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

Rejoice and sing now, all the round Earth! Christ is risen! 

• My Earth Sunday sermon highlighted the good news of Easter for God’s whole creation. In “Earth Sunday and resurrection hope,” I reflect on the ecological meaning of faith in Christ and on the fact that the risen Christ continues to bear the wounds of crucifixion.

I wonder if we could learn to see the wounded Earth as revealing not only the harsh reality of sin, suffering, and death, but also as lit up with God’s undying love. I wonder what it would be like if, in tending to the wounded body of creation, we knew that we were also ministering to the wounds of Christ. 

The text of the sermon is here, and video is posted here.
New book published on Earth Day! I contributed a reflection to The Creation Care Bible Challenge: A 50 Day Bible Challenge, edited by Marek P. Zabriskie. This remarkable collection features fifty days of reflections composed by scholars, priests, bishops, and leaders from around the Anglican Communion. Each biblical passage is accompanied by a brief essay on its ecological meaning, and a prayer. I hope you enjoy this little book as a companion in your daily meditation. Available from the publisher, Forward Movement, and wherever books are sold.
Rev. Tina Rathbone (Grace Church, Great Barrington), Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, and Rev. Tom Synan (Grace Church, Amherst) at the April 9 rally in Springfield.
Photo: submitted
• I want to thank all the churches that co-sponsored a rally in Springfield to protest Eversource’s proposed new gas pipeline. In my blog post, “No new pipelines: Climate justice is God’s justice,” I describe why local opposition to this pipeline has been fierce and why people of all faiths are standing together to cry out for climate justice.

The sacred texts and teachings of the world’s religions speak with one voice about our responsibility to live in harmony with each other and with the land upon which all life depends. Whatever our faith tradition, we know that destroying Earth is against our religion. Polluting the air is against our religion. Making life difficult for our neighbors, especially those who have been marginalized and underserved, is against our religion. Wrecking our children’s future is against our religion.  

A list of the Episcopal and UCC churches that supported the rally is at the end of my blog post. Thank you, friends!
• During the 40 days of Lent, many of you signed up to receive Renewing God’s Creation: Daily Meditations for Lent 2022. I appreciated the notes of thanks I received for these inspirational daily messages, which included a short quote about the natural world and an image. An archive of the meditations is available to everyone.

Tuesday, May 10
3:00 – 5:00 Eastern • Online (free)
Join Joanna Macy, author of Active Hope, and Jonathan Gustin, the founder of Purpose Guides Institute, to discover your authentic place in the world and to offer your soul-level purpose as a gift of service to life in this time. Can’t make it? Sign up for free and receive a recording. For more information and to register, click here.  

Thursday, May 12 (and weekly thereafter)
5:00 – 6:15 p.m. Eastern • Online (free)
“The climate and ecological emergency is a trauma inflicted on all beings by white supremacy." -- Embodied Antiracism Practice, Extinction Rebellion, NYC

Embodied Regenerative Practice is an interfaith gathering of people working to develop a spiritually grounded, anti-racist climate justice community. Recognizing that white supremacy culture is at the root of systemic racism, the climate/environmental crises, and profound alienation from our bodies and the bodies of all living beings, we seek to create a safe space for truth-telling, healing, and empowerment. The weekly Zoom practice will provide movement, grounding/prayer, video or other prompts, and small group reflection to create awareness of our embodied racialized behaviors and develop new habits in how we relate to others and the Creation in our lives and organizing work. For more information, click here. To sign up or indicate interest (even if the time doesn’t work), contact Lise Hildebrandt (
Blessing of the Fields: A Rogation Day Celebration with Bishop Doug Fisher
Saturday, May 21 • In person!
Good News Gardens MA, a collaboration of the two Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts, is sponsoring this special event. On Saturday, May 21, Bishop Doug Fisher and Jimmy Pickett will visit three churches in western Massachusetts to celebrate the Blessing of the Fields. Please sign up for the Goods News Gardens MA newsletter to receive an invitation and more information. Bishop Shannon MacVean-Brown of Vermont will be Blessing the Fields at Mission Farm in central Vermont on the same day. Keep an eye on your newsletter for a Harvest Blessing in early October with Bishop Alan Gates and Bishop Gayle Harris of Massachusetts. Together, our Bishops will help to hold the growing season in prayer and blessing across our region. 

Here is a collection of suggested liturgies for blessing seeds and seedlings in your own home gardens or at your congregation. 

