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

• O come, O come, Emmanuel! Advent is here – that holy season of expectation and preparation. Christ came to reconcile human beings to each other, to God, and to God’s whole Creation. How will we incarnate that boundless love, so that (as someone once put it) everyone we meet today will be as sure of love as they are of sunlight?
• Last month our diocese held its annual convention under the banner of “Holy Earth, Holy People: Re storing God’s Creation.” At the Convention Eucharist I preached a sermon entitled “ A sacramental life: Rising up to take climate action .” Here’s an excerpt:
Jesus, the Good Shepherd of our souls, lived close to the earth. He walked in the desert and along the shores of a lake. He felt the wind on his face and he watched the night stars. He climbed mountains to pray, and in his teaching and parables he used earthy images of vines and bread and seeds, of lilies and sheep. Jesus was steeped in the rhythms of the natural world, and maybe it’s no accident that when Mary caught her first glimpse of the Risen Christ, she mistook him for the gardener.
The altar at our diocesan convention’s Eucharist featured an image of our “Blue Planet."
Photo: submitted.
• I am happy to say that the 118 th convention also passed a resolution, GOOD NEWS FOR ALL CREATION , which affirms the Episcopal Vision for Creation Care and encourages everyone to make a pledge to “place the care of God’s Creation at the heart of our common life” as we work to grow a (1) loving, (2) liberating, and (3) life-giving relationship with the whole of God’s Creation.”
As part of your Advent spiritual practice, I invite you to read the Episcopal Vision for Creation Care and to make your pledge.
• I was surprised when a single phrase of the resolution generated debate on the floor of convention: the suggestion that one way to “live more simply, humbly and gently on the Earth and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions” is to “[move] toward a plant-based diet.” I hope the discussion made clear that the resolution wasn’t forcing anyone suddenly to become vegetarian or vegan, but was instead encouraging us to make conscious food decisions and to move “toward” eating more plants. We accepted the phrase “as feasible” as a friendly amendment. Food choices are based on many factors besides environmental impact – such as cost, health, cultural practices, and taste – and everyone is free to make their own decisions. 
If you’d like to know why cutting back on red meat is one of the most immediate and effective ways to reduce your carbon emissions, take a look at this Washington Post article, “ Are my hamburgers hurting the planet? ” Here’s a quote: “If cows were their own country, they would be the third-biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.”
I was fascinated to learn that the annual convention of the Diocese of California failed to pass a resolution encouraging less consumption of red meat at church events. In an article about that convention, “ Sustainable living is a moral responsibility for faith-based organizations ,” the reporter aptly commented that it is difficult to adopt the widespread dietary changes that our planet needs. Still, religious groups have power to change the culture, and maybe before long such a resolution will pass. I’m glad that leaders in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts have begun to discuss the relationship between food choices and reducing our carbon footprint, and I’m glad that our resolution passed.
Margaret speaks about Rooted & Rising at the book launch at Edwards Church, Northampton.
Photo: submitted.
• For me, the big news last month was the publication of Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis . I did a launch event at Edwards Church in Northampton. Citizens Climate Radio created a 7-minute audio post about the book, featuring two authors reading from their chapters. Earth Day Network included  Rooted & Rising  on its list of eleven environmental books to read this winter holiday .
• I will speak about Rooted & Rising at two public events in December. Please come!
  • “Climate Change, the Land, and Spirituality: Making the Connections,” December 5, 7:00-8:00 p.m., at the Red Barn at Hampshire College. I will speak about Rooted & Rising and the spiritual practices that help us face the climate crisis, alongside Rabbi Ellen Bernstein, who will introduce her new book, The Promise of the Land. Details here.
  • I will also discuss Rooted & Rising at Grace Church (14 Boltwood Ave., Amherst) on December 11, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at an event promoted by Amherst Books.
• I contributed a prayer to a new collection, "Standing in the Need of Prayer, Vol. IV," Spiritual Voices: Envisioning Just Peace with Earth , distributed through Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries and available online here .
• Preparing for Christmas? Think about gifts that will not harm the Earth. For inspiration, check out “ Christmas gifts that can save the planet .” Through Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD), you can review the “ Gifts of Life ” catalogue and make a donation to plant fruit trees, provide clean water, offer disaster relief, and more. All gifts to ERD will be matched through the end of December. 
SAVE THE DATE! The diocese is planning a special retreat for Saturday, January 25, “Bending toward Justice: A Day of Prayer and Discernment,” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m . This retreat will provide a terrific opportunity for everyone in the diocese who cares about Creation care – especially members of “green teams” – to meet each other and discuss next steps. I hope to see you there! Details to follow.
#strikewithus The next big push of the  Global Climate Strike  is almost here. In the U.S., the Sunrise Movement is organizing strikes on Friday, December 6 . A climate strike rally will be held at 12 noon at Springfield District Court , 50 State St, Springfield. To register, go here .
• Plann ing to preach about climate change? You can find excellent sermon notes for the w eeks ahead, based on the Revised Common Lectionary, at “ Sustainable Preaching .”
• For your Advent reflections this year, I once again suggest my little book of daily meditations for Advent and Christmas, Joy of Heaven, to Earth Come Down .

Here’s another idea: as my co-editor Leah Schade points out in a blog post Rooted & Rising  has 28 short chapters that are perfect for reading a chapter a day through Advent.
I wish you and yours a holy Advent season and a joyful Christmas.

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Opportunities for engagement
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An Episcopal Vision for Creation Care | Episcopal Church

As a whole church, we have promised to place the care of God's Creation at the heart of our common life. Together, we have taken up church-wide action in order to safeguard the integrity of Creation and to sustain and renew the life of the Earth.
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