Creation Care Network E-news
July 2022
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

Summer greetings to all of you! The heat is on – and so is our passion to protect the precious web of life.

The joy in climate justice
A few weeks ago, I gave a keynote presentation for the annual meeting of Episcopal Church Women of Province One. I spoke about how we pray, learn, act, and advocate for God’s creation. Here are my closing thoughts:

I titled this presentation, “The joy in climate justice.” So, where’s the joy? 
The joy is in living with purpose, in getting up every morning with gratefulness that we have another day to serve the Lord of life. I take this as Jesus’ mission statement: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

The joy is in sharing God’s mission of reconciling us with each other, with God, and with the Earth on which all life depends. Archbishop Desmond Tutu called that reconciliation the “supreme work” of Jesus Christ.

The joy is in knowing – amid the uncertainty and heartbreak of such a precarious time – that our decisions matter, our choices matter, and love matters most of all. Love is what brought us here; love is why we’re here; and love will welcome us home at our journey’s end.

A few weeks ago, I also joined a delegation of faith leaders convened by Creation Justice Ministries that met with the head of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). We urged Dr. Spinrad to put in place the strongest possible protections for Stellwagon Bank, a marine sanctuary off the coast of Boston. My blog post tells the story, but here is an excerpt of my remarks:

I want to say a word about “sanctuary.” What is a sanctuary? It’s a consecrated place, a place set apart for worship, a place that is holy and deserves to be treated with reverence and respect. This marine sanctuary not only protects diverse and endangered species, offering refuge and shelter – it also protects the human spirit. It’s a sanctuary for our souls: a place to experience the gift of joy and wonder in all God’s works, a place to encounter the Divine. Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary isn’t only scientifically and economically important – it also has spiritual and religious value. Let’s safeguard this precious corner of God’s creation and honor our responsibility to God, future generations, and our more-than-human kin. Let’s put the sacred back into “sanctuary.”

Speaking of oceans – Creation Justice Ministries has launched a new Ocean webpage and a new 30x30 webpage, along with a bulletin insert on how 30x30 connects to our faith and ocean conservation. At the links, find resources with tools to equip, mobilize and educate yourself and your congregation about God’s majestic marine creation.
Good news! The Anglican Communion Environmental Network and its allies just launched a beautiful new website that features weekly, lectionary-based climate justice and creation justice sermons written by preachers from across the Anglican Communion and by ecumenical partners. equips clergy and lay preachers with theological reflections on caring for God’s creation, speaking out for climate justice, and protecting biodiversity. If you’re looking for sermon suggestions with an ecological lens, please enjoy this new resource! You can sign up for weekly notes delivered to your email inbox.

I provided a sermon, “Holy Trinity: Joining the Dance,” which reflects on how understanding God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit can inform our struggle to stabilize the climate and protect the beautiful, living world that God entrusted to our care.
Photo: Robert A. Jonas.
Enjoy contemplative walks in nature.
As summer unfolds, I invite you to spend plenty of prayerful times outdoors. What is it like to meet the beings around you – trees, birds, plants, water – not as an “it” but as a “you”? As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Orion Magazine, do look at this lovely essay by Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Speaking of Nature.” What happens when you use what she calls “the grammar of animacy” and encounter your “leafy or feathered companions” as kin? Years ago, I chose KINSHP as the word on my car’s license plate. What if our sense of separateness from the natural world were a complete illusion? 
Wednesday, July 6
1:00 p.m. (Eastern) Online (free)
The fossil fuel industry is using the war in Ukraine to push for ramping up production in the United States. As a result, communities on the frontlines of the industry face the wartime threat of more pollution and more harm to their health. In this webinar, we will learn about the history that shapes the threats faced, and we will hear directly from those fighting at the grassroots to protect their families and communities. Featured speakers include Roishetta Ozane (Healthy Gulf), Lois Bower-Bjornson (Clean Air Council), and David J.X. González (University of California-Berkeley).   

This monthly installment of Creation Justice Webinars is co-hosted by the Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt (Minister of Environmental Justice, United Church of Christ) and the Rev. Michael Malcom (Executive Director, Alabama Interfaith Power & Light and People's Justice Council).

For more information and to register, click hereEven if you can’t join the webinar at its scheduled time, you will receive a link to the recording.
• Summer Arts Series 2022
Tuesday, July 26
7:00 – 8:15 p.m. • Online ($10; for scholarships, email [email protected])
In this panel discussion, The BTS Center will welcome the contributions of four individuals who are deeply engaged in climate justice work — through music, visual art, climate research, and education. Join what promises to be a rich conversation about adaptation, artistic process, and the beauty of our climate-changed world. For more information and to register, click here.

Available anytime • Online ($10)
In this new online course offered by ChurchNext, Bill McKibben shows us that we still have time to take climate action -- but not as much time as we once had, and not as completely as we once might have been able to manage. Bill's main messages: we need to act now, and we need to act in groups. Fortunately, faith communities are good at group activities and maintaining hope against the odds. For more information and to register, click here.
If we make the right renewable energy choices, we can shift the New England electric grid away from fossil fuels. Customers of National Grid or Eversource in MA/RI can sign up with Green Energy Consumers Alliance.

