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

• A blessed Advent to you! For the First Sunday of Advent, I preached (online) at an Episcopal church in San Antonio – the first time I’ve preached in Texas about ecological collapse and climate crisis.

In “Standing up when things fall apart,” I said, “The world is reeling, so I come to today’s Gospel passage with relief – it tells the truth. It speaks to our condition. The Bible has wisdom to convey in apocalyptic times like these… The Bible’s end-time passages and their frightening imagery of chaos and distress were… given to us… to sustain our courage, hope, and perseverance even in the midst of crisis.” The sermon goes on to suggest three messages that Jesus conveys in a time of social and ecological upheaval. (You can read the sermon here or watch it on my YouTube channel here.)

• After COP26, the U.N. climate summit that just finished in Glasgow, the Episcopal delegation made it clear (in the words of Episcopal News Service) that “protecting the Earth and preventing human suffering are not merely political talking points but central tenets of the Episcopal faith.” I was especially touched by the words of the Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, a delegate from the Diocese of Olympia and a member of the Shackan First Nation people. “The faith of re-greening the world,” she said, “must become as central to our theology, and to our worship, as crucifixion and resurrection… We must give nothing less than all we have and all we are in order to assure new life if generations are to follow us at all. The world to come that we pray for in our Sunday worship is ours to entomb or to liberate.”
Saturday, December 4, 2021
9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon • Zoom (free)
Led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

I hope you’ll join me this weekend for an Advent retreat centered on the theme “home.” 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.

I invite you to pray – alone or with your family – with a beautiful Advent devotional created by my friend and colleague Rev. Emma Brewer-Wallin (Minister of Environmental & Economic Justice, Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ). She was inspired by the Green Sabbath Project, which encourages us to "do nothing" for the sake of the earth and ourselves. 

“This Advent season, you are invited to rest. Not to ignore the realities of the world around us, but to dwell with God in quiet, in slowness, in Creation, and with each other. This practice of rest will help save us – not only providing some immediate relief, but [also] showing us a way toward a world driven by love and justice, rather than consumption and competition.”

Thursday, December 9
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. • Zoom (free)
This is the second in a series of seasonal events hosted by the BTS Center to honor the pain of loss through the liturgical year. Featuring original music, online ritual, poetry, images, and Scripture, this event will provide a safe place for us to pray with our climate grief. I attended the first event and I look forward to this one. Please join me.
November 15 – December 24, Mondays through Fridays
8:30 a.m. • Zoom (free)
Sponsored by Anam Cara Sojourners with the Rev. Kim Hardy and the Rev. Dr. Fred Moser, these brief morning prayer services for Celtic Advent will take place online five days a week, beginning on the first day of Celtic Advent, Monday, Nov. 15, at 8:30 a.m., through December 24. Come as you are able. A devotional book of reflections compiled by Christine Aroney-Sien and Lisa DeRosa, Lean Towards the Light this Advent & Christmas, will be used (purchase is not required, as the group will read reflections aloud). Zoom link and more information can be found here. Password for the Zoom link is GODISLOVE.

Thursday, December 16
4:00 – 5:15 p.m. (Eastern) • Zoom (free)
You’re invited to a conversation, sponsored by the BTS Center, with Hannah Malcolm, editor of Words for a Dying World: Stories of Grief and Courage from the Global Church, and Anupama Ranawana, one of the contributors to this anthology of essays focused on how we grapple with ecological grief.

“As we come to terms with what it means, and will mean, to live in a climate-changed world, many of us are just beginning to understand our ecological grief and its connection to our places and our privileges. It takes practice and patience to meet our own grief and the grief of others with courage and compassion. And understanding these griefs through a theological lens will inform our spiritual leadership now, and in the days to come. This event is part of The BTS Center’s ongoing season of programming around ecological grief.” 
If you’re interested in theology, do listen to this excellent 30-minute interview about the relationship between climate grief and theology, a Talking Theology podcast with Hannah Malcolm, editor of Words for a Dying World

