Creation Care Network E-news
May 2021
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

• Earth Day (April 22) landed in the middle of the week this year, so some of us got to celebrate Earth Sunday twice! In a sermon for the Episcopal Dioceses in Massachusetts, I preached about Jesus’ resurrection as a sign of God’s love for the body – our bodies and the body of Earth – and our calling to bear witness to that love. Here’s an excerpt:

In a time of climate emergency, when ice caps and ice sheets are rapidly melting, extreme storms, droughts, and wildfires are becoming more common, and part of the Gulf Stream seems to be weakening, leading to the possibility of what one scientist calls “monstrous change” that would affect not only the Atlantic Ocean but life far and wide, we are summoned as never before to bear witness to our faith in a God who calls us to live in harmony with God and God’s creation. (“Earth Sunday: ‘You are witnesses of these things’”)

In a sermon for St. John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado, I preached about the Good Shepherd:

In a world of so much injustice, violence, and uncertainty, where a mass shooting can take place in your local grocery store and a beloved landscape can go up in flames, where do we turn for solace and strength? We turn to the Good Shepherd of our souls… As our good shepherd, Jesus holds everyone and everything together. A shepherd is the person charged with keeping the flock intact, united, and heading in the right direction… The good shepherd is the one who knows us through and through and who calls us each by name. Held in the embrace of that intimate love, we don’t have to keep trying to hold ourselves together – we are free to let go, free to fall apart, free to let ourselves feel our grief, feel our anger and fear as we respond to the climate crisis and to all the challenges of our lives. (“Earth Sunday: ‘I am the good shepherd’”)

• Climate Resilience Hub Info Session for Faith Communities
Thursday, May 6
3:00 - 3:30 p.m. • Zoom (free)
The declaration of climate emergency issued by the bishops of the Episcopal dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts encourages congregations to learn about Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) and its Climate Resilience Hub program. Here’s your chance to ask questions about the program! The event will last 30 minutes, with an option to stay for a longer conversation. The event is geared especially for faith communities, but all are welcome.
• Climate Emergency Declaration Webinars  
Four Wednesdays in May (May 5, 12, 19, 26) 7:00 – 8:15 p.m. • Zoom (free)
To support the bishops’ announcement of climate emergency, the Creation Care Justice Network of the Diocese of MA and the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas (Creation Care Advisor, DioMA; Missioner for Creation Care, DioWMA) are convening 4 weekly webinars in May to discuss the 4 "planks" of the Declaration. The series is for Christians concerned about climate change who wonder what God is calling us to do, individually and together. These conversations provide a unique opportunity for our two dioceses to come together to consider our call as followers of Jesus to respond to climate crisis. 

These free webinars will be held on 4 Wednesdays in May, from 7:00-8:15 p.m., and will include presentations, small group conversation, and resources. We encourage everyone, especially clergy and congregational leaders, to attend. You can register here.

May 5 – PRAY: What is our prayer and spiritual grounding in the midst of climate crisis? What new forms of prayer might we explore and what ancient forms of prayer now have fresh meaning? What spiritual resources renew our strength?

Speakers: Rev. Lise Hildebrandt (Co-Convener, Creation Care Justice Network (CCJN)) and Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

May 12 – LEARN: What is the climate emergency and what is a faithful response? How does climate change connect with other areas of injustice, such as racism, economic inequality, and gender bias?

Speakers: Bette Hecox-Lea, PhD (CCJN; Marine Biology Laboratory; St. Barnabas, Falmouth), Rev. Natalie Thomas (Episcopal City Mission), and Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

May 19 – ACT: What can we do on a local level to address the climate emergency? What next action steps do we feel led to take as individuals and as communities of faith?

Speakers: Alex Chatfield (CCJN; Coordinator, Climate Justice Ministry, St. Anne's-in- the-Fields, Lincoln), Rev. Rachel Field (Good News Gardens), Margaret Thurston (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather [CREW])

May 26 – ADVOCATE: Why and how can people of faith become politically engaged in order to push for systemic, comprehensive solutions to the climate crisis on local, state, and national levels? What is it like to move from the sidelines and get involved in public advocacy?
Speakers: Sue Swanson (CCJN; Coordinator, Green Team, St. Paul's Church, Bedford; State Legislative Team, Mothers Out Front), Lucy Chatfield (Sunrise Movement), Rev. Fred Small (Faith in Action, Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light), Marty Nathan (Springfield Climate Justice Coalition)
• “The Climate Emergency: Bringing Head, Hands, and Heart to the Struggle”
Saturday, May 8 • CANCELLED
We decided to cancel this event after my friend and co-leader, Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, was appointed Chief of Energy, Environment and Open Space for the City of Boston. This is good news for environmental justice in Boston! We wish her great success! 

