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

Our fervent prayers are with the U.N. climate summit, COP26, which began yesterday in Glasgow, Scotland. As representatives from different countries negotiate their national commitments to slash the use of fossil fuels, we pray for island peoples enduring rising seas. We pray for low-income and minority communities already shouldering the burden of a changing climate. We pray for individuals and families driven from their homes by wildfires, droughts, and storms. Determined to leave a habitable world to our children, we pray for future generations. We pray for the other-than-human creatures with whom we share this planet. We pray for bold, ambitious, and transforming climate action in this country and internationally. We pray for the grace of God.

Two COP26-related events:

• Liturgy for Planetary Crisis: Episcopal Worship Service during COP26 
Saturday, November 6
11:00 a.m. • Zoom (free)
Please join in prayer and worship with our Episcopal Presiding Bishop’s Delegation and all who have been present in witness and advocacy at this global climate conference. This service is open to all and will focus on the need for swift, just action to bring us back into right relationships across the human family and with all of God’s creation. The liturgy will draw on our Episcopal tradition and beyond and will offer strength to the community at COP26. Register here.

COP26 Closing Event: Report Back from the Presiding Bishop’s Delegation 
Friday, November 12
• 2:00 p.m. • Zoom (free)
As the 26th Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change draws to an end on November 12, gather with Episcopal advocates and ecumenical partners for this closing event. Our Presiding Bishop’s Delegation will offer reports from their witness at the conference, as well as top line summaries from the negotiations. We will finish with a faith-led vision of the future for Episcopal advocacy around climate change. Register here.
After we’ve done some catching up, let’s look ahead to new opportunities to pray, learn, act, and advocate on behalf of God’s creation.

Looking back…
Episcopal News Service published an interview,Q&A: Margaret Bullitt-Jonas on living into the climate crisis with resilience.” We talked about everything from my top three spiritual practices to climate preaching and how my understanding of Christianity has changed.

• Marking the end of Creation Season, I preached a sermon, Celebrating St. Francis,” at an outdoor service at St. John’s, Northampton, held under the shelter of a sycamore tree. Many animals were blessed that morning, including dogs, photographs of cats on cell phones, and a stuffed shark. People’s love for their pets was palpable. These connections matter. As I said in my sermon:

It turns out that our identity doesn’t stop with our skin. We have porous and permeable boundaries. My body is part of the Earth. The Earth is part of my body. God is giving God’s self to us in and as the sun, the moon, the stars, the wind, the air, the trees, the bird, the pets we love. We live in a sacred world of interrelationship and interdependence. We belong to each other. We depend on each other. Nature is not just so-called “resources” supposedly put here only for human beings to extract and exploit.

On October 3, I helped to lead “Love. Earth. Justice.,” a multi-faith worship service of prayer, celebration, and resolve. It was held at Old South Church in downtown Boston and organized by Rev. Fred Small, Policy Director of Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light. Near the beginning of the service, I spoke about climate grief. Here’s an excerpt:

“Are we willing – can we allow ourselves – to take a moment, or maybe more than a moment, to feel our grief, fear, and outrage as parts of the world become too hot and humid for humans to survive, as children choke from asthma in our inner cities, as millions of climate migrants are displaced from their homes, or as the great redwoods burn? ...Lament is a deep outpouring of sorrow to God. It means daring to share our anguish with God. It means daring to feel what is breaking God’s heart… Let’s dare to lament! Let’s tell the truth. Our hearts are breaking, because that’s how fiercely we love this beautiful world that God entrusted to our care.”

At the end of the service, I offered a closing benediction. The full text of “From lament to blessing” is here.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Pittsfield, marks Faiths for Climate Justice with an outdoor public prayer service. Photo: submitted.
Faiths for Climate Justice was marked around the world on October 17. Two weeks before COP26, more than 500 actions were held in 43 countries to convey one urgent message: “Destroying the planet is against our religions.” Take a look at the global media release – it makes for gripping reading, with events beginning soon after daybreak on an island off the coast of Fiji. And here is an inspiring, two-minute wrap-up video.

I am aware of six Episcopal congregations in Massachusetts that joined with people of faith around the world to pray for the success of COP26. Thank you to everyone who took part in an event! 