A prayer practice
Here comes a suggestion from Eco Preacher 1-2-3, the new, free resource from Rabbi Yonatan Neril and Rev. Leah Schade that provides monthly sermon preparation for preaching about caring for God’s creation:

Eco Bible recommends that we “Pray with the sunrise. The sunrise is a constant source of inspiration to the day it brings. The tradition of praying at sunrise is a tried and tested way of increasing our awareness and connection to each day.” More than just the Easter sunrise service, try praying at sunrise for every day of the Easter season. What do you notice about your prayer life and the gradual change of the dawn being a bit earlier each day? How does this recalibrate you to the rhythms of time on this planet?

Rooted and rising in love: A summer solstice in-person retreat
Tuesday, June 21, 2022 • $80 (includes lunch) – financial assistance available
9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (registration and coffee begin at 9:00; program starts at 9:30 a.m.) 
Led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
As we celebrate the beginning of summer and the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year, let’s reflect together on our sources of courage and hope. In the face of converging social and ecological crises, what spiritual practices and perspectives can sustain us? As we struggle to protect the web of life and to create a more just society, where do we turn for meaning and strength?

This one-day retreat, held in the beautiful landscape of the Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center in North Andover, will include a mix of presentations, small group conversations, individual reflection, and free time for contemplative wandering and prayer. Together we will explore a framework for the heart to help us become compassionate, prophetic leaders who can take up the mantle of moral leadership that this decisive moment in history requires.
During the pandemic, Rev. Margaret presented this retreat online in several venues. Even if you’ve reflected on this material before, our June retreat will give us a chance to absorb the same material in each other’s embodied presence and in the company of a lake, woods, hiking trails, and an outdoor labyrinth and chapel.
Retreatants are welcome to stay overnight for an extra charge, by making arrangements with Guest Services Director, Lee O'Brien (
To request financial assistance from Diocese of MA, contact Martha Gardner (; from Diocese of Western MA, contact Kim Foster (
To register, visit hereRegistration is open until June 10. 
Together in Climate Chaos: Interfaith Solidarity for Climate Resilient Communities, Sunday, May 1
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. • Online and in person (North American Indian Center of Boston, 105 South Huntington Ave, Jamaica Plain) (free)
Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) will host the fourth annual interfaith summit on vulnerability and climate change. Join faith communities around the greater Boston area as we come together to discuss extreme weather and climate resilience. Keynote speaker, Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman! Register here. Full program and speakers are here.
4 Wednesdays: May 4, 11, 18, 25
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Eastern • Online ($50)
Led by course instructor, John Gatta (writer, theologian, and professor emeritus at the University of the South, Sewanee), this promises to be a powerful course. Please join me! If we miss a class, we can watch the recording.

Course description: It is hard to remain hopeful as we witness the degradation of the planet now taking place. The health of our common home, once imaged by astronomer Carl Sagan as a lovely but pale blue dot of vulnerability floating in the immensity of space, today looks more doubtful than ever. How, though, might we renew for ourselves that deep green faith? How might we
reclaim environmental consciousness as a central – not merely a supplementary or special interest – component of Christian faith and practice? How might we root it in gospel teachings, including those associated with traditional terms such as salvation, incarnation, God’s reign, and Christ’s resurrection and transfiguration on Mount Tabor?

For more information and to register, click here

Wednesday, May 11
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern • Online (free)
Migration stemming from the damage done to our climate is underway right now as the lives of people around the world are uprooted and disrupted. From sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific Islands to Alaska and Louisiana, we see the present consequences of drought, extreme weather, and rising sea levels. According to a recent UN climate report, 20 million people have been displaced each year since 2008 due to extreme weather that is often exacerbated by the climate crisis. While climate-related migration is bound to increase, there is much we can do as people of faith to both mitigate the severity of the climate crisis and reduce worsening inequities amid forced displacement. Hosted by the Rev. Brooks Berndt and the Rev. Michael Malcom, this webinar will feature those working to address climate migration from a place of deeply held values. You can register here.
Thursday, May 19
12:30 – 3:00 p.m. • Online ($25)
In these times of accelerating climate change and devastating losses, we need spiritual leadership that is strong enough to speak prophetically to the challenges at hand, yet tender and nuanced enough to allow the message to resonate. Those of us who preach regularly, or even occasionally, can feel at a loss as to how to incorporate climate change into our sermons and reflections, complex and painful as these subjects are. And yet, the need for preaching in a climate-changed world is profound. Knowing the importance of ecological preaching, The BTS Center is pleased to partner with Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade and Rabbi Yonatan Neril for an Eco Preaching Workshop in which participants will gain tools to become “EcoPreachers” in their contexts. For more information and to register, click here.

This timely workshop is co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts. If you are a member of our diocese and would like a scholarship, please let me know (  
Thursday, May 19
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Eastern • Online (free)
The question around disasters is not if a disaster will happen here but when – especially as we see climate change increasing the severity and frequency of severe weather events. When disasters occur, congregations can offer vital care and resources for their members and wider communities. Advance preparation and planning can position churches to respond well.