“What is climate grief, and what has God got to do with it? How does Jesus grieving over the particular help us understand how we might focus our climate grief? How does being attentive to what's in front of us help us to both grieve and hope? And how does all this help us follow Jesus day by day?”
Here’s a rare opportunity for Episcopalians in every diocese who care about God’s creation! The 2022 United Thank Offering grant materials are now available. The focus of this year’s grants is Care of Creation: Turning love into action by caring for God’s creation to protect the most vulnerable – who will bear the largest burden of pollution and climate change – through justice, advocacy, environmental reparations, or the development of formation materials

All forms necessary for the completion of a United Thank Offering grant are included on the website, including grant application materials, submission process, helpful hints, and so on. The deadline for submission of a completed
application (and required documents) is 5:00 pm (EST) on Friday, February 4, 2022, for dioceses of the Episcopal Church. If you need assistance or have questions about the application, please contact the Rev. Canon Heather Melton, staff officer for the United Thank Offering. One application per diocese will be accepted.
Stone wall in Ashfield woods. Photo: submitted.
Ditch consumerism this year and celebrate a relaxed, joyful, and Earth-friendly Christmas!
Bill McKibben’s small classic, Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas, is as relevant today as it was when it was published in 2013.

“Too many people have come to dread the approach of the holidays, a season that should – and can – be the most relaxed, intimate, joyful, and spiritual time of the year. In this book, Bill McKibben offers some suggestions on how to rethink Christmastime, so that our current obsession with present-buying becomes less important than the dozens of other possible traditions and celebrations.”
Saturday, January 22
9:00 a.m. – 12 Noon • Zoom (free)
Join the Diocese of Western Mass. for our third annual gathering to pray and discern the work of justice in this place, at this time. Sponsored by the Social Justice Commission of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, this online gathering is open to all who work for justice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I will be leading two breakout groups on creation justice; please join me at one of them! Other breakout groups will focus on gun safety, refugees, anti-racism, Poor People’s Campaign, and more. This is a must-come event!

Keynote: The Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones
The Rev. Dr. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones is an Episcopal priest at Trinity Church Wall Street in New York City. He serves as the Priest and Director of Spiritual Formation of Trinity’s Retreat Center in West Cornwall, CT.

For more information, click here. To register, click here.

• Creation Care Justice Network
If you’re an Episcopalian who lives or worships in Massachusetts, I urge you to join the Creation Care Justice Network, which was launched in Diocese of Massachusetts and now includes folks in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts. “CCJN is a network of clergy and lay people working together to help churches and communities care for creation through embracing sustainable practices and providing support and ideas for reducing the church’s carbon footprint – saving dollars and the earth; experiencing the outdoors; and preaching about interconnectedness with the natural world.” 

Sign up here to get connected with the network and receive its e-mail updates.

Working groups include:
  • Action and Advocacy, working with outside groups, such as Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light, to develop church and community action and policy changes. 

  • Spiritual Practice and Grounding, offering prayer, liturgies and practices to engage with creation and a theology that centers environmental wholeness.  

  • Communications and Networking, focusing on interactions to develop a stronger network among parishes and groups within the diocese around creation and climate justice.  

Email for more information or to join a working group. I’ve been attending meetings of the Action & Advocacy Group. I hope to see you there.

(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.)
Late November Sunrise, Ashfield, MA. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Join the Creation Care Justice Network
Creation Care Justice Network (CCJN) is a network of clergy and lay people working together to help churches and communities care for creation through embracing sustainable practices and providing support and ideas for reducing the church’s carbon footprint – saving dollars and the earth; experiencing the outdoors; and preaching about interconnectedness with the natural world.

Sign up here to get connected with the network and receive its e-mail updates.
Interfaith Resources
Free Seasonal Event from the BTS Center
Dec 9, 7:30pm

Featuring original music, online ritual, poetry, images, and Scripture, this event will provide a safe place for us to pray with our climate grief.

"Festivals are times of miracles. Both the Christian story of the birth of Jesus and the Hanukkah story of the oil for the lamp point to unanticipated, and unplanned, miracles. And so many of the festivals involve candles or lights of some kind. How might we, even in our lament, make room for the inbreaking of the miraculous? What is illuminated differently by the candles of the advent wreath, or menorahs, or by solstice bonfires?"

Read this...
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UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)

The COP26 summit brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Learn about how the negotiations at COP26 went and the outcomes achieved.

Read more
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MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014