Christ Church Cathedral, Springfield held an outdoor, bilingual prayer vigil that featured multiple speakers, music, singing, and sharing candles. Worship leaders unfurled a “We Love the Earth” banner covered with children's handprints and signed by members of the Cathedral. A video of the vigil is on the Cathedral's Facebook page.
At Grace Church, Amherst, Sunday morning’s services incorporated creation and climate-justice themed Prayers of the People and a Prayer of Confession, as well as a sermon on the urgent, moral need to address climate change. The monthly children's Communion service was held outside, featuring a message inspired by the book of Job: God loves the whole creation, not only humans. After the 10:30 service, parishioners gathered outside to discuss climate justice and to re-invigorate their creation care team.  
St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ashfield & First Church Congregational (UCC) hold an outdoor ecumenical prayer service to mark Faiths for Climate Justice. Photo: submitted.
St. John’s, Ashfield partnered with First Church Congregational (UCC) in Ashfield to create a lively, ecumenical outdoor event on the Town Common that included prayers, speakers, and signs. The event was covered by the Greenfield Recorder, “Ashfield churches plan public witness for climate justice.”

Grace Church, Great Barrington is restoring and rejuvenating the pond that sits on the edge of Gideon’s Garden. They lifted up prayers for the project and for God’s whole creation.
At St. Stephen’s, Pittsfield, more than 40 people from the parish and the greater Pittsfield community gathered on the front lawn of the church facing Park Square and raised prayers for climate justice. During the days of the UN Climate Conference (Oct 31 - Nov 12), the parish will display a banner for Climate Justice on the front of the church.
St. Paul’s, Bedford celebrated an informal Forest Eucharist in the Elm Brook Conservation Area, using a special creation-centered liturgy drawn from several sources. This ecumenical event brought together four denominations and six congregations, with six different towns represented.
At a #Stop Line 3 protest, Edith Allison (Grace Church, Amherst) and Rev. Margaret hold the diocesan climate banner above I-91. Photo: submitted.
• October brought many opportunities for climate justice advocacy. More than 650 people were arrested during a five-day “People vs. Fossil Fuels” mobilization in Washington, D.C., to demand climate action from the Biden administration. I bow in gratitude to my friends and colleagues who were arrested in front of the White House. 

As oil began to flow through Line 3, the notorious tar sands pipeline in northern Minnesota, people in western Massachusetts who didn’t travel to DC were invited to join a banner drop at the Mount Tom overpass at I-91, on October 13. Edie Allison of Grace Church, Amherst, joined me in holding the diocesan climate-change banner above the highway in a protest to Stop Line 3 and to demand that Congress and the Biden administration take urgent action to stop all new fossil fuel projects and launch a just, renewable energy revolution.
On October 21, I spoke at a rally at Northampton City Hall to support the five young members of the Sunrise Movement who began a hunger strike in front of the White House, demanding that Congressional Democrats pass climate legislation that matches the scale and urgency of the climate crisis. In my blog post, “Fasting in solidarity with Sunrise hunger strikers,” I spoke about the spiritual and moral power of fasting. Here’s an excerpt:

Fasting is a spiritual practice in just about every religion. Moses fasted. Elijah fasted. Mohammed fasted. The Buddha fasted. Jesus fasted…
Why do we fast today? We fast to break through the habits and routines of daily life and to say that something matters more than business as usual. Business as usual must stop.
We fast to break through the paralysis of disengagement and despair.
We fast to purify ourselves, to open our hearts and steady our minds, so that we can ground ourselves in the love that wants to be the center of our lives.
We fast to express repentance and remorse for whatever ways we have participated in, colluded with, and benefited from a system that is killing life.
And we fast to protest – to express in and through our bodies our deep grief and our moral outrage that corporate and political powers are driving this country – and this planet – to the brink of climate catastrophe.
We fast to proclaim that another world is possible. We can move beyond fossil fuels. We can create a society that lives more gently and more justly on God’s good Earth.

A version of my remarks was published as an op-ed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. My statement ends with a call to action:
This is a crucial moment in the fight to include strong climate policy initiatives in the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act. Unless the U.S. passes meaningful climate legislation shortly, its leadership and credibility at the upcoming U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, COP26, will be substantially weakened. Please phone the White House (888/724-8946) to urge President Biden to stop fossil fuel projects, including Line 3.