As we enter another season of climate-driven disasters, it is time to step back and ask: How can our congregations be hubs of climate resilience, helping our communities weather the spiritual and physical storms of the climate crisis?

In this workshop, facilitated by Avery Davis Lamb, Co-Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries, participants will learn about the domestic and global context of climate disasters, get connected with resources for disaster response and recovery, and engage in conversations and activities for developing context-specific disaster preparedness and response plans.
You can register here.

I recommend this excellent keynote lecture by the Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt (Theologian-In-Residence for Ames United Church of Christ, and the United Church of Christ’s Environmental Justice Minister). In a clear, straightforward presentation he outlines 10 “Naked Truths” that point to the need for prophetic action and the key elements of prophetic action. Visit here for the list of 10 naked truths. The YouTube link is here (his presentation is from 6:30-45:00).
Thursday, May 26 (Ascension Day)
7:30 p.m. Eastern • Online (free)
I will be the final speaker in this 6-week speaker series through the season of Easter, sponsored by the Creation Care ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri and hosted by Parker Williams, Missioner for Creation Care and Stewardship. For a complete list of speakers and to register, click here.  
• When is it ethical to fly?
A good friend who is aware of the climate emergency recently asked me to comment on his planned trip to the Holy Land. His question about the ethics of air travel raised difficult moral questions that I have not resolved to my own satisfaction. Once you know that a ton of carbon is emitted per passenger for a one-way flight across the Atlantic, should we swear off flying for the sake of our own moral integrity? What ethical principles come into play when we consider taking an airplane trip?
Sparrow. Photo: submitted
I found a good article from 2019 about "flying shame" (a Swedish term) and the difficult decisions involved in air travel: "Air travel is a huge contributor to climate change. A new global movement wants you to be ashamed to fly." 

Because we live in an economy based on fossil fuels, it is virtually impossible to be morally pure. Yet all of us can think carefully before we plan our next flight. If we do decide to fly, I encourage us to purchase carbon offsets for the trip (here is a good article about several reputable organizations that offer carbon offsets: Best carbon offset programs). A risk in buying carbon offsets is that people might feel that they now have permission to burn endless quantities of fossil fuels. Still, it seems to me that if someone who is sincerely working to reduce their carbon footprint buys carbon offsets as part of the effort, that can be a reasonable strategy.

I haven’t stepped on a plane since February 2020. Some climate activist friends of mine have given up flying entirely, but I don't believe I'm willing to do that.  How does flying or not flying fit into your efforts to live more lightly on Earth?
Thanks to our friends in Southern New England Conference, UCC (SNEUCC), you can now access the Super Saturday webinar, “Living Out the Gospel in Each and Every Election” featuring Nathaniel Stinnett, founder and Executive Director of Environmental Voter Project and several clergy serving SNEUCC churches. Learn why identifying and mobilizing non-voting environmentalists into a critical mass is vital and how you and your congregation can make this happen.  

The Environmental Voter Project estimates that about 15 million people who consider the environment a priority don’t vote. Why is that important? Because political campaigns pay attention to the concerns of voters. If those for whom the environment is a priority don’t vote, then environmental initiatives are not a priority for legislators.
Lake. Photo: submitted
Ask your State Representative to co-sponsor eight important Green Budget 
amendments to the House Budget, sponsored by the Environmental League of Massachusetts. A pre-written email is set up for you here, although of course it will have more impact if you use your own words. You can find your State Representative here.

Bank customers! Tell your bank to stop funding climate chaos! Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citibank are the largest funders of fossil fuels and deforestation in the world. We need your help to demand that these banks stop funding these industries for good.
These banks claim to care about their customers, which means that you have special leverage to push your financial institution to live up to the ethics they claim to uphold. Together, thousands of customers can demand that these banks face the consequences of a business plan that funds the destruction of their customer’s homes, communities, and livelihoods. Sign on to the Customers for Climate Justice Open Letter to CEOs, demanding they stop financing fossil fuels and deforestation.

(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.)
Fox in Ashfield, MA. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Support the Green Budget
The Environmental League of Massachusetts

Only 0.62% of the state’s operating budget is allocated to protect our environment, fight climate change, and preserve our natural resources. Current agency funding is insufficient to meet urgent and increasing responsibilities. Public parks, recr...

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Interfaith Resources
Free Webinar
Register for "Climate Disasters, Faithful Resilience:...

Join us virtually on May 19, 2022 for "Climate Disasters, Faithful Resilience: Preparing your congregation for climate disasters"

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Environmental Voter Project

Using every election as an opportunity to change voting behavior, we track our voters' long-term voting habits to maximize the cumulative impact of our work. With behavioral science-informed messaging, we text, call, canvass, mail, and send...

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