Creation Care Network E-news
December 2023
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

Advent resonates with the promise of Christmas: God’s love is breaking into a war-torn, weary world. Advent invites us to tend, like midwives, the birth of love within us and to strengthen our yearning for God’s shalom, that longed-for day when the fullness of justice, love, and peace will reign on Earth. In this holy season, may the tenderness of God’s love for the whole world inform our actions and prayers.
COP28: November 30 - December 12
Today our attention turns to the international climate talks now underway in Dubai, as representatives of nearly 200 countries grapple with climate emergency. Please join me in praying for delegates’ solidarity with the global South, for strong commitments by wealthy nations to compensate vulnerable nations for the loss and damage caused by the impacts of climate change, and for decisive resistance to the influence of gas and oil lobbyists on the negotiations.

The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, has named 21 delegates to represent his office at this year’s United Nations climate summit. Click here to learn about the Episcopal Church’s top policy priorities at COP28 and how our Church is implementing the Paris Agreement and addressing the climate emergency. Additional information about our Church and COP28 is here.

It's a joy to note that for the first time a Faith Pavilion will be part of the global climate summit. This diverse coalition aims to “inspire and unleash the power of religions, religious leaders, and faith communities as change agents for climate action.” Information will be shared here during COP28.
Want to hear from and pray with our Church’s delegates?
  • Mondays and Thursdays, 8:00 p.m. (Eastern): Climate Justice Compline with the COP28 Delegation. Register here.
  • Friday, December 15, 3:00 p.m. (Eastern): Episcopal COP28 Closing Event and Report Back from Delegates.  Register here.
Larch and solar panel. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
The Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) spotlighted the new edition of Creation Season 2023: Celebration Guide for Episcopal Parishes, which the Rev. John Eliott Lein and I created several months ago and which has been authorized for use in 28 dioceses across the Episcopal Church. Here is a 7-minute video recording of my talk. This story is part of a series of worldwide success stories about environmental justice at parish or diocesan levels.

I particularly commend two other short videos in the series: a video by the Rev. Laurel Dykstra about Salal + Cedar, the extraordinary eco-justice ministry that she founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a video by the Rev. Rachel Mash (Anglican Church of Southern Africa) on “Greening Your Canons” – a brilliant way (as she puts it) to “change the DNA of the Church.”

Third Act Faith
My essay, Risking Arrest, Standing for Love,” was featured in the “Going Deep” newsletter of Third Act Faith. Are you over 60 and interested in building a faith-based climate movement? Join me in, the national network founded by Bill McKibben, and sign up for the Faith cohort. Let’s see what we elders can contribute to the cause!
Wondering how to make this an eco-friendly Christmas? 
Donate in a loved one’s honor to Episcopal Relief & Development or to another non-profit working to heal a climate-changed, battle-scarred world. Some gifts are worth giving every day! Here’s a list (author unknown) from the newsletter of Mercy by the Sea:
Eight Gifts that Do Not Cost a Cent

The Gift of Listening
But you must really listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming,
no planning your response. Just listening.

The Gift of Affection
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds.
Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

The Gift of Laughter
Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories.
Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

The Gift of a Written Note
It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet.
A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime,
and may even change a life.
The Gift of a Compliment
A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," “You did a super job," or
"That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

The Gift of a Favor
Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

The Gift of Solitude
There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone.
Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition
The easiest way to feel good is to make others feel good.
Looking for Advent and Christmas prayers that connect the Incarnation with God’s love for the whole Creation? Consider this collection of ancient and contemporary liturgical materials offered by United Methodist Creation Justice.
Wednesday, December 6
7:30 - 8:30 pm (Eastern) • Online (free)
Anytime you need a place to be with others in your grief and love for our shared home, please join The BTS Center for Lament with Earth, a seasonal, worship-filled gathering online featuring music and liturgy from The Many. Tonight’s event, cohosted with Good Grief Network, will focus on the element of fire. For more information about this, and all five of these seasonal events honoring the pain of loss through the liturgical year, visit here

“The holidays…invite us not so much to dispel the darkness with light, but to enter the darkness with whatever light our consciousness brings. It is there in the darkness, as frightening as that might be, where we truly meet our spiritual selves. It is within the darkness, the unknown, that our creativity and our hope and our promise take root and have their home.”
– Charles Blustein Ortman
Led by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Saturday, December 16        
9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon • Online (free)
This year’s Advent retreat takes its name from the opening line of a 15th-century hymn attributed to Thomas á Kempis. I will guide a morning of listening, prayer, and conversation as we open ourselves to the presence of Divine Love. Our time together will include presentations, guided meditation, and gathering in small groups. If you like, bring a candle and wear something comfortable for an optional walk outdoors. All are welcome to join our fourth annual Advent retreat. To register, visit here.

This free retreat is open to the public and is sponsored by both Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts, and by Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ. 
Monday, December 18
9:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
The Episcopal Church-wide Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism is excited to announce that these creation care compline services will continue until General Convention in June 2024. To register, please visit here.
Blessed Tomorrow invites all ordained clergy to take the self-paced, online, 5-hour climate + faith clergy training by December 31, and join the January 2024 clergy cohort that will meet each Wednesday afternoon in January to discuss the training and how to apply it. This training is designed by clergy for clergy of all faith traditions and levels of climate knowledge to help you preach and teach for climate progress. Express your interest here.
• The Green Lectionary podcast
For Advent, Creation Justice Ministries is re-launching The Green Lectionary podcast with a new episode for each week of the season. “We’ll be looking at Mark 13, Mark 1, Isaiah 61, and Psalm 89 over the course of Advent and looking at the ways that Creation is bearing witness to the incarnation and new life entering the world. The first episode has already been released on Friday, Nov. 24, and you can find it wherever you get your podcasts.” 
The BTS Center’s podcast, Climate Changed, is about spiritual leadership in a climate-changed world – and it’s back for a second season! 

