If the supreme disaster of our times is the closing down of the life systems of the earth,
then the supreme need of our times is to bring about a healing of the earth.
Here are some actions we can take to restore God’s Creation:
With a brand new website and Executive Director, MassIPL is embracing a mission of “Faith in action for climate justice.” One part of that mission is to provide conservation expertise and services to houses of worship. Through better insulation, energy efficiency, and solar installation, MassIPL has helped hundreds of congregations save many thousands of dollars and prevented significant amounts of carbon pollution from entering the atmosphere.
Through MassIPL, you can arrange for an Environmental Stewardship Assessment, look into solar for your house of worship, and learn other ways to reduce consumption of fossil fuels. MassIPL is especially interested in assisting houses of worship located in environmental justice communities.
Call (617) 244-0755 or email: info@MassIPL.org
Join the Good News Garden Movement
Plant, Pray, & Proclaim!
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are increasingly worried about food security. The Episcopal Church invites everyone to plant gardens, large and small; to pray; and to proclaim the good news of God’s love through word and action.
To learn more from The Episcopal Church about the Good News Gardens Movement, including the benefits of joining and how to access other resources, click here.
Good News Gardens is launching in our own diocese! To join us, click here.
Start a Creation Care group (or a “Green Team”) in your congregation
Wondering how to organize a group of people in your congregation to address the climate crisis? Simply pull together a few people who understand the urgency of the situation and decide together what you’d like to do.
Here is a handout of tips on how to launch a Green Team in your church. Remember to invite everyone to check out the resources and suggestions on our diocesan website! If your congregation is in the Diocese of Western Mass., please give your Missioner for Creation Care (email: email@example.com) the contact information of someone on your team, so that we can stay in touch. Thanks!
Sign up for Sustain Island Home
The Episcopal Church’s carbon tracker helps us make better choices around energy.
While everyone should feel free to explore the site, Sustain Island Home is intended primarily for congregations. Our diocesan team would be glad to help introduce the carbon tracker to your congregation (perhaps via Zoom at a coffee hour, Forum, or special event), and to diocesan groups. For information about the carbon tracker, please contact our Team Convener, the Rev. Eric Elley (phone: 860/394-8728; email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
At its 2019 diocesan convention, the Diocese of Western Mass passed a resolution, Good News For All Creation, which encouraged use of Sustain Island Home. In this resolution, the diocese called on its members to support “efforts to live more simply, humbly and gently on the Earth and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.” Using Sustain Island Home is also a terrific way to implement a resolution that our diocese passed at its 2017 diocesan convention: We Are Still In: A Resolution to Fight Climate Change. That resolution pledged support of the goals of the Paris Climate Accord and “[called] on our congregations and every person of faith to set a moral example by making decisions of integrity in our energy choices.”
Join Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW)
Work with CREW to make your church a “resilience hub”! Learn how your congregation can help the most vulnerable people in your community. Based in Massachusetts, CREW is “a network of local leaders building grassroots climate resilience through inclusive, hands-on education, service, and planning. Together, we are working to equip families and communities with the resources and capacity to prepare for and respond to local climate changes equitably, sustainably, & collaboratively.”
Moving Forward – A Guide to Climate Action for your Congregation and Community
This is an excellent, one-stop-shop guide to why faith communities feel moved to act on climate change, and what we can do – from stewardship (mitigation) to offering refuge (adaptation) to bearing witness (advocacy).
This free, ecumenical resource from Blessed Tomorrow can be downloaded here. Take a look! (Yes, that’s our diocesan banner in the lower right-hand corner – Love God, Love your neighbor, Stop climate change – being held up by your missioner for Creation care.)
Is your house of worship looking to finance critical repairs, upgrades, energy efficiency, or clean energy projects? Click to learn about Blessed Tomorrow’s new Unety Program for Houses of Worship that helps congregations finance improvements to their energy efficiency.
RAYS THE VALLEY is our chance to bring community-owned solar options to everyone.
