Creation Care Network E-news
May 2020
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

• On #EarthDay, The Episcopal Church launched a new Creation Care webpage , with revamped resources on loving formation, liberating advocacy, and life-giving conservation. Check it out here .

In Jesus, God so loved the whole world. We follow Jesus, so we love the world God loves. Concerned for the global climate emergency, drawing on diverse approaches for our diverse contexts, we commit to form and restore loving, liberating, life-giving relationships with all of Creation.

• The power of Easter continues to break into our Good Friday world. In my Easter morning sermon for First Congregational Church, Williamstown, Arise to new life: Easter for Earth and for all , I reflected on what the empty tomb meant to the first followers of Jesus. Here’s an excerpt:

That same wave of Easter hope fills Christians today and it will sustain us now. Even now, as we walk together through the valley of the shadow of death, acknowledging our fears and grieving what – and whom – we’ve lost, we know that the Lord of life is with us. The day will come, once this pandemic is behind us, when we can return very actively and publicly to building a world in which human beings live in right relationship with each other and with the Earth. What would it look like if we emerged from this pandemic with a fierce new commitment to take care of each other and the whole of God’s Creation?

• On the Second Sunday of Easter I was blessed to preach (though remotely) at Washington National Cathedral for the Holy Eucharist to mark the 50 th anniversary of Earth Day. As of this writing, the service has been viewed more than 40,000 times. You can watch the service here . My sermon, “‘Do not doubt but believe’: The promise of eco-resurrection,” begins 40 minutes into the video. (If you prefer, you can read the sermon here. ) Here’s an excerpt:

“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” Jesus says to his disciples, and then he breathes the Holy Spirit into them – the same creative wind and energy that moved across the face of deep at the very beginning of creation. He is sending them out to bear witness to the resurrection, to the wild, holy, and completely unexpected fact that through the grace and power of God, life – and not death – will have the last word.

Through the power of the Risen Christ, we, too, are sent out to be healers of the Earth, sent out to take our place in the great work of healing the wounds of Creation, sent out to restore the web of life upon which we, and all creatures, depend. For as long as we have breath, Christ will be breathing his Spirit into us. We can be more than chaplains at the deathbed of a dying order; we can be midwives to the new and beautiful world that is longing to be born.
Photo: submitted
• On the evening of Earth Day, April 22, the Washington National Cathedral and the Office of the Presiding Bishop presented a virtual panel, “ Honest to God: Earth Day at 50 ,” which included me, Bishop David Rice (Diocese of San Joaquin) and the Rev. Traci Blackmon (Executive Minister of Justice & Witness Ministries, The United Church of Christ), hosted by the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers. Episcopal News Service summarized our discussion in the article, National Cathedral’s Earth Day virtual panel applies lessons from COVID-19 to the climate crisis . The YouTube video can be viewed here .

I was particularly moved by Rev. Blackmon’s closing words, when she described how she handles despair: she takes action for the sake of future generations. “I may not be here when we reach where we need to be, but I can see it because I live for those generations.”

• The article I co-wrote with Leah Schade about six lessons that the coronavirus can teach us about the climate crisis was published in Daily Hampshire Gazette as Earth Day turns 50: ‘The Earth is where all of us are sheltering in place.’ ” We believe that “When COVID-19 is finally behind us, instead of returning to normal life, we must hold on to these lessons in the fight against climate change.”

• During the pandemic, Chautauqua Institute is offering a weekly series of prayers from different faith traditions. At their request, I contributed the following prayer (posted here on my website).

Jesus, you are my friend and Savior. You know me through and through, and you are with me in every part of my life: in my sadness, anger, and fear, and in my gratefulness and joy.

Gracious Jesus, on the day of your resurrection you came to your frightened disciples and breathed the Holy Spirit into them. Breathe into me, as you breathed into them, the same creative wind and energy that moved across the face of the deep at the very beginning of creation.

As I breathe in, I breathe in your courage and strength. As I breathe out, I breathe out your loving-kindness and compassion.

Help me to remember that you are with me always and that every day you invite me to bear witness to your healing love. Thank you for the people you have given me to love and for the tasks you have given me to do. Give me the guts, audacity, and resolve to stand up in the midst of a great catastrophe and to do what is mine to do.

Speak in my heart and grant me the peace that passes understanding, so that I may know in my deepest core that whether I live or die, I am yours, and you will never leave me.
• I was a panelist for a webinar sponsored by the UCC Council for Climate Justice, “ The Coronavirus and the Climate Crisis: Connections, Comparisons, and Lessons .” Other panelists included Jim Antal, Leah Schade, and Penny Hooper. You can view the hour-long discussion here .

Want more? If you would like to make a deeper dive into comparing coronavirus and climate, you may be interested to know that Yale Climate Connections is maintaining an ongoing collection of “key readings” about these two urgent global problems.

