Creation Care Network E-news
September 2023
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

Welcome to our first newsletter since I returned from sabbatical. And welcome to the Season of Creation, which spans September 1 to October 4. We praise God today for the gifts of late summer – for sunflowers and sweetcorn, blackberries and goldenrod, the scent of hay and the flash of hummingbirds. We offer God our concerns and fears for the natural world and for the communities (human and more-than-human) that have recently suffered or now endure massive hurricanes, heat domes, fires, droughts, and floods. Climate change is hitting home everywhere. Together with Christians around the world, we pray that the Holy Spirit will strengthen us to take bold action to heal and restore a threatened world.
Margaret hikes island of Iona. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Sabbatical notes
The centerpiece of my 3-month refresher leave was a pilgrimage to the island of Iona, which is often celebrated as the birthplace of Christianity in Scotland. My husband Robert Jonas and I were part of a group organized by Washington National Cathedral, and we relished the open skies, sparkling water, and austere, rocky landscape of what is truly a “thin” place between heaven and earth. I also studied Celtic Christianity and took two courses through John Philip Newell’s School of Earth and Soul, which I heartily recommend. 
Iona abbey. Photo: submitted
I was deeply grateful for these precious weeks of prayer, reflection, and study – yet when I heard that Chase Bank was opening its doors in downtown Northampton, I also needed to join the public protest. As I told the reporter who wrote Climate advocates call out Chase Bank’s dirty climate record”:
           Desecrating the Earth is like spitting in the face of God. No one should bank with an outfit like Chase Bank that is funding fossil fuels and contributing so decisively to the destruction of the sacred web of life.
Chase Bank protest banner hangs over Northampton bridge. Photo: submitted.
Our public action to protect Creation arises from prayer. On August 6, I preached on “Transfiguration: When we see Earth shining” in the Chapel of St. James the Fisherman (Wellfleet, MA):

           Today we stand on the mountaintop, soaking up the light of Christ and letting ourselves be filled with his love. Even now, the glory that shone through Jesus Christ is shining in our hearts, longing to blaze up like fire and to melt away everything in us that is less than love. As we give ourselves to the great work of healing God’s creation, I trust that we, too, are shining.

I’m excited to announce that our work on developing this new program for Episcopal congregations in Massachusetts is swiftly moving forward. The Creation Care Justice Network of the two Massachusetts dioceses was honored to receive a $20,000 grant from The Episcopal Church’s Task Force on Creation Care and Environmental Racism and a $10,000 Inter-Diocesan Partnership Grant from Episcopal Province of New England (Province One).

Buoyed by this support and by funds from both dioceses, we will launch a six-month pilot of An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice in October. The Path aims to help congregations amplify their efforts to pray, learn, act, and advocate on behalf of God’s Creation. The Path will provide online resources and a trained Companion to help interpret the resources and to offer spiritual support as congregations assess their level of engagement with creation justice in each of the four areas and decide where they’d like to go deeper. During the pilot phase we will refine the Path and evaluate its impact on the 12 parishes enrolled.

Save the Date! The pilot phase will conclude with a public Earth Day celebration on April 20, 2024, featuring climate speakers such as Bill McKibben ( and Third Act). After reviewing and revising the Path, we intend to open the Path to all Episcopal dioceses and to other members of the Anglican Communion during General Convention 2024.

To learn more or to connect with the Creation Care Justice Network around the pilot program, please reach out to the Coordinator of An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice, the Rev. Rachel Field ([email protected]).

A multi-faith campaign of EcoAmerica's Blessed Tomorrow Program
With hope and excitement, I also want to let you know about a new, national, multifaith campaign to support congregations in our ministry of climate justice and Creation care. One Home One Future aims to educate and empower clergy, congregants, youth, and all spiritual people in meaningful and just solutions locally, regionally, and nationally.

All congregations are invited to sign up with One Home One Future, whether you are new to Creation care ministry or quite seasoned. The first 1,000 congregations to join will receive a FREE banner, congregation kit, and resources.

The Episcopal Church, along with many other denominations and religious groups, is standing behind this campaign. Ready to learn more? Go here to get the basics. Click here to listen to what many faith leaders (including The Episcopal Church’s Rev. Melanie Mullen and Phoebe Chatfield, and UCC climate champion Rev. Dr. Jim Antal) are saying about One Home One Future.

