Creation Care Network E-news
MAY 2018
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends, 

How would you describe your relationship with God’s Creation? Theologian Dorothee Soelle suggested that we have five basic responses to a flower:

   Oh, beautiful – I want it, but I will let it be!
   Oh, beautiful – I want it, I will take it!
   Oh, beautiful – I can sell it!

Which of these responses – ranging from wonder to greed to indifference – is most familiar to you? In a society that treats nature as a collection of objects to exploit and discard, followers of Jesus take a radically different view: human beings are intimately connected with the rest of God’s Creation. Our task (and joy) is to serve the Lord of life and to protect the world that God entrusted to our care.

On a recent mission trip to Cape Cod, I preached to a UCC congregation (Federated Church of Orleans) about bearing witness to God’s love for Creation. (You can read the sermon here ; you can watch a video of the sermon here ). I also gave a keynote address to a brand-new group, Faith Communities Environmental Network, which is affiliated with Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative. I am excited by the fresh energy among faith groups on Cape Cod and the Islands to coordinate their efforts to tackle climate change. If you live in the area, I hope you’ll check out the network – their flyer is here .

One of the blessings of my trip to Cape Cod was the opportunity to pull off my shoes and socks and to wander barefoot on the tidal flats in the company of wind, birds, and a horseshoe crab. My feet were freezing but my soul was on fire ( Ah!) . Thank you, Jesus!
Margaret at Cape Cod
You may remember that a crowd of people of many faiths gathered during Holy Week on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. “Exodus from Fossil Fuel: An Interfaith Witness for Climate Action” began with singing, prayers, and speeches, and ended with a procession into the State House to speak to the Governor and push our legislators to pass strong legislation on climate. I wrote a blog post about this event , which was the culmination of many months of work. 

Andrew Mudge of Black Kettle Films created a fine, four-minute documentary of Exodus from Fossil Fuel, which you can view here . This short film would be a good discussion-starter in a parish conversation about the ways that faith communities can take the lead in addressing climate change. 
Another short film that members of your congregation might like to discuss is a three-minute video in which I speak about how we can fulfill our diocesan resolution, “We Are Still In.”  Last fall we pledged as a diocese to preach about climate change, to make wise energy choices, and to advocate publicly for smart climate policies. How is God calling you and your faith community to carry out these promises?

Massachusetts is poised to become a leader in clean energy and environmental justice. A number of strong bills are being considered this session. I urge you make a weekly phone call – or even just a single call – to your state legislators on behalf of the Omnibus Energy Bill, S. 2302.  To learn what’s at stake and to get talking points for your call, please visit this link from Better Future Project .

Several bills being considered right now would put a price on carbon, a move that many economists believe is a good strategy to reduce dirty emissions and accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy. On May 8 I will join a Carbon Pricing Forum at Westfield State University to speak about the ethical and spiritual call to avoid climate catastrophe. My co-panelists include Dr. Carsten Braun, climate scientist at Westfield State University; Dr. Marc Breslow, Director of Policy & Research at ClimateXChange; and State Rep. Jennifer Benson (D-37th Middlesex), lead sponsor of H.1726, a carbon fee and dividend bill. You can download a flyer here .

If you’re looking for a very special way to deepen your reverence for God’s Creation, please consider participating in the 8th Annual ‘Water is Life’ Walk on the Housatonic (Howsatunnuck) River. Guided by Spirit, Grandmother (Uncí) Carole Bubar-Blodgett has chosen the Housatonic (Howsatunnuck) River for this healing walk. The ceremonial walk will begin at the headwaters of the Housatonic River in Washington, Massachusetts, with a new moon ceremony on May 15, and will follow the river through northwest Connecticut all the way to the Long Island Sound, with a closing ceremony during the new moon on June 13. Uncí Carole extends an invitation to “all people, all faiths, to gather like the drops of water and join us in this prayer for the Sacred Water of all life.” For more information, please visit Water Is Life Walk .

“I am the vine; you are branches,” says Jesus, in one of the many Gospel passages in which he uses metaphors from nature to illustrate our connection with the divine (John 15:5). As 21st century followers of Jesus, we are on a spiritual journey to heal our alienation from God’s Creation. Our quest is to live in communion with the God who is revealed in and through the natural world. 

To use Dorothee Soelle’s words, we are moving from “So?” to “Ah!” 

Thanks be to God! 


