Creation Care Network E-news
September 2019
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

• Welcome to our diocese’s sixth annual Season of Creation , which begins today, September 1, with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation , and lasts through October 4, the Feast Day of St. Francis. Christians around the world will be intensively learning about, praying, acting, and advocating for care of the Earth for the next five weeks. 

How will your congregation mark Creation season? Will you hold a service outdoors at a beautiful place in nature? Will you lead a service of commitment and action in a place that needs restoration and healing – for example, by organizing a cleanup or by planting trees? Will you set up an interfaith panel, hold a book study group, or push for carbon pricing? Will you arrange for the carbon tracker Sustain Island Home to be introduced in your parish, so that households can sharply reduce their carbon footprint and make smarter choices around energy? (If you’re interested in introducing your congregation to Sustain Island Home, please contact Rev. Eric Elley, 860/394-8728; email:

We’ve updated the diocese’s Creation Season resource pages , so please take a look and find something that appeals to you. Creation Season is a great time to jumpstart and accelerate our commitment to protect “this fragile Earth, our island home.”

We can make this year’s Creation Season the most memorable one yet – see below.

Pledge to Join the Global Climate Strike on Sept 20! Every Friday for the past year, students around the world have been walking out of school to stand up for climate action. On Friday, September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC, young people and adults around the world will hold a strike to demand transformative action to address the climate crisis. This could be the biggest day of global climate action the world has ever seen, and it will launch a Global Climate Strike Week of Action.

People of faith – including Episcopal bishops – will take part in the Global Climate Strike by walking out of work or school, stepping out of their routines, and, in rallies, marches, and prayer vigils, joining together to call for swift, bold action on climate justice.

Websites such as StrikeWithUs and GlobalClimateStrike show the national and global reach of this movement. If you create an event, you can register it here . How to organize an event? Click here .

• Local clim ate s trike events, Friday, Sept. 20-Friday, Sept. 27:

  • Sept. 20: the largest climate strike in Massachusetts will take place in Boston. Local youth urge everyone in western Massachusetts to head to Boston if they possibly can. 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., beginning with a march from City Hall to the State House. To RSVP, visit Boston Climate Strike's Facebook event pageClimate Action Now of Western Mass. is posting updated information and organizing buses and carpools. Bring a group from your church!

  • Sept. 20: Climate Emergency March for a Just Future will start with a march at 4:30 p.m. from Sheldon Field, Northampton, followed by a rally at 5:00 p.m. at City Hall. This event is co-sponsored by our Social Justice Commission; if you can’t make it to Boston, please consider coming to this one.

  • Sept. 20: Northampton Solidarity Strike, 12 noon at Pulaski Park, Northampton.

  • Sept. 20: Amherst Walkout for Climate, 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at UMass/Amherst.

  • Sept. 20: Franklin County Climate Rally, 5:00-7:00 p.m. in Greenfield.

  • Sept. 20: Ecstatic Rebellion, a dance benefit for Extinction Rebellion, 6 p.m.-midnight, First Churches, Northampton.

  • Sept. 27: Rebellion Begins. Extinction Rebellion will hold actions in downtown Amherst, UMass, and Amherst College.

For information about all these events, visit  Climate Action Now of Western Mass Details are evolving, so please check back often and before making final plans .
Interfaith Power & Light asks faith communities to amplify the Strike: On social media use the hashtags
#FaithsForTheFuture and #climatestrike. Take a photo or record a short video of yourself holding a sign/ explaining why you’re going to take part. Share it on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter account. Be sure to use the hashtags #climatestrike and #FaithsForTheFuture.

Sunday, September 22 , would be a perfect day to bring the climate strike inside the sanctuary – to preach and pray about the climate crisis and to lift up our moral call to protect the Earth that God entrusted to our care. You could invite young people in your congregation to preach, speak, or lead part of the service.    
If you’re looking for a contemporary reading to quote, consider an excerpt from Religious Declaration of Unprecedented Human Emergency , issued earlier this year by National Religious Coalition on Creation Care (I helped to write it). 

As Bill McKibben recently explained, “Sometimes you have to act even if you’re not entirely sure what the effect will be. We’re coming up on the next great moment in the climate movement, the global all-ages climate strike on Sept. 20. Years of sustained resistance from Standing Rock to the school strikes and beyond, particularly from youth of color, have led us to this moment. So let’s make the most of it.” 

• September 24-30, #ClimatePrepWeek2019: During September 24–30 every year Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) hosts   Climate Prep aredness Week, dedicated to learning, service, and actions that better prepare our commu nities for extreme weather events.