Rogation Days (May 10 - May 12)
Have you ever wondered about the meaning of Rogation Days, that small season between Sixth Sunday in Easter and Ascension Day? Historically, Rogation served four purposes: to bless the land for harvest, to reconcile differences, to experience neighborliness, and to extend mercy to the poor. The Episcopal Networks Collaboration (which includes Episcopal Network for Economic Justice, The Union of Black Episcopalians, and other people interested in environmental justice) has prepared a collection of reflections on Rogationtide. Reimagining and Honoring the Ancient Practice of Rogation: Modern Reflections for Rogation Days leads off with an essay about growing food in community, written by our friend Jimmy Pickett, a Postulant in the Diocese of Western Mass.
• Environmental Racism: What Is It, and How Should the Church Respond?
Tuesday, May 11
7:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Zoom $10 (scholarships available)
The Clergy Emergency League and the Wisconsin Council of Churches invite clergy, church leaders, and community partners to join this important discussion about the church’s response to environmental racism. Our distinguished panel will share their reflections on the role of the church in addressing this intersection of systemic racism and environmental justice. Why should congregations care about environmental racism? How can a church’s ministries address this issue? What are biblical and theological ways to frame environmental racism? What are the challenges – and opportunities – for living out the gospel by taking up the work of dismantling the twin oppressions of white supremacy and ecological destruction? This panel discussion will help us cast a vision for repairing communities of color and the Earth as a way of co-creating the Realm of God. For more information and to register, click here.

The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade, co-founder of the Clergy Emergency League
The Rev. Kerri Parker, director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches

Panelists include The Rev. Melanie Mullen (The Episcopal Church’s Director of Reconciliation, Justice & Creation Care), the Rev. Nelson H. Rabell González (Lutheran minister serving the immigrant community of San Joaquin County as the Mission Developer of Misión Latina Luterana, and co-founder of A New Lodi, an anti-racist 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to amplify the voices of marginalized communities in the city of Lodi, CA), and Dr. Natasha DeJarnett (assistant professor at the University of Louisville Division of Environmental Medicine, researching health impacts of extreme heat exposure and environmental health disparities).
WeatherA Novel
Author Event with Jenny Offill 
Thursday, May 13
4:00-5:15 p.m. (Eastern) • Author reading, facilitated conversation & Q&A • Zoom (free)
5:30-6:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Pop-up book discussion groups (optional) • Zoom (free)
When I heard about this event, I signed up immediately. Readers of this newsletter may remember that a while back we sang the praises of the novel Weather. Here is our chance to (re)read the book and meet its author!
The BTS Center, host of this conversation with author Jenny Offill, explains: “Weather is an extraordinary novel…. The author’s vignette style reads almost like a journal filled with the main character’s reflections on daily life, increasing concern over climate devastation, and desires for spiritual enlightenment. The book has the potential to spark important conversations around identity and meaning in a time of global, existential crisis.” For more information, click here. To register, click here.

The Boston Globe: "Tiny in size but immense in scope, radically disorienting yet reassuringly humane and completely irresistible... Utterly exhilarating in its wit and intelligence... Luminous."
Rev. Mariama White-Hammond
• Environmental Justice: Our Common Home – Equity for All
Saturday, May 15
11:00 – 12:30 p.m. • Zoom (free)
Fear not – we have another opportunity to hear from Rev. Mariama White-Hammond this month. She will deliver the keynote address for this workshop sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Social Justice Ministry as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si. Cardinal Seán O’Malley will offer an opening prayer and remarks. For information and to register, visit here.
Alive in the Spirit: A Morning Retreat
with Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Saturday, June 12
9:30 a.m.-12 Noon • via Zoom (free)

Jesus calls us to fullness of life (John 10:10), yet many of us feel anything but fully alive – we may feel melancholy, distracted, anxious, or numb. In this morning retreat we will explore ways of prayer that make us available to the healing and enlivening power of the Spirit. The first part of the retreat will focus on our inner lives; the second part will focus on how our outer lives can create the conditions for experiencing what Joseph Campbell called “the rapture of being alive.”

