Season of Creation
(September 1 – October 4)
Creation Season (September 1-October 4) is celebrated by billions of Christians around the world. It begins on September 1 with the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation and concludes with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4.
The Episcopal Church joins this international effort for prayer and action for climate justice and an end to environmental racism and ecological destruction. This year’s theme is A home for all? Renewing the Oikos of God, and the Season of Creation 2021 Celebration Guide is now available with event ideas, prayers, resources, and more!
The Season of Creation may be a great opportunity to hold an outdoor worship service, ministry or advocacy gathering, or another creative event! For more ideas, visit The Episcopal Church’s Season of Creation and St. Francis Day Resource Page.
Here in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, we encourage you to mark the Season of Creation by inviting your congregation to join you in watching the four one-hour webinars on PRAY, LEARN, ACT, and ADVOCATE that the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas and Creation Care Justice Ministry in the Diocese of MA held this spring. View recordings of the videos on YouTube here.
Please read through our refreshed pages on Pray, Learn, Act, and Advocate. We’ve added new liturgies, a climate justice film series, new activities, and more. During Creation Season, will you and your congregation choose one or more items from each category?
One simple step you can take right now: If you are an Episcopalian in Massachusetts, please complete a short survey about how your congregation is (or is not) involved in creation care. We are eager to develop our network of individuals and parishes engaged in efforts to restore God’s creation, and we’d like to support and connect with you. Thank you for taking a moment to fill out the survey. We are glad to receive replies from different members of the same parish.
WHAT WILL YOUR CONGREGATION DO THIS CREATION SEASON?
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Our diocese is offering two special events for Creation Season, including:
Climate-Crisis Preaching: A Conversation with Jim Antal and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Thursday, September 16 • 10:00-11:00 a.m. (Zoom)
Preaching on climate change is more important than ever. Please join this informal hour-long conversation with two religious climate leaders who between them have preached on climate change more than 500 times. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion. All preachers, lay and ordained, are invited.
Participants are encouraged to read Bullitt-Jonas’ article, “Preaching When Life Depends on It: Climate Crisis and Gospel Hope” (Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2021) and Antal’s chapter, “Prophetic Preaching: Freeing the Pulpit from Fear,” in his book, Climate Church, Climate World.
Registration is now open.
Ecological conversion: Falling in love with Earth, Led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Saturday, October 2, 9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon • Zoom (free)
As we approach the end of Creation Season and prepare for the feast day of St. Francis on October 4, what is our next step in eco-conversion? How does God want to meet us through the natural world? Our time together will include silence and guided meditation, presentations and small group conversation, and free time for solitary prayer and a contemplative walk outdoors.
Please bring a natural object to this retreat (e.g., a few autumn leaves, a rock, shell, feather, or house plant). This retreat is open to the public at no charge.
Registration is now open.
Other ways to mark 2021 Creation Season:
Join the #HouseOnFireChoir with A Passion for the Planet!
Bring your voice to COP26!
The most important climate talks since the Paris Agreement will begin in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31, 2021. The Climate Emergency means we need to make our voices heard. We’ve marched, we’ve voted, we’ve petitioned, and now we are going to sing, and sing in one large choir, the #HouseOnFireChoir with A Passion for the Planet: Join us in singing for the U.N. Climate Summit. You will be part of the finale of the COP26 on-line performance of Geoffrey Hudson’s A Passion for the Planet.
Record yourself, your friends, your family or your choir, send in your performance, and we’ll (literally) bring your voices to Glasgow, Scotland this November! The deadline for sending in your performance is October 11th. Explore this website for more details on how to participate.
Climate Preparedness Week, September 24-30
Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) is hosting its fourth annual Climate Preparedness Week. This year’s theme is The Weather is Changing: Are You Prepared? Organizations across Massachusetts and the U.S. will host events that educate and prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change. If your church is interested in hosting an event or spreading the word about Climate Preparedness Week, please fill out the interest form. You can also view the Climate Prep Week webpage for more information.
MassIPL’s Autumn Interfaith Worship Service: “Love. Earth. Justice.”
Sunday, October 3, 3:00 p.m.
Meet us at Old South Church in downtown Boston for an uplifting interfaith worship service. Rev. Margaret will help lead worship. Beloved preacher Rev. Traci Blackmon (Associate General Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ) will deliver a sermon. Join us for stirring music, prayers, messages, and fellowship.
Good News Gardens Harvest Celebrations – Sunday, October 3
Check the Good News Gardens page on this website.
Celebrate the Feast of St. Francis (October 4)
Creation Season always ends on a high note: The Feast of St. Francis on October 4. Since Oct. 4, 2021, falls on a Monday, you might transfer the Feast of St. Francis to your Sunday morning worship on Oct. 3 (perhaps followed that afternoon by a Good News Gardens Harvest Celebration or a trip to Boston to join the MassIPL interfaith worship service!) Weather permitting, maybe you can worship outside.
The Episcopal Church provides resources for planning a celebration of St. Francis. If you celebrate a Blessing of the Animals, you might focus on asking how humans can live in a way that blesses animals.
Becoming a Good Creature
A resource for children and adults for St. Francis’ Day (or anytime!)
But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
New Hampshire author Sy Montgomery has spent a lifetime learning from animals, documenting their lives, and wondering about their souls. She has written a memoir for adults, How to Be a Good Creature, complemented by a children’s picture book version, Becoming a Good Creature.
For those who prefer to listen to the stories, you can access a Living on Earth radio interview here, or a talk at the New England Aquarium here. Consider using her work to spark conversations across the generations on how we honor and learn from animals and all creation.
For all-ages conversation and action: invite everyone to read, listen to, or watch one of these offerings.
– Have you ever experienced animals as teachers? Can you tell a story of an animal who taught you something?
– Of the different stories that Sy told, which one stood out for you? Why? Have any of her stories changed the way you think about animals in general or some animals in particular?
– How can we make the places where we live, work, learn, play, and worship more friendly to animals? How would you like to pray for animals?
– Choose an animal you care about and learn how it experiences the world. What can you do to help this animal live its fullest life? Draw a picture of this animal surrounded by the things that you’ve learned make it feel happy and safe; or make a plan with your family or church for how you can help it.
– Plant and tend a native tree, shrub, or plant that will provide food and shelter to animals who live near you. Learn more here: Native Plant Finder (by Zip code) and here: Homegrown National Park.
Learning more about St. Francis
Fr. Richard Rohr (Center for Action and Contemplation) has written extensively and produced many videos about St. Francis. Here is a 2-minute clip on YouTube:
The First Bible (Nature) & St. Francis.
The Episcopal Church provides abundant resources for celebrating Creation Season, including an ecumenical weekly devotional, a Season of Creation Website (including the Season of Creation 2020 prayer, plus information on events and how to take action), and Episcopal liturgical resources for honoring God in Creation. Take a look!