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

• Today is the first day of Creation Season! As always, the season begins with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Today is a good day to bring to Jesus all the prayers on our hearts for our beautiful, struggling world. The summer of 2021 was memorable: we learned that climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, and that some trends are now irreversible for centuries to millennia. We witnessed droughts, storms, and floods (who knew, as in Tennessee, that 17 inches of rain could fall in 24 hours?). In New England, we experienced in a visceral way that we are all in this together: we inhaled the smoke of wildfires burning thousands of miles away, the residue of forests ablaze in western North America. Today we pause in prayer to acknowledge our grief and fear. We pause to give thanks for the beauty that remains and for the God who is with us always. We pause to renew our resolve to share in Jesus’ mission of healing, justice, and hope.

• I encourage you to mark the Season of Creation by inviting your congregation to join you in watching the four one-hour webinars on PRAY, LEARN, ACT, and ADVOCATE that we and Creation Care Justice Network (CCJN) in the Diocese of MA held this spring. View recordings of the videos on YouTube here.

Please read the updated webpages on Pray, Learn, Act, and Advocate and choose one, two, or more actions that you will take. During Creation Season, can you and your congregation take one action in each category?
Lilies. Photo: submitted.
Our diocese is offering two special events for Creation Season:

• Climate-Crisis Preaching: A conversation with Jim Antal and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Thursday, September 16 
10:00-11:00 a.m. • Zoom (free)
Preaching on climate change is more important than ever. Please join this informal hour-long conversation with two religious climate leaders who between them have preached on climate change more than 500 times. There will be opportunities for questions and discussion.

Participants are encouraged to read my article,Preaching When Life Depends on It: Climate Crisis and Gospel Hope(Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2021) and Jim Antal’s chapter, “Prophetic Preaching: Freeing the Pulpit from Fear,” in his book, Climate Church, Climate World. For more information and to register, click here.

• Ecological conversion: Falling in love with Earth
Saturday, October 2
9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon • Zoom (free)
Led by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
“Ecological conversion means falling in love with earth as an inherently valuable, living community in which we participate, and bending every effort to be creatively faithful to its well-being, in tune with the living God who brought it into being and cherishes it with unconditional love.” – Elizabeth Johnson

As we approach the end of Creation Season and prepare for the feast day of St. Francis on October 4, what is our next step in eco-conversion? How does God want to meet us through the natural world? Our time together will include silence and guided meditation, presentations and small group conversation, and free time for solitary prayer and a contemplative walk outdoors. Please bring a natural object to this retreat (e.g., a few autumn leaves, a rock, shell, feather, or house plant). 

This retreat is sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts and the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and is open to the public at no charge. Registration is now open.
Other ways to mark Creation Season:

• Join the #HouseOnFireChoir with A Passion for the Planet! Bring your voice to COP26!
The most important climate talks since the Paris Agreement will begin in Glasgow, Scotland on October 31, 2021. The climate emergency means we need to make our voices heard. We’ve marched, we’ve voted, we’ve petitioned, and now we are going to sing. We are going to form one large choir, #HouseOnFireChoir with A Passion for the Planet, and sing for the U.N. climate summit!

Please join a worldwide choir in singing, “Holy Earth, Ancient Home,” the finale of the COP26 on-line performance of Geoffrey Hudson’s A Passion for the Planet. Record yourself, your friends, family, or choir singing this simple hymn; send in your performance, and your voice will be heard in Glasgow, Scotland this November! The deadline for sending in your recording is October 11. Explore this website for more details on how to participate.
• They Knew: 50 years of the U.S. government causing the climate crisis
Wednesday, Sept. 8
1:00-2:00 p.m. • Zoom (free)
September's Creation Justice Webinar (UCC) features one of the leading environmental voices in recent decades: Gus Speth. Gus Speth served the Carter administration, founded the Natural Resources Defense Council, and served as Dean of the Yale Environmental Law program. His new book is entitled, They Knew—The US Federal Government's Fifty-Year Role in Causing the Climate Crisis. About the book, Naomi Klein has written, "Devastating. Enraging. Indispensable. Would that the world had more heroic elders like Gus Speth. He has produced a damning record that will become a potent tool for justice.” Even if you can’t make the scheduled time, sign up anyway – you will receive a recording. For more information and to register, click here
Climate Solutions & Spiritual Leadership: A conversation with The All We Can Save Project
Thursday, September 9
7:00 – 8:15 pm • Zoom ($15, scholarships available)
Sponsored by The BTS Center, this online event features Dr. Katharine K. Wilkinson, Heather McTeer Toney, Mary Anne Hitt, and Madeleine Jubilee Saito, in a celebration of All We Can Save, an anthology of writings by 60 women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.