One Home, One Future will launch publicly at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern) on October 4. Please join me at the launch! Sign up here to register.  
2023 Season of Creation (September 1 – October 4)
Here in the Diocese of Western MA we’re marking our TENTH annual celebration of Creation Season! Please check the many events and opportunities listed below, which will carry you through and beyond this special season. Visit to receive a special guide to this year’s season, which is organized around the theme Let Justice and Peace Flow. Ecumenical faith leaders from around the world have prepared a special video to invite you to take part in this season.
Friday, September 1
9:00 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
September 1, Creation Day, also known as Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, opens the Season of Creation. Faith leaders from around the world will lead this time of prayer and reflection as we celebrate the start of the Season of Creation, on this year’s theme, “Let Justice and Peace Flow.” Click here to join.
Earth Icon. Watercolor and gold leaf, by Edith Adams Allison. Used with permission.
Released last year and now updated for Year A of the liturgical calendar, this worship resource has been authorized for use during Creation Season not only by the two dioceses in Massachusetts, but also by more than two dozen other dioceses across The Episcopal Church. The Rev. John Lein (a priest in the Diocese of Maine) and I worked hard to create and distribute this liturgical guide. By the time we published it on August 9, sixteen bishops representing seventeen dioceses had authorized the material. But that was just the start! A list of the full 27 authorizing dioceses is available in the story posted on my website, You can browse and download a pdf of the worship resource here. What elements of this worship resource might you want to try out in your church setting?
Wednesday, September 6, 20, & October 4 (every other Wednesday, ongoing) 
4:30 – 4:50 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Offered by Radical Joy for Hard Times, Earth Hospice Rites is a brief, online, bimonthly gathering to lament, celebrate, share, and offer mindful attention to the places and species we love that are endangered by climate change. Together we take a deep collective breath and say, “Yes, the Earth as I know it is dying.” Co-hosts are Alison Cornish of The BTS Center and Trebbe Johnson of Radical Joy for Hard Times. More information is here. Click here for the Zoom link.

Thursday, September 7
12 Noon • Online (free)
You are warmly invited to a webinar on “Trees in the Spiritual Life of the Church.” This call is hosted by The Communion Forest, a new initiative of the Anglican Communion to join together in tree growing and ecosystem conservation, protection, and restoration throughout the world. The Communion Forest was launched Aug. 3, 2022, during the Lambeth Conference, as one of the legacies of the conference. Register here.

Monday, September 18
9:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
The Episcopal churchwide Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism invites you to a monthly compline on creation care, environmental justice, and eco-spirituality. The September compline will be officiated by the Rev. Ellis Clifton from the British Virgin Islands. Bring your prayers. All are welcome. Register here.
with The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Thursday, September 28
9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. • Mercy by the Sea, Madison, CT ($90 includes lunch)
Please join me for an in-person day-long retreat at a beautiful retreat center beside the ocean. Although registration is now full, you can add your name to the waiting list. Complete information and registration is available here.

I know I’m not the only person who considers Emery House, a retreat center run by the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) and located in a beautiful natural setting north of Boston, one of the top places to go on retreat. Many of SSJE’s program retreats at Emery House speak to people who find God in nature. Christ in the Wild will be held tomorrow (Sept. 2). Other retreat opportunities include:

A complete list of this fall’s Emery House retreats is here.
Thursday, September 7
7:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
The Evangelical Environmental Network is hosting the first of a six-part series on Kyle Meyaard-Schaap's new book, Following Jesus in a Warming World. The series runs each Thursday through October 12. Click here for more information and to register.

Tuesday, September 12
6:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Join Creation Justice Ministries for an enlightening and inspiring webinar featuring a captivating conversation between children's book authors Amy Houts and Betsy Painter. In this engaging dialogue, Amy and Betsy will delve into the intersection of faith, creation justice, and the power of children's literature to shape young hearts and minds. Click here for more information and to register.

• Environmental Sundays at Saints James & Andrews
Local Farming in the Climate Crisis: Panel and Action Plan
Sunday, September 17
12 Noon – 1:30 p.m. (panel and Q&A), 1:45 – 2:30 p.m. (action plan) • Sts James & Andrew Episcopal Church, Greenfield (free)
To launch its new series of special creation care events on the third Sunday of the month, the Green Team at Saints James & Andrew (8 Church St., Greenfield) invites you to a presentation on how climate change is affecting local farming and how we can respond. Participants include farmers David Fisher (Natural Roots Farm, Conway) and Sarah Voiland (Red Fire Farm in Montague and Granby) and Natalie Blais (State Rep., First Franklin District). Snacks will be available. Donations will be accepted for United Way Massachusetts Farm Resiliency Fund. Complete details are in the flyer.
September 23-29
The Boston-based organization Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) is holding its annual climate preparedness week, marking a week of learning, service, and actions to better prepare our communities for extreme weather events and the effects of climate change. Check the website as events (in-person and online) become available. Learn more about how your church can become a Climate Resilience Hub.
Thursday & Friday, September 28 & 29
10:00 a.m. (Thursday) – 3:00 p.m. (Friday) • Hallowell, Maine & Online
The BTS Center is offering this year’s annual convocation both in person (Maple Hill Farm Inn & Conference Center, Hallowell, ME) and with an online track. Speakers include Victoria Loorz (author and co-founder of the Wild Church Network) and John Bear Mitchell. Convocation 2023 will include music, poetry, and ritual; plenary sessions and small-group conversation; opportunities to engage with nature; and both embodied and contemplative practice. Registration fee: $200 register by September 15 for in person event; $35 for online companion track. For complete information and to register, click here.
With eager anticipation, I look forward to the release of this new, 9-session, film-based, small-group curriculum, ideal for Episcopalians anywhere on the journey with Creation care and environmental ministry. Still under development by The Episcopal Church’s Creation Care Ministries, it could be ready in October and serve as a good follow-up to other Season of Creation activities. Register here for more information and updates.