We have many decisions to make as we prepare for what’s ahead. Boston, like other coastal cities, is exploring how to adapt to rising seas. A recent article in CommonWealth magazine argues for “an organized withdrawal” from the city, not “a disaster-induced flight.”

Local events for Climate Preparedness Week will be held across Massachusetts, including in North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield, and more. Click on the map to find an event near you.
• Just before the end of Creation Season, please consider joining a webinar on Thursday, October 3, 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm. Join Blessed Tomorrow, Climate for Health, The Planetary Health Alliance, The Center for the Study of World Religions, and Harvard Divinity School for a discussion with faith leaders and health professionals on the moral imperatives of taking action on planetary health. Learn more about it and   register here .

• When grappling with multiple challenges, many of us turn to the wisdom of biblical prophets. That’s why the book I’m suggesting this month is a classic by Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination . Brueggemann is renowned for his lucid interpretation of the prophets; Krista Tippett, the host of “On Being,” calls Brueggemann “ a kind of theological rock star .”

• I preached at St. John’s Church, Williamstown, about a different prophet – Amos – who envisions God holding a plumb line in the midst of Amos’ community to test whether or not the society is in balance and morally just. You can read the sermon here: “ A plumb line in our midst: When we stop pretending about climate change .” 

“Amos is everybody who grieves and protests injustice and lies. Amos is everybody who is willing to hold up a plumb line and to face facts, even the ones that are difficult to face. For we know for a fact that our society is out of balance, and we know for a fact that the ecological foundations of society – the planetary life-systems upon which all forms of life, including human life, depend – are unstable and at risk of collapse.”

The sermon was videotaped and can be viewed here .
Edith Allison, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, and Lucy Robinson at the August 10 rally in Easthampton, organized by Sunrise Movement, to push for a presidential climate debate. Photo: submitted.
• Climate Debate: Several members of our diocesan Creation care network, including Edith Allison and Lucy Robinson of Grace Church, Amherst, joined a rally in front of Easthampton High School, organized by Sunrise Movement, to urge the Mass. Democratic State Committee to encourage national party leaders to support a presidential climate debate. We were thrilled when, as the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported, the State Committee voted unanimously to support the resolution . However, last week the DNC voted against holding a climate debate among presidential candidates – yet another reason that we need to hit the streets on Sept. 20 and join the Global Climate Strike. 

• I support the work of Corporate Accountability , a non-profit that is dedicated to holding the fossil fuel industry accountable for its decades of deception about the reality and causes of the climate crisis. I wrote an essay, Our planetary cathedral on fire , ” which compares the fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame with the fire on Mother Earth: “The cathedral of life is being torched before our eyes.” I compare ExxonMobil with arsonists who fuel the fire while pretending to be firefighters.

“An arsonist posing as a firefighter is s till an arsonist and needs to be restrained. What’s more, an arsonist who has raked in billions of dollars from setting a cathedral alight must be required to pay for the damage.” 

That’s exactly what Corporate Accountability is pushing for. I hope you’ll consider supporting them by making a monthly donation or participating in their actions.

• We salute Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield, which in the summer of 2019 became the first church in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts to install solar panels. Congratulations! Sunbug Solar was their installer, and reportedly the church’s experience was “fantastic.” Contact Christ Trinity Church if you’d like to hear how they raised the money and how they qualified for the state’s SMART program. 
Rev. Erik Karas, Rector of Christ Trinity Church, Sheffield -- the first church in our diocese to have solar power -- blesses the new solar array on August 18, 2019.
• I will be traveling to California this month to preach and speak in multiple cities about a bold, faithful response to the climate crisis. The words of poet Adrienne Rich ( from “Natural Resources” in her collection,  The Dream of a Common Language ) ring in my ears:

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,

with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

Thank you for everything you are doing. 

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Interfaith Resources
Join in Prayer for Creation Care
World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

In the United States, the most basic, powerful, and counter-cultural thing we can do for God's creation is pray. The World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation kicks off the Season of Creation , a...

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Opportunities for engagement
Join us in Boston!
Stand with us on September 20th for Youth Climate Strike’s
call to action to fight against the #climatecrisis .

Following the lead of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, thousands of young people and adult allies will gather in Boston this September to kick off a week of climate action!

Read this...
Explore this...
Corporate Accountability - Climate campaign

We are kicking Big Polluters out of climate policy. Our climate campaign demands that the industries most responsible for climate change not be allowed to set the rules. It's time Exxon Mobil, the fossil fuel industry, and its proxies pay for the ...

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Join our diocesan Creation Care Facebook group !
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MBJ photo credit: Tipper Gore, 2014
Small, MBJ, & Sterling photo: R en é Th é berge
Trinity Milford photo: Edith Allison