Climate change is a multi-faceted problem that requires an equally multi-faceted movement of solutions. One significant, root-level solution is spiritual reorientation to feminist wisdom. That means shifting away from delusions of individualism, toward creative collaboration; away from greed and apathy, toward generous mutuality; away from habits of domination, toward practices of regeneration. And it means heeding the leadership of those who are moving culture in that direction. The All We Can Save Project is that kind of cultural force. To learn more, click here. Registration is open

• Climate Preparedness Week, September 24-30
Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) is hosting its fourth annual Climate Preparedness Week. This year’s theme is The Weather is Changing: Are You Prepared? Organizations across Massachusetts and the U.S. will host events that educate and prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change. If your church is interested in hosting an event or spreading the word about Climate Preparedness Week, please fill out the interest form. You can also view the Climate Prep Week webpage for more information.

You might also consider joining CREW's Climate Resilience Hub program. Climate Resilience Hubs are community places -- libraries, schools, faith institutions, local businesses, etc. -- that help people prepare for and respond to extreme weather events. They may provide education, resources, or direct support during emergencies. While CREW is not currently accepting new Hubs, you are welcome to fill out the interest form on our webpage and we will reach out to you once we are accepting new Hubs.
• We Are God's Soil: Spiritual leadership in a climate-changed world
Convocation 2021
Thursday, September 30 - Friday, October 1 • Zoom ($50 – $5 discount for attending as part of a team of 2 or more from a congregation or organization)
The BTS Center hosts an excellent annual convocation. This year features Rev. Mariama White-Hammond and Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Canon for Evangelism and Reconciliation.
Climate change is no longer the science community’s prediction for the future. We are living in a climate-changed world – a world that raises provocative questions:
  • How might we grieve the losses of the world we once knew and embrace an abused and broken Mother Earth?
  • How might we rearrange our lives, our priorities, our resources, and our relationships in a climate-changed world?
  • How might faith communities adopt supportive, comforting, and prophetic practices in a climate-changed world?
  • How might congregations welcome the stranger, the displaced, and the migrant in a climate-changed world?
  • What do inclusiveness, justice, and equity look like in a climate-changed world?
  • How will we — spiritual leaders in many different contexts — maintain determination, courage, and empathy in this climate-changed world?

Please join me in attending this special event! For more information and to register, click here.

• Mass IP&L Autumn Interfaith Worship Service: “Love. Earth. Justice.”
Sunday, October 3
3:00 p.m. • Old South Church, Boston
Please join me at this special interfaith worship service in downtown Boston, organized by Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light – giving Christians a spectacular conclusion to Creation Season. I will help to lead worship. Beloved preacher Rev. Traci Blackmon (Associate General Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ) will deliver the sermon. Enjoy uplifting music, prayers, messages, and fellowship.

Looking ahead:
• Parish survey in the Dioceses of WMA and MA
As our two dioceses embark together on climate action, I urge Episcopalians in Massachusetts to fill out a short survey about what your congregation is or isn’t (yet) doing to address the climate crisis. We’d like to know who is working on solutions and how we can support you. We welcome surveys from multiple people in the same congregation. Click here to view the survey. 

• “Be the Spark” Advocacy Training
Tuesday, October 12, 19, 26, & November 2
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. • Zoom
Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light is thrilled to announce that it will host Be the Spark, a dynamic interactive workshop that teaches state-of-the-art organizing skills for religious climate justice activists. If you’ve ever wanted to be more effective in engaging others to join our movement and have more impact in the world, this is for you!

Experienced trainers from Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light will present proven, state-of-the-art organizing techniques taught by Harvard Kennedy School’s Marshall Ganz—the perfect lead-in to MassIPL’s new Faith in Action Campaign to mobilize people of faith to influence our legislators on crucial climate justice priorities.

Although attendance at all four sessions is highly recommended, it is not required. Recordings of all sessions will be available to registrants. Please register here. Questions? Email Rev. Fred Small, MassIPL Policy Director, at
Faiths4ClimateJustice: A global multi-religious action
October 17 & 18
Two weeks before global climate negotiations begin in Scotland at COP26, people of diverse religions will rise to send a message: destroying the planet is against our religions. Organized by GreenFaith, people of faith around the world will hold actions ranging from prayer vigils to sit-ins, hymn-singing and bellringing to rallies, in an urgent call for climate justice and care for the vulnerable. To learn more and to join or host an action, please visit Faiths4ClimateJustice. Please consider hosting an event in your area. This is a rare opportunity for people of many faiths to join hands in our struggle to protect this fragile Earth, our island home.