(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Opportunities for engagement
Carbon Pricing in MA – A Key To Solving A Warming Climate
This upcoming Tuesday, May 8th, come listen as Westfield State University's Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences and Department of Environmental Science co-host a public educational forum on “Carbon Pricing – A Key To Solving A Warming Climate”

The forum will cover matters of science, policy, and ethics. There will be a brief overview of the current science of climate change; a description of the bills drafted by State Rep. Benson & State Sen. Barrett, which propose statewide carbon fee and rebate legislation, and of the omnibus energy bill drafted by State Sen. Pacheco; and a discussion of the ethical and moral dimensions of addressing a warming climate.

The forum’s panel will include: Carsten Braun, Ph.D., climate scientist, Geography & Regional Planning Dept., Westfield State University; State Rep. Jennifer Benson, lead co-sponsor of H.1726, a bill placing a price on carbon in MA; Marc Breslow, Ph.D., Dir. of Policy & Research at ClimateXChange; and Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care in the Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass. and Mass. Conference, United Church of Christ. The forum will be moderated by Hillary Sackett, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Economics at WSU.

The forum is organized by Voices Rising Together, a grass-roots advocacy group, and co-sponsored by CAN [Climate Action Now], ClimateXChange, Clean Energy Future Massachusetts, and The Social Justice Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass.

For additional information, contact Dr. Frank Giuliano at or John Meiklejohn at or 413-348-2848 .

You can also check out the Facebook event page here .

When : Tuesday, May 8, at 6:00 PM
Where : Parenzo Hall’s Dever Auditorium at Westfield State University
Endangered Species Day
May 18 is Endangered Species Day! This national day of commemoration was first approved by the U.S. Senate in 2006, with the purpose of expanding awareness of the importance of protecting endangered species, promoting habitat conservation, sharing success stories of species recovery, and highlighting the everyday actions people can take to continue preservation and restoration.

This month, join with faith communities, conservation organizations, schools, zoos and aquariums, parks, wildlife refuges, botanic gardens, and other groups throughout the country in events and activities to celebrate this national day of recognition. Creation Justice Ministries has compiled a toolkit to help your faith community celebrate. You can d ownload the toolbox directly here and find accompanying faith-based resources here .
Alternatively, you can donate to cover postage and receive bulletin inserts in the mail; there are still 300 copies left. Email to request bulletin inserts.
For more information and to share the word, you can find the initiative on Facebook and Twitter .
State Rep. Candidate Forum on Climate and Energy
Election season is almost upon us, and Climate Action Now MA has arranged a series of forums under the tag "State Rep. Candidate Forum on Climate and Energy" to highlight climate policy. Come hear the candidates in our local state representative races speak about what they, if elected, would do to curb greenhouse gas emissions and the worst effects of climate change!

Forums planned so far, by district:

Third Hampshire District
(Amherst, Pelham, Granby)

WHERE: Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst
121 N Pleasant St, Amherst, MA 01002
WHEN: May 20, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
SPONSORS: Climate Action Now MA,
League of Women Voters of Amherst and Northampton,
Moderated by the League of Women Voters

First Franklin District
(Chester in Hampden County; Ashfield, Buckland, Conway,
Deerfield, Leverett, Montague, Shelburne, Shutesbury,
Sunderland, and Whately in Franklin County; Chesterfield, Cummington,
Goshen, Huntington, Middlefield, Plainfield, Williamsburg, and
Worthington in Hampshire County)

WHERE: Frontier Regional School, Deerfield, MA
113 N Main St, South Deerfield, MA 01373
WHEN: May 23, 2018, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
SPONSORS: Climate Action Now MA,
League of Women Voters of Northampton and Amherst
Moderated by the League of Women Voters

First Hampshire District
(Northampton, Hatfield, Southhampton, Westhampton)

WHERE: JFK Middle School, Community Room
100 Bridge Road, Florence, MA 01060
WHEN: June 5, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
SPONSORS: Climate Action Now MA,
League of Women Voters of Amherst and Northampton
Moderated by the League of Women Voters

Second Hampshire District
(Easthampton, South Hadley, Granby, Hadley)

SPONSORS: Climate Action Now MA
South Hadley Democratic Town Committee
Easthampton Democratic Town Committee

Bring questions for the candidates on climate and energy policy or tweet them to #gogreenmapoli .

Check out the Facebook event page for updates and more.
If you've enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to forward to one or two friends you think may be interested.
MBJ photo credit: Tipper Gore, 2014
Margaret on a beach in Cape Cod : Robert A. Jonas, 2018
Noah's Ark : a painting by Mia Tavonatti