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

According to Christian teaching, the veil between this world and the “other” world – the unseen, sacred world within the visible world of ordinary perception – is particularly thin today. On All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2) we remember our connection with saints, ancestors, and all the spirit beings who support us. The Gaelic feast of Samhain (pronounced SAH-win) on November 1 marks the end of the harvest and is considered a liminal time in which the boundary between this world and the next can be crossed more easily. Who are the saints, living or dead, who want to bring you their gifts of love, strength, and support? Today’s a good day to take some prayer time to receive those gifts! Maybe St. Paul is speaking for all the saints when he says, “Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

With the support of this great “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1-2), our courage is renewed for the struggles ahead. The secretary general of the U.N., António Guterres, recently warned that Humanity has opened the gates of Hellbecause of inaction on climate. Scientists recently published a study showing that Earth has transgressed six of nine “planetary boundaries,suggesting that Earth is now well outside the “safe operating zone” for humanity. For a short TED talk on the importance of honoring planetary boundaries, visit here. “We risk destabilizing the whole planet… This is our mission: to protect our children’s future.”

Let’s keep the faith, lay aside every weight that impedes us, and run with perseverance the race that is set before us. 
Ashfield pond in late autumn. Photo: submitted
• An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice launches pilot program
We launched the Pilot program at last week’s diocesan conventions in both Diocese of MA and Diocese of Western MA. Wondering what An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice is all about? Take a moment to view the short video we shared on the floor of the convention or in the exhibition area.

Here’s a report from the Rev. Rachel Field, Project Coordinator:
“As fall has settled onto the mountains, rivers, and coastline here in New England, we’ve busily been preparing for an exciting new phase in the development of An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice. After months of exploratory conversations, refining of the internal process, and a robust training program for Companions, we are delighted to share the list of 11 parishes that will participate in the Pilot. The parishes represent a wide range of size, resource, and location, and include parishes with settled clergy leadership and parishes in transition. Most of the parishes are in the Dioceses of Massachusetts and of Western Massachusetts, but there are also parishes from Maine and Connecticut. A full list is available here.

“Over the next six months, a small team from each parish will work closely with its trained Companion to: 
  1. Celebrate and reflect on their strengths to deeply engage in climate justice ministry
  2. Review the grid of resources intended for parish development in all four areas of engagement: pray, learn, act, advocate
  3. Create a vision for next steps as the parish deepens its commitment to creation justice.

“We ask your prayers as these parishes take on this leadership role for the wider church in working to hone this groundbreaking program. We ask your prayers for the Companions who will walk with them. We ask your prayers for Rev. Rachel Field and Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, who will advise, coordinate, and shepherd the Companions in their work. To find out more about the Path, please visit: Our intention is to deeply reflect on the strengths of this Pilot program and the necessary changes to make it stronger and more accessible. Once we have done this, we anticipate an Open Enrollment period for all interested communities beginning during General Convention 2024.”
Our Creation care table at Diocese of Western MA convention. The One Home One Future banner belongs to All Saints Church, South Hadley. Photo: submitted
One Home One Future
Every parish – whether you’re involved or not in An Episcopal Path to Creation Justice – is invited to join the new national multifaith campaign, One Home One Future. Be one of the first 1,000 congregations to sign up and you’ll receive a free banner to hang outside your building. Everything you do to safeguard God’s Creation – including how you pray, learn, act, and advocate for climate justice – expresses your commitment to One Home One Future.

The title of my op-ed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette says it all: One Home One Future campaign unites faiths on climate.”
Through One Home One Future, people of faith and spiritual people are answering the call to care for God’s creation and to ensure that our common home is thriving for our children and future generations. I hope you will join me in taking visible action in our homes, congregations, workplaces, and communities, and in helping others to do the same.”

For more information and to sign up, visit here.

Do you know a high school student who’s making a difference?
EcoAmerica welcomes applicants and nominations for their inaugural awards to high school students making a difference on climate change. For more information about American Climate Leadership Awards (ACLA) for High School Students, and to apply, please visit here.
Wednesday, November 1
7:30 - 8:30 pm (Eastern) • Online (free)
Anytime you need a place to be with others in your grief and love for our shared home, please join The BTS Center for Lament with Earth, a seasonal, worship-filled gathering online featuring music and liturgy from The Many. Tonight’s event, cohosted with Center for Spirituality in Nature, will focus on the element of air. For more information and to register for this and all five of these seasonal events honoring the pain of loss through the liturgical year, visit here

Emery House is one of my favorite places for prayer and retreat, and the SSJE Brothers will feed you well and take good care of you. Here are two upcoming offerings that still have space available:
Monday, November 20
9:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
The Episcopal Church-wide Task Force on Care of Creation and Environmental Racism is excited to announce that these Creation care compline services will continue until General Convention in June 2024. To register, please visit here.
Led by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Saturday, December 16        
9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon • Online (free)
This year’s Advent retreat takes its name from the opening line of a 15th-century hymn attributed to Thomas á Kempis. Guided by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, we will enjoy a morning of listening, prayer, and conversation as we open ourselves to the presence of Divine Love. Our time together will include presentations, guided meditation, and gathering in small groups. If you like, bring a candle and wear something comfortable for an optional walk outdoors. All are welcome to join our fourth annual Advent retreat. Registration is open.  