Some other resources:

I gave a plenary talk, “Earth Care, Soul Care: Growing in Spiritual Resilience,” for the 2021 Global Mission Conference, "Earthkeeping: Creation Care in Global Mission," hosted by the Global Episcopal Mission Network (GEMN) on April 22-24. My 30-minute presentation is available on Global Episcopal Mission Network’s (GEMN) YouTube Channel. Video recordings of all the 2021 Global Mission Conference presentations are available at GEMN’s website and on their YouTube playlist.

I was part of an online discussion, hosted by The BTS Center, of Rooted & Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, a book for everyone who worries about the climate crisis and seeks spiritual practices and perspectives to renew our capacity for compassionate, purposeful, and joyful action. The event, held as part of the UCC Synod on July 13, featured the book’s editors, Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, as well as contributing authors Natasha DeJarnett and Jim Antal. A recording of this lively event is available here.

CCJN (Creation Care Justice Network) is based in the Diocese of Massachusetts, and people in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts are now invited to join. The whole group meets quarterly. There are 3 working groups – Spiritual Practice & Grounding, Communications & Networking, and Action & Advocacy – which meet either bi-weekly or monthly. (I often join the Action & Advocacy meetings.) Would you like to be part of these conversations? To learn more and to join CCJN or one of the working groups, go here.

Many financial institutions ― from banks to insurance companies, asset managers to pension funds ― have made new climate commitments, such as “net-zero” emissions by 2050. Yet at the same time they are providing loans, insurance, and billions in investment capital to corporations expanding the fossil fuel industry and deforesting the Amazon and other tropical forests companies that are guilty of human rights abuses and violations of Indigenous sovereignty.

Major new fossil fuel projects, such as Line 3, the TransMountain pipeline, the Formosa plastics plant, and major deforestation projects, couldn’t get off the ground without the support of the financial sector and the U.S. government.

Join in calling on financial institutions & the U.S. government to end their support for companies engaged in climate destruction and human rights abuses by the start of the Glasgow Climate Talks. Sign the petition and join the campaign: In order to take climate change seriously, we cannot continue to accept empty promises. Stop funding climate change NOW!
• If you are looking for ideas of how you can help de-carbonize your city or town, the Mass Power Forward Checklist is a terrific resource. It contains numerous ways you can engage your community in efforts to create a local environmental task force, increase energy efficiency, promote clean energy and transportation infrastructure, and prepare for the effects of climate change. (Thanks to 350 Mass and Rev. Betsy Sowers!)
• Want to ensure that your money is funding the clean energy future and not dirty fossil fuels? It's easy to identify the worst offenders — like Chase, BlackRock and Liberty Mutual — but it's much harder to identify companies that have banished fossil fuels from their business. That's why you might want to explore this new tool from Bank for Good, which enables you to quickly and easily find 31 (and counting) financial institutions that have pledged never to finance, insure, underwrite or invest in the fossil fuel industry. To curb the climate crisis, institutional investors need to pull their money from fossil fuel projects — individual banking choices aren’t going to stop those projects on their own.
• Thank you for reading this month’s newsletter. Feel free to be in touch with your ideas and suggestions ( I wish you a joyful and meaningful Season of Creation!

(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.)
Squam Lake at dawn. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Destroying the planet is against our religions
Faiths 4 Climate Justice - GreenFaith

A Global Multi-Religious Action. 17-18 October 2021. SIGN UP. Two weeks before global climate negotiations, people of diverse religions will rise to send a message: destroying the planet is against our religions. Join us!...

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Interfaith Resources
Free Advocacy Training
hosted by Mass IP&L
Oct 12, 19, 26, & Nov 2
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. • Zoom

Be the Spark is a dynamic and experiential leadership development workshop series that builds interfaith community and gives participants premier organizing tools and strategic approaches for engaging their community of faith in climate change solutions.

Be the Spark participants learn how to invite the gifts and skills of those in their community to take action that inspires a sustained and creative effort in building a more just and sustainable world.

Read this...
Explore this...
Bank for Good

Where we keep our money matters. Don't support companies that invest in fossil fuels. Find an account for your values #bankforgood

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