This new certificate program aims to provide a concentrated immersion that will take you into the broadest questions of science, climate, and global justice and into the beauty, relationality, mystery, and interspecies complexity of your bioregion. For more information about this exciting new program, click here.
Thursday, September 7
7:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Interfaith Power & Light is hosting a webinar on electrifying homes with assistance through the Inflation Reduction Act. Join the event to learn more about the incentives that will be available to help make your home healthier and more efficient. Click here for more information and to register.

Interfaith Power & Light has compiled a list of federal resources to help nonprofits, including houses of worship, learn which federal grant and tax credit programs are available through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Interfaith Power & Light has also recorded a recent webinar briefing with the Department of Energy that reviews these programs. And IPL created a FAQ on federal program for houses of worship. Finally, this summary on outlines a clear six-step process to take advantage of this program. 

September 22-23 (or whatever date works best for you!)
Multiple sites on the Connecticut River watershed
Connecticut River Conservancy’s annual Source to Sea Cleanup is a wonderful get-dirty-for-clean-rivers event that supports local efforts to clean up our beloved river’s shoreline and waters. To find out more, sign up for Source to Sea Cleanup News.

Katharine Hayhoe, the renowned climate scientist and Christian, recently wrote in her newsletter, “When it comes to climate action, did you know there’s an app for that?” Earth Hero is “your personal guide to make climate-conscious choices. It offers sustainable lifestyle tips, science-based resources, and ways to make your voice count, all ranked on a scale from easy to ambitious. I love that it doesn’t only focus on our personal footprint; Earth Hero also includes ways to connect with others who are making a change. As its description says, the app is intended to ‘connect you to a global movement rising to the interconnected crises of climate change and rapid species loss.’ We can’t fix climate change alone, but I know we can do it together.”
Sunday, September 17
1:00 p.m. • 56th and Broadway, New York City
Please join me in New York City for the biggest climate march since the pandemic. Timed in advance of the United Nation’s first-ever Climate Ambition Summit to accelerate progress towards Sustainable Development Goals, this march and rally will urge President Biden to take bold action to end fossil fuel production and expansion. Please sign up here for the march to receive information from march organizers.
Please join me in the Faith Hub for the March to End Fossil Fuels by filling out this form. If you can commit to recruiting 5 or more people from your community to join the Faith Hubsign up to be a Hub Captain!

Let’s mobilize a large faith contingent in the streets of NYC on Sept. 17. Bring snacks, sunscreen, a water bottle, and signs or banners. In the faith hub, we will begin gathering at 11:30 a.m. for multi-faith worship programs. Then we will have some fellowship time together before the March to End Fossil Fuels begins at 1:00 p.m. Please share the march website far and wide!

Did you know that this Massport expansion plan has the potential to single-handedly undercut the total combined greenhouse gas reductions that the rest of Massachusetts is working to achieve? Learn more and discover ways you can take action to stop the damaging, unnecessary and environmentally unsound private jet expansion at Hanscom or anywhere. 

Organizers have collected over 7,000 petition signatures, moving us nearly three quarters of the way towards our goal of 10,000 people calling on Governor Healey to put a halt to new gas system expansions until the administration develops a concrete plan for a just transition to a clean and green energy future. You can sign the petition here.

(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.)
Sunflowers and corn. Photo: submitted.
Opportunities for engagement
Source to Sea Cleanup

Welcome to the Source to Sea Cleanup, a powerful and effective community event spanning the length of our 410-mile watershed in NH, VT, MA, & CT. Each fall, thousands of volunteers of all ages and abilities come together to do their part and...

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Interfaith Resources
Creation Care | One Home One Future

You can answer the call to strengthen your congregation and care for creation in ways that are inspiring, fulfilling, and accessible. Join One Home One Future, a multi-faith campaign to strengthen vitality, relevance, and community connection...

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Watch this...
Explore this...
Earth Hero app

Your personal app to rise up against climate change. Respond to climate change by discovering personalised, positive steps we can take to care for our planet and communities. It's our future to choose.

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Join our diocesan Creation Care Facebook group!
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MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014