contact her at email@example.com or 413-341-3566.
She maintains a website, RevivingCreation.org, which includes blog posts, articles, sermons, books, schedule and more. You can sign up for her monthly newsletter, Creation Care Network e-news and get a message on the first of the month that includes opportunities to learn, pray, act and advocate for the earth.
Massachusetts bishops declare climate emergency
On March 23, 2021, the bishops of the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts declared a climate emergency. From their declaration:
“We believe that God is calling us all to embrace brave and difficult change. Everything we do as faithful individuals and as a church must reckon with the unprecedented emergency in which humanity now finds itself.
“We therefore encourage all Episcopalians to explore The Episcopal Church’s Covenant for the Care of Creation , a commitment to practice loving formation, liberating advocacy, and life-giving conversation as individuals, congregations, ministries, and dioceses.
“We strongly urge congregations across Massachusetts to pray, learn, act, and advocate as we build a bold and faith-filled response to the greatest moral challenge of our time.”
Read the bishops’ full declaration and their suggested actions and resources here.
View recordings of four webinars on responding to the climate emergency here.
"For the Protection of Creation":
Three of the world's top Christian leaders--Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welbe, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew--issued a "Joint Message for the Protection of Creation" ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November 2021. This extraordinary ecumenical statement calls on individuals to make meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the planet and asks those in positions of power to lead the transition to just and sustainable economies.
Find the full statement here.
Green Loans and Fossil Fuel Free Fund
Diocesan Green Loans are low-interest loans of up to $100,000 that enable congregations to make energy-efficient changes to their buildings.
- Green Loans are awarded on a rolling basis.
- Congregations interested in applying for Green Loans will find more information and application materials on the Green Loans page.
Fossil Fuel Free Fund: For information about investment opportunities with this broadly diversified portfolio, contact Charlie Jordan, Investment Coordinator, Trustees of Donations (firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-482-4826, ext. 307).
Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home Carbon Tracker
Want to know what your household's carbon output is and how you can reduce it? Want to get others in your congregation and community to work together to reduce your combined carbon footprint? The Episcopal Church's "Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home" online carbon tracker can help.
Go to www.sustainislandhome.org, scroll down to "Massachusetts Diocese" and then click on the "Join the Challenge" button below Bishop Gates's video and letter. The tracker is organized by diocese, congregation, city and region.
- Episcopal Church creation care webpage: The Episcopal Church's "Covenant for the Care of Creation" is a commitment to practice loving formation, liberating advocacy and life-giving conversation as individuals, congregations, ministries and dioceses. Explore the covenant here and sign up for the newsletter and opportunities to formally adopt the covenant in your community.
- Creation care action alerts and advocacy resources, courtesy of The Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations
- Diocese of Western Massachusetts webpage for creation care includes resources on PRAY, LEARN, ACT, ADVOCATE; Earth Day, Creation Season and more.
- Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light: Offers energy assessments for houses of worship; fees for energy assessment are charged on a sliding scale. Also works to mobilize faith communities to advocate strong climate legislation in Massachusetts.
Follow on Facebook:
Episcopalians Caring for Creation hosted by Episcopalians in the Diocese of Massachusetts
Creation Care hosted by Episcopalians in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts
Episcopal Creation Care hosted by The Episcopal Church
Green Anglicans hosted by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network