Episode 2, Season 2, features Dr. Susi Moser speaking on “How can I keep going?” – the necessity of psycho-social resilience in the face of the traumatic and transformative challenges of climate change. Building on that conversation, hosts Ben Yosua-Davis and Rev. Nicole Diroff discuss the emotional and spiritual dimensions of climate activism and the role of faith communities in offering psychosocial support to those on the climate frontline. You can also download a Discussion Guide for Groups.

Episode 3, Season 2, features Eileen Flanagan, a climate activist and nonviolence trainer, speaking on “What is mine to do?” After that conversation, host Rev. Nicole Diroff and special co-host Dr. Keisha McKenzie discuss the interconnectedness of all life, the role of spiritual leaders in times of climate crisis, and how systemic divisions perpetuated by those in power harm not just humans but the entire planet. You can also download a Discussion Guide for Groups.
Season One is always available for listening on your favorite podcast platform!

• Read Laudate Deum, Pope Francis’ powerful “sequel” to his climate encyclical, Laudato ‘Si, released on the Feast of St. Francis, 2023. For a summary and background, read this piece from National Catholic Reporter. 
Has your congregation done some recent work on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and/or renewable energy? From now through December 15, your congregation can apply for Interfaith Power & Light’s annual Cool Congregations Challenge. Win recognition and a prize! Learn about Cool Congregations and learn about (and enter) the annual contest.
Is your congregation planning to take advantage of the new federal funding available for nonprofits to upgrade your facilities to reduce energy use? If you have made concrete plans – for energy audits, written action plans, and fundraising – consider applying for the Cool Planner category. Application deadline is December 15.
Caring for Creation with a Green Advent and Christmas" was developed in 2021 by the Diocese of Colorado’s ministry of Honoring and Protecting Creation. It is full of ideas for making familiar elements of the holiday season – such as gifts, wrapping paper, cards, Christmas trees, ornaments, and meals – less wasteful and more sustainable. What might you do differently this season?
Are you interested in helping increase voter turnout for 2024 elections? Building on the success of its pilot program during the 2022 U.S. midterm elections, The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations is launching a second cohort of Election Activators to help increase voter engagement for 2024. Learn more and apply here.
Please consider signing a letter from Interfaith Power & Light to thank Pope Francis for his leadership on climate and to urge President Biden to take bold climate action. For more information and to sign, click here
During its recent October meeting, The Episcopal Church Executive Council approved a resolution endorsing a proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The resolution notes, “The Executive Council recognizes that the treaty is calling the people of the world not just to make technical adjustments to negative impacts on the planet, but to transform lives by phasing out fossil fuel production and the reliance on fossil fuels by the parties to the Paris Accords.” Please sign if you haven’t done so already!
The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) between Uganda and Tanzania has long been recognized as a project that will cause massive ecological and humanitarian harm.

In the report, “As If Nothing Is Sacred: TotalEnergies’ Mistreatment of Graves Along EACOP,” GreenFaith found that TotalEnergies has caused damages in the relocation of 2,000 graves, which are being displaced to make way for the 1,443-km underground pipeline. For more information and to send a letter to the governments of Tanzania and Uganda, calling on them to stop the EACOP project, click here.
• Take action to protect state forests in Massachusetts
Sierra Club MA asks us to help protect our state’s forests. Only 2.3% of MA lands are permanently protected wildlands. “An Act Relative to Forest Protection” (HD.4430) would designate 412,000 acres of forest and watershed lands controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation as parks and reserves. In “An Act relative to increased protection of wildlife management areas” (H.904), 30% of state-owned lands under the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) would be given the same permanent reserve status. Sign a letter of support.
• Meet me in Houston?
Episcopal Parish Network will hold its 2024 Annual Conference in Houston, TX, from Wednesday, March 6, through Saturday, March 9. “The largest and most anticipated annual gathering in the Episcopal Church," the EPN conference gathers over 700 clergy, lay leaders, educators, sponsors, and exhibitors to develop, support, and inspire leaders. This year’s theme is "Inspiring Leaders." On March 7, I will serve as a panelist for the workshop, Perspectives on Creation Care – How Can the Church Respond to the Climate Crisis? 
For a description of all the workshops, visit here. For complete information about the conference and to register, visit here.

I wish you and yours a peaceful Advent and a joyful Christmas. If you'd like to be in touch, please reach out ([email protected]).  

(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.)
Ashfield in autumn. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement

SIERRA CLUB - "Protecting our forests in this time of climate crisis and biodiversity collapse is recognized as an important way to protect our environment and our future health and well-being.
Join us to take action in support of these two Massachusetts state-land forest protection bills!"
Interfaith Resources
Climate Changed | a podcast by The BTS Center

Climate Changed is a podcast about spiritual leadership in a climate-changed world. Hosted by Nicole Diroff and Ben Yosua-Davis, Climate Changed features guests who deepen the conversation while also stirring the waters. The Climate Changed...

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Read this...
Risking Arrest, Standing for Love

By the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas - "I want to tell a story about what it was like to be arrested for the first time. Why tell this story now? Because climate change is accelerating. Because we need to consider every possible tool at our disposal.."

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Explore this...
Take the Cool Congregations Challenge

The Cool Congregations Challenge is an annual national contest to recognize "Cool Congregations" that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. The contest is brought to you by Interfaith Power & Light, ...

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Join our diocesan Creation Care Facebook group!
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