Individuals and churches are invited to join an exciting new initiative that will save you money on your electricity bills and also support the development of community solar energy. RAYS THE VALLEY is one of only 35 groups to be awarded a “Solar in Your Community” competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to broaden the access to solar power. Even if the roof of your home or the roof of your church cannot support a solar array, you can still take advantage of this money-saving opportunity to enjoy access to solar energy.
Interested in going solar and saving money for your organization? Visit the website for Co-op Power. Even better, have a conversation with someone from Co-op Power who can walk you through your options (phone: 413/772-8898, or email: email@example.com).
Although Rays the Valley is based in the Pioneer Valley, it can help you join the solar revolution wherever you live in Massachusetts.
We salute Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield, for being the first church in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts to install solar panels! Congratulations! They used Sunbug Solar as their installer, and they describe the experience as “fantastic.” Do be in touch with Christ Trinity, Sheffield, if you’d like to hear how they raised the money and how they qualified for the state’s SMART program.
Another possibility: contact Resonant Energy to explore solar power for your church. Resonant Energy is one of the only programs that makes solar accessible for low-income households and nonprofits.
Enjoy this short video of the Boston Solar Interfaith Project, undertaken by Resonant Energy, through which five houses of worship in the Boston area came together for an interfaith solar project.
Start a Creation Care group or “green team.”
A Creation Care team seeks to inspire, educate, and support a congregation as it moves toward environmental sustainability and responsibility. How do you launch such a team? Where should it begin and what should it do? Take a look at a short guide to ways that a team can develop sustainability in church life by increasing energy efficiency and conservation, decreasing consumption and waste, encouraging clean energy, and advocating for ecological and climate justice.
“How to Start a Green Team at Your Church” is available here.
MassSave offers a free Home Energy Assessment (plus rebates and incentives)
By making our homes and other buildings as energy-efficient as possible, we use less energy and reduce the pressure to build new fossil fuel infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines. For information, visit here. For MassSave Multi-family Program for apartments and condominiums, take a look here.
You Change Earth is an excellent resource for helping each of us to identify what we can do to address climate change – everything from making lifestyle changes to joining communities for longer-term engagement. You can click through a brief survey of how much time you have to offer, and any special skills, and you’ll receive a menu of possibilities for taking action.
Reduce your carbon footprint.
– Carpool. Walk, bicycle, or take the bus instead of driving. If possible, buy an electric car.
– Eat less or no meat.
– Start a community garden.
– Hang clothes outside to dry.
– Support your local farms and land trusts.
– Turn off the lights and have dinner by candlelight.
– Whenever possible, avoid buying plastic (e.g. bottles of water, straws, packaging).
– Organize a “100-mile meal” parish potluck: bring dishes whose ingredients were grown or raised within 100 miles of your church.
Trees matter. They are key to clean air and clean drinking water. They sequester carbon, and the latest IPCC report makes it clear that in order to avert climate chaos we must protect and enlarge our forests. Trees are essential to human health and survival. Trees are also essential to the human spirit. Biblical scholars point out that there is a tree on the first page of Genesis and on the last page of Revelation – the first and last pages of the Bible. There is a tree in the first psalm, and the Bible refers to its wisdom as a Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:18). Jesus calls himself the true vine (John 15:1).
Join the Arbor Day Foundation and receive 10 free trees. View the Plant Trees brochure.
Support the 2018 General Convention resolution to plant “Paris groves” in our Church’s 85 camp and conference centers. These trees serve as visible witnesses to the significance of the Paris Climate Accord. For information on how to help the Barbara C. Harris Camp & Conference Center plant disease-resistant American Liberty Elm trees, view the Paris Groves brochure.
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 in the Diocese of Massachusetts. You can sign up for email updates, and join one of its three working groups, which focus on Action and Advocacy; Spiritual Practice and Grounding; and Communications and Networking.
“For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the tree of the field shall clap their hands.”