• I was a guest with Leah Schade in a webinar hosted by Huda Alkaff (founder and ED of Wisconsin Green Muslims) in a discussion of our new book, Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis . The half-hour conversation can be viewed here . For mysterious reasons, you need to use a password to get in: 2p$z5.54

• This month I’m recommending a short (50 pages) but useful book , Cathedral on Fire: A Church Handbook for the Climate Crisis . Its author, Brooks Berndt, is Minister for Environmental Justice, United Church of Christ. Description: “The urgency of the climate crisis requires that we act as if our cathedrals and churches are on fire. Indeed, God’s creation can be seen as one grand cathedral on fire with burning forests and rising temperatures. Amid this dire situation, Brooks Berndt focuses our attention on the unique and vitally needed gifts that churches can offer.”

The book’s seven chapters include discussion questions and a suggested action – making this a perfect choice for a church book group. Some congregations are reading one chapter every week. You can order the book from the UCC resource webpage here .

• Let’s hear a round of applause for the ongoing flow of resources that deepen our understanding of the human predicament!

Grist has a new weekly newsletter, “ Climate in the time of coronavirus ” (aptly subtitled: “What humanity’s current emergency means for that other one”). The essays are substantive and informative – here’s an example: The world is on lockdown. So where are all the carbon emissions coming from? ” Sign up for the newsletter here .

The New Yorker has a new weekly Climate Crisis blog by Bill McKibben. Sign up here

The National Catholic Reporter has a weekly environmental newsletter, EarthBeat Weekly . Sign up here

• Please read and consider signing GreenFaith’s “ Multi-faith Statement for Care and Resilience. ” Written in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the statement concludes with these lines: “As people of faith and spirit, we believe that the measurement of a healthy society is how we treat those who are the most vulnerable. We have a moral responsibility to build that healthy society together – a society rooted in love, justice, and compassion.” To read the statement and to add your name, click here .
Photo: submitted
• We urgently need principled, well-informed, and trustworthy leadership in this country. Let’s talk about voting.

Vote for climate
Interfaith Power & Light has launched the Faith Climate Voter Campaign to make sure that people of faith and good will are prepared to vote with Creation care in mind. I urge you to sign the Pledge to Be a Faith Climate Voter .

Get out the vote
Environmental Voter Project is a non-partisan group with a mission to get more environmentalists to vote in every election. “The Environmental Voter Project aims to significantly increase voter demand for environmental leadership by identifying inactive environmentalists and then turning them into consistent activists and voters.” They don’t endorse politicians; instead, they focus on voters. Please consider signing their pledge to be an environmental voter and, if you are able, please join me in making a donation to support their work.

Support voting by mail
Our efforts to encourage voting won’t be worth very much if elections are not accessible or don’t happen on schedule. Call on your senators to support national vote-by-mail legislation by clicking here .

Be an informed voter
The Episcopal Networks Collaborative has published “ Vote for Justice ” for use by Episcopalians and congregations as they meet with candidates for public offices during this election year. Even if meeting with candidates in person isn’t poss ible for a while, we can use this material as we prepare op-eds, make phone calls, and push candidates to clarify their positions on a range of interrelated issues. The short chapters cover a range of topics, from economic inequality to climate change, health care, immigration, mass incarceration, and more.  “Vote for Justice” – also known as “Voter Guide 2020” – is available for download here .

• I wish each of you a blessed and healthy Fifty Days of Easter. The Risen Christ is with us all the way. Together, let’s breathe in his courage and breathe out his compassion. As St. Anthony, one of the Desert Fathers, used to say: “Always breathe Christ.” 

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Rocky Mountains. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
It's time for environmentalists to vote
Environmental Voter Project

Politicians won't listen until we start voting. The Environmental Voter Project wants your voice to be heard on every Election Day. The Environmental Voter Project aims to significantly increase voter demand for environmental leadership by identif...

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Interfaith Resources
Join the Faith Community Calls for Care and Resilience - every Thursday at either 11 am or at 4 pm New York Time. 
It’s been four weeks now since we’ve started the regular   Faith Community Calls for Care and Resilience   during this global crisis. Thousands of us have come together for a spiritual break in these hard times, and to find ways to build deeper community. For each call, we spend the first 30 minutes in spiritual reflection, and then break into smaller groups for 30 minutes to deepen our relationships. There, we’ll also share helpful tools for creating Communities of Care and Resilience.
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Pledge to be a Faith Climate Voter

Pledge to be a Faith Climate Voter to put love into action for every living creature and for every vulnerable community suffering the impacts of our changing climate, from sea rise, to extreme heat, to devastating droughts, to supercharged storms.

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Join our diocesan Creation Care Facebook group !
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