In any case, ditch your clothes dryer and hang laundry on a line!
From Interfaith Power & Light: “The guide discusses many of the defining moral issues of our time that are on the ballot: faltering democratic institutions, too much wealth in the hands of a few, damage to the climate, cruel immigration policies that tear families apart, mass incarceration that devastates communities of color, and threats to global public health and
security. Whether you use it at the kitchen table, in a house of worship, at a community forum, or at an event with political candidates, we hope it helps you and your community navigate the urgent moral questions facing our nation.” Download the guide here.

• Join Interfaith Power and Light’s 2022 Faith Climate Justice Voter Campaign to reach out to people of faith and conscience, making sure they are registered and ready to vote, and mobilizing them to vote their values of caring for our common home and loving our neighbors.
It is time for Attorney General Garland to end Department of Justice opposition to the children’s climate case, Juliana v. United States. In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, against the U.S. government.  These 21 young people are seeking a judicial declaration that the U.S. fossil fuel energy system is unconstitutional and violates their fundamental right to a safe climate. A victory in their case would mean that all current and future U.S. climate and energy policy - whether executive or legislative in nature, and regardless of political majority or party - would need to adhere to the court’s declaratory judgment, protecting the rights of our nation’s children to a safe climate. For more information and to sign, visit here.

•Join Community Action Works to ask our Senators to support the PFAS Action Act. Toxic chemicals called PFAS have contaminated waterways across the country, endangering up to 110 million Americans. The PFAS Action Act would require the EPA to limit dumping of PFAS into our waterways and place a moratorium on new PFAS chemicals. Edit and sign the letter here.

Grant applications open for Episcopal creation care projects
The Episcopal Church Office of Creation Care announces the opening of the 2022 Creation Care grant funding cycle, with applications—available in English and Spanish—being accepted for local and regional eco-ministry projects until 5 p.m. ET Aug. 15.

An informational webinar to learn more about the grant process is available on-demand.
Bridge of Flowers, Shelburne Falls, MA. Photo: submitted.
• The Creation Care Justice Network (CCJN) continues to work on building an Episcopal version of the UCC’s excellent “Green Congregation Challenge.” We’ve named our program “An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice,” and we aim to help Episcopal congregations in Massachusetts amplify their climate action and weave care for Creation into every aspect of their life together. Please consider joining our work! For information, please email us at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!
Photo: Robert A. Jonas
SEASON OF CREATION (September 1- October 4)
Celebrated by more than two billion Christians around the world, Creation Season begins with the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation on September 1, and concludes with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, on October 4.
How will your congregation mark Creation Season this year? To spark your thinking, consider the theme of the 2022 Season of Creation: “Listen to the Voice of Creation.” Its logo is the burning bush, which symbolizes both the devastating fires of climate crisis and the divine fire of the Holy Spirit. The fire that called to Moses affirmed that God heard the cries of all who suffered and would be with us as we followed in faith to our deliverance from injustice. 

Check to find downloadable resources for organizing events, leading liturgy, advocacy campaigns/asks, and more.

We are already planning two Creation Season events this fall:
• Preaching Climate Justice: A Conversation with Jim Antal and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Thursday, September 15
10:00-11:15 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Join us for another lively presentation by two religious leaders who are committed to encouraging climate preaching that is both pastoral and prophetic. There will be ample time for questions and conversation, as well as suggestions for how to preach on some of the texts assigned for upcoming Sundays in Creation Season. This event is open at no charge to all preachers, lay and ordained. For more information and to register, click here.

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.

SAVE THE DATE! Rev. Margaret will lead an online retreat on Saturday morning, October 1. Details to follow.

Greenfaith International Network invites people of faith worldwide to plan actions from Sunday, October 2 through Sunday, October 9, which support addressing the climate crisis. Faiths 4 Climate Justice will lift up our moral values of reverence, justice, and compassion, and call upon our leaders to safeguard our future. The ten demands are listed here. Think about creating a prayer vigil or a procession, perhaps in front of a bank that funds fossil fuels. For inspiration, watch the wrap-up video for Greenfaith’s recent event, Sacred People, Sacred Earth.

• I’m taking some vacation in August. Expect your next issue of this newsletter on September 1, as we launch Season of Creation. As always, drop me a note if you’d like to be in touch ([email protected]). Enjoy the summer!

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

Missioner for Creation Care (Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass. & Southern New England Conference, UCC)

Creation Care Advisor (Episcopal Diocese of Mass.)
Pond at dawn. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Urge your senator to support the PFAS Action Act

Toxic chemicals called PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have contaminated waterways across the country, endangering up to 110 million Americans. To protect public health and our waterways, we're calling on the U.S. Senate to pass the...

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Interfaith Resources
Creation Justice Ministries: Why do we work on ocean issues?

Why do we work on ocean issues? Science confirms that life as we know it first arose in the water, and in particular, the oceans. Care for God's oceans is an expression of reverence for the cradle of life out of which God created all.

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Read this...
Explore this...
Preaching for God's World

A resource for preachers, which offers thoughts and reflections on each Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary readings viewed through the lens of the Anglican Five Marks of Mission – in particular on caring for people and planet.

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Join our diocesan Creation Care Facebook group!
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MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014