Our time together will include presentations and guided meditation, with options for solitary reflection and small group conversation. This retreat is co-sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Western MA and the Episcopal Diocese of MA. It is open to everyone. To register, please click here. If possible, please bring a candle, Bible, and Book of Common Prayer.
“It’s Not Too Late” panelists on the stage of Academy of Music included Amrita Rutter (Sunrise Movement), the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Geoffrey Hudson (composer, “A Passion for the Planet), and Alisa Pearson (Artistic Director, Hybrid Vigor Music). Photo credit: Robert A. Jonas
I took part last week in a remarkable panel that included live and online panelists representing the worlds of science, climate activism, and faith. We discussed the climate crisis and what gives us hope. Bill McKibben made an opening statement. Panelists included, among others, renowned climate scientist Michael E. Mann (famous for creating the “hockey stick” graph indicating rising temps), whose new book, The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet, argues against climate “doomism” and outlines a plan to force governments and corporations to wake up and make real change. You can view the hour-long conversation here. I hope you enjoy it!

The panel was followed by an extraordinary performance of “A Passion for the Planet,” the hour-long climate oratorio by Geoffrey Hudson. The recording of the piece’s premiere is now overlaid with images and annotations by the composer and by Dr. Michael E. Mann – music and science joining together to open our hearts and move us to action. Please watch and listen!

U.S. Pledges to cut carbon emissions 50% by 2030 (from 2005 levels)! This is progress, but still not enough. Read more atBiden pledges to halve US carbon emissions by 2030, sending signal to businesses and world leaders.” Then join GreenFaith in signing on to these 10 moral demands to provide a clear and accessible framework to create a just and sustainable future. 
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
If you missed Ecumenical Advocacy Days, feel free to view a recording of Sunday Worship with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preaching, the Opening Celebration with Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, and the Panel Plenary, which featured powerful testimony about the impacts of climate change all over the world (with particularly moving stories from the Pacific Islands and the Arctic).

I recommend the resources and talking points for the environmental justice priorities of Ecumenical Advocacy Days. The more than 20 denominations represented at EAD “ask that the U.S. fulfill its responsibility to those most impacted by climate change. In the United States these are disproportionately Black, Indigenous, and communities of color and economically marginalized communities. Globally it includes the countries and communities least responsible for climate change.”

This fine article, written in 2020 by Hop Hopkins, the Sierra Club’s Director of Organizational Transformation (is that a great title or what?), explores the connection between climate change and white supremacy. It is now the lead article in the section on LEARN in the Creation care pages of the Diocese of Western Mass. In my Good Shepherd sermon (excerpt below), I quote Hop Hopkins:

After the trial of Derek Chauvin, convicted this week of killing George Floyd, and in light of the movement for racial justice that has been surging for months across this country, many of us are reflecting deeply on our country’s heritage of white supremacy. Racial justice is closely tied to climate justice – in fact, I’ve heard it said that we wouldn’t have climate change without white supremacy. Where would we put our urban oilfields – where would we put our dumping grounds and trash, our biomass plants, our toxic incinerators and other polluting industries – if we weren’t willing to sacrifice Black, indigenous, and people of color communities? In the words of Hop Hopkins, the Sierra Club’s Director of Organizational Transformation, “You can’t have climate change without sacrifice zones, and you can’t have sacrifice zones without disposable people, and you can't have disposable people without racism.”
Photo: Robert A. Jonas
When was the last time this newsletter recommended a Christian praise song? There is a first time for everything! Prayer and adoration will get us through!

So Will I (100 Billion X)” is from the album "There Is More," recorded live at the Hillsong Worship & Creative Conference in Sydney, Australia. Words and Music by Joel Houston Benjamin Hastings & Michael Fatkin. An excerpt:

…If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I…

I hope you relish this ecstatic celebration of the God who creates, redeems, and sustains the whole creation. Amen and alleluia! See you next month. Until then, how will you take part in the fight to take back our planet?

(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.)
Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Climate Resilience Hub Info Session for Faith Communities
May 6, 2021, 3pm EST

Find out more about the hub program and how to join! Attend one of our outreach events in May: Thursday May 6th, 3-3:30pm Eastern time - special event for faith communities, but open to anyone. Register here.

Read more
Interfaith Resources
Environmental Racism: What is It, and How Should the Church Respond?
A Panel Discussion Co-hosted by The Clergy Emergency League
and The Wisconsin Council of Churches
May 11, 2021, 7pm EST

Our panelists: Rev. Melanie Mullen (she/her) serves as the Episcopal Church's Director of Reconciliation, Justice & Creation Care, charged with bringing the Jesus Movement to the concerns of the world. Prior to joining the Presiding Bishop's...

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MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014