Looking ahead…
Can We Stop Climate Change?
Tuesdays, November 2, 9, 16 & 23
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. • Zoom (free)
This 4-week webinar series led by a group of people based in Massachusetts is limited to 15 participants. For more information, click here. To register, click here.
Wednesday, November 3
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Zoom (free)
Hosted from Edinburgh, Scotland, John Phillip Newell will discuss his new book, Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul. He will focus on “the long-hidden tradition of Celtic Christianity, explaining how this earth-based spirituality can help us rediscover the natural rhythms of life and deepen our spiritual connection with God, with each other, and with the earth.” Click to receive the Zoom link.
Six sessions on Wednesdays
November 3 – December 8 
4:30-5:15 p.m. • Zoom ($30; scholarships available)
As you may already know, the BTS Center offers extraordinary programs to develop spiritual leadership in a climate-changed world. This series will focus on ecological grief. Through weekly, facilitated online prayer-focused groups designed to “tune in and touch in” to ecological and climate loss, we’ll meet for 6 sessions on Wednesday afternoons, starting November 3. Please join me. For details and to register, click here.
Sunday, November 14
7:00 p.m. • Zoom (free)
How do we get off fossil fuels and create climate-change resiliency? A powerhouse panel including Bill McKibben (author and founder of, Cabell Eames (Political Director at 350MA), and Rev. Vernon K. Walker (Senior Manager at Communities Responding to Extreme Weather) will dig into the question and look at how Massachusetts can lead the way in creating a livable future. Registration is now open.

Tuesday, November 16
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. • Zoom (free)
Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light is partnering with Resonant Energy to sponsor a free webinar on how your church can go solar. Over 100 houses of worship in Massachusetts have solar panels. These installations demonstrate a wide variety different types of systems, from typical rooftop panels to large parking canopies to community solar. This webinar will help you learn what might be right for your house of worship and will explain financing options, including grant funding, low-interest loans, and no-cost power purchase agreements. Registration is now open.
• “Mission: Joy”
Movie screening dates: November 19 – December 2 • Online (free)
Interfaith Power & Light is “grateful to our congregations and supporters and is offering this fabulous film as a token of our appreciation this Thanksgiving.” Register and watch the trailer here.

“Deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny, Mission: Joy is a documentary with unprecedented access to the unlikely friendship of two international icons who transcend religion: His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu. In their final joint mission, these self-described mischievous brothers give a master class in how to create joy in a world that was never easy for them. They offer neuroscience-backed wisdom to help each of us live with more joy, despite circumstances. Inspired by the New York Times bestseller The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, the film showcases the exchange between these two Nobel Peace Prize winners that led to that book.”

Take Action to Stop Eversource!
Many Springfield area residents – and everyone concerned about making a swift transition to clean, renewable energy – are tracking Eversource’s controversial push to build one of the largest new gas pipelines in Massachusetts in recent years. Learn more in this article from the Boston Globe,As state law requires steep emissions cuts, utilities face an urgent quandary: to build or not to build new gas pipelines?”

If you live or work in the Springfield, MA area, please sign this petition addressed to Bill Akley (President of Gas Operations, Eversource), to oppose the Eversource Springfield Gas Pipeline.

If you are a Massachusetts resident or represent a Massachusetts organization, please sign this petition addressed to Governor Baker, other elected officials, and state appointees.

These petitions and other resources may be viewed at Stop the Toxic Pipeline.  

Finally, it’s not too soon to consider setting aside some time for prayer and reflection in Advent.

Saturday, December 4, 2021
9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon
Led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Jesus invites us to make our home in him, just as he makes his home in us (John 15:4). In a rapidly changing world, when so much that we took for granted has become unreliable or unstable, our old familiar “home” is gone. Weather is erratic; institutions we once depended on are shaky; households and communities are stressed. Is it possible to feel “at home” in the midst of a troubled world? This Advent Quiet Day invites us to respond to Jesus’ invitation to come home to the One who loves us utterly. Our time together will include silence and guided meditation, presentations and small group conversation, and free time for solitary prayer. If possible, please bring a candle.

This retreat is free and open to the public. Registration is now open.

(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.)
Autumn hillside in Ashfield. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Free Discussion Panel with and CREW
Nov 14, 7pm

How do we get off fossil fuels and create climate-change resiliency? A powerhouse panel including Bill McKibben (author and founder of, Cabell Eames (Political Director at 350MA), and Rev. Vernon K. Walker (Senior Manager at Communities Responding to Extreme Weather) will dig into the question and look at how Massachusetts can lead the way in creating a livable future.

Interfaith Resources
Free Webinar for Transitioning to Solar Power
Breaking Barriers to Solar: Customized Solar Options for ...

Nov 16, 4pm - Breaking Barriers to Solar: Customized Solar Options for your Organization - Join MassIPL and Resonant Energy as we discuss opportunities available for organizations to go solar.

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UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)

Uniting the worldto tackleclimate change. The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UK is committed to working with all...

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MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014