This free retreat is open to the public and is sponsored by both Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts, and by Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ. 
• Third Act Faith General Meeting, with special guest: Katharine Hayhoe
Tuesday, November 7
8:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Don’t miss this event with world renowned climate scientist and evangelical Christian Dr. Katharine Hayhoe as guest speaker! Please join me. Register at this link.
Tuesday, November 14
4:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Join Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) as we approach the pivotal gathering of world leaders at COP28, the United Nations’ international climate conference that will be held in Dubai from November 30 to December 1. Join the conversation to learn more about COP28, the role of voices of faith, and what you can do to make your voice heard on the world stage. You can register here.
Wednesday, November 15
1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern) • Online (free)
In the rolling catastrophe of the climate crisis, people of faith must face the ongoing ending of worlds and invent a spirituality of God-finding in the ruins. Chaplains are uniquely situated to help in this journey, as they spend much of their time at the end of one world or another, ministering in the ruins of people's lives. What can we learn from personal and communal grief work that can translate to ecological grief work? What can we learn about human tenacity? What can we find out about faith? 

This online seminar with Talitha Amadea Aho and J.D. Mechelke, co-hosted by The BTS Center and Chaplaincy Innovation Lab, will explore these and other questions about chaplaincy in a climate-changed world. Learn more and register here.
Charting the Path to Net Zero: A Panel Discussion with Four Houses of Worship
Wednesday, November 5
2:00 - 3:30 p.m.In person & online (free)
Massachusetts has established the goal to emit net zero carbon emissions by 2050, balancing our energy consumption with sources of renewable energy. This is an ambitious goal for the state – and for houses of worship. But several houses of worship are charting their path to this goal.

Join Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light virtually or in-person (Winchester Unitarian Society, 478 Main St., Winchester) as we delve into what it takes to pursue this goal with four houses of worship that have taken the first steps:
  • Winchester Unitarian Society, Chuck Khuen
  • First Congregational Church of Winchester, Bruce Alexander
  • West Concord Union Church, Dave Sedlock
  • Needham Congregational Church, Anne Hayek
Come and hear practical advice on technical issues, financial decisions, and building support in the community. Registration is open.

Has your congregation done some recent work on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and/or renewable energy? From now through December 15, your congregation can apply for Interfaith Power & Light’s annual Cool Congregations Challenge. Win recognition and a prize! Learn about Cool Congregations and learn about (and enter) the annual contest
November 3 - December 9 is sponsoring a month of action in the lead up to COP28 to demand a renewable, peaceful, and equitable world – for all of us. Learn more here and please consider organizing or joining an event. One local event is listed below.
Saturday, November 4
2:00 – 3:30 p.m. • Pulaski Park, Northampton
This free, arts-filled, and family-friendly event will include a sidewalk parade, information tables, and a performance and sing-along with the Climate Healing Chorus at 3:00 p.m. For more information, click here and enter the Zipcode 01060.
• Our friends at Standing Rock ask allies to submit a public comment by November 13 to the Army Corps of Engineers asking for a new Environmental Impact Statement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. Learn more and sign here.
The petition has now reached 11,000+ signatures! Share and sign the petition here. Word on the street is that the October 2nd rally at the State House was a tremendous success. Click here to watch some excellent videos, including remarks by Alex Chatfield, one of Creation Care Justice Network (CCJN)’s leaders in Diocese of MA. For more updates and next steps, click here.
An important report was released on rally day: Hanscom High Flyers: Private Jet Excess Doesn't Justify Airport Expansionco-authored by Chuck Collins (Project on Inequality, Institute for Policy Studies). This report reveals that at least half of the private luxury jets that use Hanscom travel to resorts and vacation hot spots – countering Massport's claim that they are used primarily for business and corporate purposes. 
Please sign this petition initiated by Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC) and supported by the Mass Power Forward Coalition. SCJC is on the frontline of a fight against a proposed pipeline expansion through environmental justice communities, near schools and homes. This petition asks Governor Healey to halt all new expansions of the gas system.
Thank you, friends.

(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.)
Oak in October. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Sign the Petition - Gov. Healey, Declare No Future for Gas!

Gas is dangerous, polluting and expensive. Using gas to heat our homes and buildings is bad for our health and our climate. Gas companies, like Eversource, are profiting off of gas infrastructure expansion at the expense of ratepayers statewide!...

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Interfaith Resources
Charting the Path to Net Zero: A Panel Discussion with Four Houses of Worship

Nov 5, 2pm - Online and in-person - Massachusetts has established the goal to emit net zero carbon emissions by 2050, balancing our energy consumption with sources of renewable energy. This is an ambitious goal for the state – and for houses of worship. But several houses of worship are charting their path to this goal. Join Massachusetts Interfaith Power & Light as we delve into what it takes to pursue this goal with four houses of worship that have taken the first steps:
Listen to this...
Climate Changed, the Podcast

The BTS Center's podcast, Climate Changed, offers intimate interviews and conversations around some of the most pressing questions about faith, life, and climate change. New episodes will premiere monthly.

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Explore this...
Take the Cool Congregations Challenge

The Cool Congregations Challenge is an annual national contest to recognize "Cool Congregations" that are becoming energy efficient and sustainable role models within their communities. The contest is brought to you by Interfaith Power & Light, ...

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