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

Welcome to Lent! How do you intend to practice Creation care during Lent this year? Here are several suggestions.

Fast for the Earth 
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? (Isaiah 58:6-7)

Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) notes that Anglicans traditionally fast during these 40 days: we abstain from certain foods, drinks, or luxuries. Yet Isaiah challenges us to go further: to consid er the hungry, the homeless and the oppres sed. Fasting should involve actions of justice. This year, ACEN encourages us to engage in 40 days of actions around food, water, waste, energy, and nature as our spiritual practices for Lent. To download the #FAST4EARTH Lenten calendar , click here

• Creation Justice Ministry has also created a 2020 Lenten Calendar , wh ich offers 40 days of Christ & eco-centered reflection and/or action during the Lenten season. Download a color version here . Download a printer-friendly version that can be printed black and white here .

• A group of faith leaders in Citizens Climate Lobby – Climate Caretakers – provides a Lenten Carbon Fast with email reminders to engage and encourage Christians to think, pray, and act to address climate change. Check it out and sign up here .  

• For daily reflection and prayer during Lent, I encourage you to join me in reading this month’s recommended book, Leah Schade’s For the Beauty of the Earth . This brief devotional encourages spiritual practices that get us back to ourselves by returning to the earth. Finding ways to reconnect with the earth from which you were created is essential to finding wholeness and being at rest in God. What might that look like for you?

• For group study during Lent, you might consider doing what one local church is doing: organize a "rooted and rising" group . The pastor, observing that Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis has seven sections, explained: “Each of us will commit to reading one section per week, beginning with Ash Wednesday and finishing on the Wednesday after Easter (which happens to be exactly one week before Earth Day). During this time, we will gather weekly to ask one another three questions: How is it with your soul? How is it with our home? What then must we do? Our hope is that some answer to the last question might emerge by Earth Day.”

If you’d like to order copies of Rooted & Rising , you can get a 30% discount from the publisher ( Rowman & Littlefield ) by using the code RLFANDF30. If you need copies of the book quickly, for Lenten study, you can buy them directly from me (let me know at [email protected] ). 
Margaret preaches about Transfiguration at Grace-St Paul’s, Tucson, AZ.
Photo: John Banks
• Lent is framed by light: it is preceded by the glorious light of Transfiguration, which we contemplate on the Last Sunday After the Epiphany, and it concludes with Holy Week and the brilliant light of Easter. I preached at Grace-St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tucson, Arizona, on “ Transfiguration and a radiant Earth .” You can read the sermon at . Here is an excerpt:

The vivid image of Jesus lit up from within aligns with the experience of mystics from every religion who speak of a vibrant, shimmering energy or light that flows through everything… We may not consider ourselves mystics, but anyone who has ever been overcome by the beauty of the world – anyone who, in contemplating the world, has ever experienced a wave of wonder and gratefulness and awe – anyone who has ever spent time looking into the eyes of a baby or studying the details of a leaf – anyone who has ever gazed for a while at a mountain range or watched the sparkling waters of a river as it rushes downstream knows what it’s like to see the hidden radiance of Christ, whose living presence fills the whole Creation… Seeing the world with eyes of love is to see the world shining – to see its suffering, yes; to see its brokenness and imperfection, yes; but also, to see it as cherished by God, as precious in God’s sight, as shining with God’s light. To see the world with eyes of love is to see it with God’s eyes… This is one of the great gifts that people of faith can offer the world in this perilous time: the perception of Creation as a sacred, living whole, lit up with the glory of God. 
My trip to Tucson included a pilgrimage into darkness: I traveled to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to view the U.S.-Mexico border wall that our President is building. This stretch of Sonoran Desert wilderness is sacred to several Native American groups and is protected by the United Nations as an ecological treasure. Yet it is being dynamited to clear the way for construction of the border wall to keep out migrants.
The New York Times just published an excellent article about the assault on Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, under the headline “ To Tribes Along Border, New Wall Is a ‘Scar Across Our Heart . In the anguish of contemplating this brutal wall, I thought of Pope Francis’ observation in Laudato Si’ : “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather one complex crisis which is both social and environmental” (#139).  

