In May 2021, members of the two Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts recorded a one-hour video about how the climate crisis calls us to pray.
Begin with the new book co-edited by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Leah Schade, Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis.
This collection of 21 essays by a wide range of faith-based leaders is for readers who worry about the climate crisis and want to draw from the wisdom and spiritual resources of fellow pilgrims grappling with grief and despair.
Divided into seven sections, the book provides study questions and suggested spiritual practices that make it an excellent choice for a book group.
Rooted and Rising is available at a 30% discount if you buy it directly from the publisher and use the code: RLFANDF30.
The BTS Center recorded short (less than 20-minute) interviews with seven contributors to Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, including the book’s editors, Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. The videos can be viewed here. Watch these videos on your own or as part of a group book study.
“This book put new steel in my spine and fired up my resolve. You need this book, and the Earth needs you to take its message and resources to heart.”
— Brian D. McLaren, author of The Great Spiritual Migration
This excellent short book introduces a new paradigm for climate action: emergency mode. Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who founded The Climate Emergency Declaration campaign. She argues that, in order to protect humanity and the living world, the climate movement must tell the truth about climate emergency and act as though that truth is real – employing emergency communications, militant tactics, and demanding an emergency mobilization from the government and all society.
Facing the Climate Emergency shows how we can use our fear, grief, pain and other painful feelings evoked by the climate crisis to transform ourselves, so that we re-imagine our life story and become climate warriors. Discussion questions after each chapter make this a fine choice for a book group.
Face the truth. Accept your fears. Become the hero that humanity needs.
For an overview of Salamon’s approach, read her article, “Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: Introducing the Climate Emergency Movement”
You could also read the revised and updated edition of Jim Antal’s inspiring book, Climate Church, Climate World, which includes questions for group discussion. The new edition, available in March 2023, may be ordered here (for a 35% discount on orders of 10 copies or more, use the discount code 4S23CCCW35). Perfect for congregational study, with questions for discussion after each chapter. Over 50 sermon suggestions. (For more information, visit here.)
As Bill McKibben writes in the Foreword: “Jim’s never-ending witness is the best incitement to optimism that I can imagine. At first he was a voice crying in the wilderness, but now everyone right up to Pope Francis is singing from the same hymnal. The world owes him a mighty thanks.”
A collection of essays and poetry published in 2020, All We Can Save features perspectives on the climate crisis from fifty-eight women across the United States.
“Easter People: Faith Practice and Climate Justice” is a new, creative lesson plan for middle school, high school, or young adults. Written by the Rev. Nurya Love Parish and published by the Department of Faith Formation of The Episcopal Church, the curriculum was written for the Easter season but can be used any time of year. Each of the curriculum’s seven sessions include prayers, Bible passages, activities, and reflection questions. The activity plans include options for both in-person and online activities.
“Christianity and Climate Change” is a nine-part video series for small groups featuring Katharine Hayhoe, the internationally renowned climate scientist and Evangelical Christian. The videos are only six minutes long, leaving plenty of time for discussion:
At its most recent General Convention (2018), The Episcopal Church adopted The House of Bishops’ 2011 Pastoral Teaching on the Environment as an official position of the Church, a document that urges every Episcopalian “to acknowledge the urgency of the planetary crisis in which we find ourselves.”
“A Life of Grace for the Whole World” re-claims the theology of salvation and redemption for all creation. Using The House of Bishops’ 2011 Pastoral Teaching on the Environment as a guide, “A Life of Grace” engages participants in understanding how the call to care for Creation informs and deepens our love for God and God’s work in Creation, and how that finds expression in the faith life of individuals and churches. There is a leader’s guide, a book for adults, and a booklet for youth.
Sent to the Episcopal Churches of Province One (New England) in 2003, “To Serve Christ in All Creation” is the first pastoral letter on the environment from the Episcopal Church. It provides a good brief overview of our urgent biblical and theological call to protect God’s creation.
This short statement from the bishops of Province One also includes a four-session study guide.
The Anglican Communion has released set of video presentations on ecological theology and practice from around the world. They focus on the Fifth Mark of Mission (the fifth indicator that we are sharing in Christ’s mission): “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.” The resource includes a curriculum for small group discussion of the short videos, with discussion questions. Rev. Margaret provided a 6-minute video on how the mission of the Church must change in a time of climate emergency.
What does the Bible say about climate change? This 30-minute podcast from Citizens Climate Radio features three American Evangelicals who consider faith, theology, and global warming. Kyle Meyaard Schaap (National Organizer and spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (YECA)) and Corina Newsome (YECA steering committee member on the diversity and civic engagement subcommittees), along with Rev. Josh Gibson (pastor of Emmanuel Bible Fellowship Church in Sunbury, PA) chat with host Peterson Toscano about the Bible, stewardship, loving our neighbor, heaven, and earth. Discover how these Evangelicals approach the often political topic of climate change, and learn how to connect with Bible believers, who may not be environmentalists but care very much for what happens to people and to our earthly home. (Here is a list of the various Bible passages referenced: Genesis 1:26, Genesis 2:15, Leviticus 25:4, Psalm 24:1,2, Psalm 104:10-15, Colossians 1:15, Revelation 21, Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 8:19-21.)
For an adult ed program, invite your congregation to reflect on our Christian call to advocate for climate health. Visit the Advocacy page for a video, study guide, and list of resources.
Interfaith Power & Light offers suggestions for educational material for children and youth.
Read and discuss A Catechism of Creation: An Episcopal Understanding
Resilience in Your Church: Download the Faithful Resilience series (provided by Creation Justice Ministries) for a 6-part guide to equip you with theological reflections for sermons or bible study, questions for reflection or conversation, action steps for your church, and examples of churches that are building resilience in their community. The series features six parts:
Creation Justice Ministries is an excellent source of webinars and educational materials, with a particular focus on churches and climate resilience. Examples of resources on climate resilience: recorded webinars on “How to Become a Climate-Resilient Church”; “Climate Resilience & Faithful Democracy”; “Spirituality, Trauma, & Climate Resilience.”
Congregational Watershed Discipleship Manual: This resource helps congregations become disciples of their watersheds and of the world’s waters. One manual has an interfaith emphasis, and one has a Christian focus. Find out more and download a free copy here.
Read and discuss the free conversation guide from The Christian Century, Responding to Climate Change (a guide for personal reflection and group discussion).
Become a certified Blessed Tomorrow Climate Ambassador! The Blessed Tomorrow Climate Ambassador Training is available in-person, live online, and now through a *NEW* online and on-demand learning management system, which allows you to take the 4-5 hour training online, on your own schedule.
The free training and resources will empower and equip you to inspire clergy, congregants, your workplace, community and policymakers to take action on climate change that makes a difference. You will also get connected with peers who provide mutual support and encouragement. For more information, visit here.
View Katharine Hayhoe’s TED talk, “The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it”
“Having conversations about climate change in our daily lives plays a huge role in creating social change.We take our cues about what’s important from what we hear our family, friends, colleagues and neighbors talking about. Politicians also need strong social consent to implement successful climate policies.
But talking about climate change, especially beyond the green bubble, is hard. That’s why we’ve produced an evidence-based, practical guide to help make those conversations easier and more meaningful – and to come out of them feeling inspired and connected.”
The Handbook’s advice is structured around the mnemonic REAL TALK:
Respect your conversational partner and find common ground
Enjoy the conversation
Listen, and show you’ve heard
Tell your story
Action makes it easier (but doesn’t fix it)
Learn from the conversation
Keep going and keep connected
Climate change and environmental degradation can unite diverse faith groups in a common search for solutions. Invite your town’s religious leaders to speak about the environmental teachings of their religious traditions and about the actions that their congregations are taking.
Unlike human beings, most mammals and half of all insect species are nocturnal. Artificial lighting can have devastating effects on the health of wildlife (you can find some information here, here, and here). LED lights are wonderfully energy-efficient, but did you know that blue-rich, overly bright LEDs are bad for both animal health and human health, according to the American Medical Association? Redder LEDs with shields are just as energy efficient and better for light pollution, but too few people know that they are an option or understand the need. Consider organizing a parish study group to learn more about light pollution.
You might wish to read The End of Night by Paul Bogard, which looks at each aspect of our relationship to night and light (historical, artistic, ecological), including the spiritual role of night in our lives. In the Bible, many revelations of God are given at night (remember the star of Bethlehem, or God calling Abram outside to “Look toward the heaven and count the stars,” Genesis 15:5). Yet because of light pollution, 80% of North Americans cannot see the Milky Way at night.
Would you like to join a growing network of folks in and beyond the Diocese of Western Mass. who care about Creation and want to stay connected?
To receive Rev. Margaret’s “Creation Care Network” e-news, you can sign up here. Get a message from Margaret on the first of the month that includes opportunities to learn, pray, act and advocate for the earth.
Visit RevivingCreation.org to sign up for Rev. Margaret’s blog posts.
Check out our Facebook Group, Creation Care, and join the conversation.
Explore the resources of the Creation Care Justice Network (CCJN), a growing band of Episcopalians across Massachusetts working together to build a robust response to the climate/ecological emergency. Three working groups meet separately from time to time: Action and Advocacy, Spiritual Practice and Grounding, and Communications and Networking. To connect with our network and receive email updates, please sign up here. For more information, please email: email@example.com.
For a spectrum of additional creation care resources, please visit Sustainable Life: Responding to the Climate Emergency, a collection of resources assembled and periodically updated by members of CCJN.