• Please consider joining me in Washington, DC, on March 25-26 at the 9th annual  American Climate Leadership Summit (ACLS 2020) . I will be one of the speakers at the conference, whose focus will be AMBITION • RESTORATION • JUSTICE . From the ACLS website: this summit is “the nation’s largest and most diverse gathering of leaders dedicated to broadening and catalyzing action and advocacy for climate solutions. Learn strategies and ideas to help transform climate action into a true national priority. ACLS2020 offers inspiring keynotes, immersive conversations, and collaborative sessions on accelerating efforts to restore our climate, raise ambition, convert our challenges into opportunities, and ensure that our pathways forward are centered on justice and equity.” We expect a strong presence from people of faith, and I hope you will join us. For more information and to register, click here.

• You are also invited to join me on Saturday, March 28 , when I lead the annual retreat for Pax Christi MA at Elms College in Chicopee. Everyone is welcome! Our focus will be “Spiritual resilience and leadership in a time of climate crisis.”  In the face of ecological crisis, how do we maintain courage and hope? What spiritual practices and perspectives sustain us as we struggle to protect the web of life and create a more just society? The retreat will explore a framework for the heart to help us become compassionate, prophetic leaders who are willing to take up the mantle of moral leadership that this decisive moment in history requires. Our time together will include presentations, guided meditation, group sharing, and space for solitary reflection and prayer. Suggested donation: $25 (scholarships available). High school and college students with ID are free. Lunch will be in the cafeteria on one's own. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. The program begins at 10:00 a.m. For more information, download the flier here

• I will give a talk on “ Earth Care, Soul Care: Reflections from the Front Lines ” at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 2 , at First Congregational Church, 306 Chicopee Street, Chicopee. In this evening program, I will reflect on the local and worldwide movement to address climate change. What roles can faith communities play? How does working to heal the web of life help to heal our soul? This ecumenical event is free and open to the public. Free-will donations will be accepted at the door. You can download a flier here .

On April 22, the world will celebrate the 50 th anniversary of Earth Day . What special Earth Day service or event will your congregation offer? This could be the perfect opportunity to try out the special Creation care liturgy that our diocese created for the service of Holy Communion at our 118th diocesan convention in 2019.   If you visit the section called Pray , you can download the liturgy from our diocesan Creation care website. At our website you can also find other resources for special Earth Day prayers and worship services .

Expect local climate strikes and other events that week. I’ll post whatever I know in next month’s newsletter. Sunrise and Extinction Rebellion deserve our participation and support.

• During the 50 th anniversary of Earth Week , please consider joining me in Washington, D.C ., to participate in the many events centered around care of God’s Creation and tackling climate change.

On Sunday, April 19, I will preach at the 11:15 a.m. service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, as the Cathedral marks the beginning of Earth Week. Please pray for me!

From April 24-27, I plan to take part in Ecumenical Advocacy Days , an important annual event in DC whose theme this year is climate justice: Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored . ” From the website: “EAD 2020 will explore the intersection of climate change and economic injustice. This will galvanize our advocacy on behalf of policies and programs to chip away at the systems of oppression that keep people in poverty and push all life on earth to the brink of destruction.”

The Episcopal Church encourages everyone to take part in Ecumenical Advocacy Days. Will you join me? Let me know if you plan to come!

Of course, like all of you, I am closely watching the status of the coronavirus, and my travel plans this winter/spring may need to change. 

Wherever we spend Earth Week this year, let’s make it memorable, a fruit of our faithful Lenten practice.

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
The border wall under construction at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona.
Photo: Robert A. Jonas .
Margaret at the border wall.
Photo: Robert A. Jonas.
Opportunities for engagement
Pax Christi Annual Retreat at Elms College
Saturday, March 28, 2020
291 Springfield Street Chicopee MA
Mary Dooley Campus Center, Faculty Dining Room
Elms College

Registration begins at 9:30am, Program 10:00 am to 3:30 pm
For parking check out

Interfaith Resources
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
Come to EAD for Earth Week 2020 to Mark Earth Day 50th...

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American Climate Leadership Summit 2020

The American Climate Leadership Summit is designed to build political will for climate solutions and a broader, more inclusive movement. Join over 500 attendees from across America as we learn, share, and collaborate...

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