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

• The struggle for a just, sustainable world post-pandemic is already underway. With a new President who grasps the urgency of the climate crisis, the need to put millions of people to work in good green jobs, and the moral obligation to address a legacy of racial injustice, now is a good time for people of faith to push for bold, comprehensive solutions.

Please join me in signing a statement from MomentUs, a national campaign directed toward policymakers, leaders of all types, and the public that calls for climate solutions at all levels of governance. It was created by ecoAmerica and leaders and organizations from health, faith, and local communities to engage a broader diversity of Americans, well beyond the traditional climate movement, in climate action and advocacy.

Learn more and sign the statement as an individual or an organization by clicking here. Please encourage friends, family, and fellow church-members to sign on, too.

• Looking for actions you can take from home to address climate change here in Massachusetts? Here are 3 suggestions (with thanks to Rev. Betsy Sowers):

1) Climate bill resubmitted. All hands on deck to get it passed!
Please contact your legislators and urge them to support the Next-Gen Roadmap bill immediately, and to consider negotiations to weaken the bill off-limits. Find your legislators at Short on time? Sign your name to this petition from Mothers Out Front! (If you want more information, read the op-ed in CommonWealth Magazine by Better Future Project’s ED, Craig Altemose, debunking Governor Baker’s 6 reasons for a climate veto).

2) Protect Springfield from a dirty biomass plant.
The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is moving forward with rule changes that would allow inefficient biomass plants to qualify for renewable energy credits under the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. If approved, these changes would make the proposed Palmer plant eligible for $13-$15 million a year in clean energy subsidies paid for by Massachusetts ratepayers. (WBUR’s Miriam Wasser provides background and context.) The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition and other environmental justice allies are calling upon the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) to hold a public hearing on these changes and seek more input from Springfield residents who would be most harmed by the proposed biomass plant. Please contact TUE Chairs Sen. Mike Barrett and Rep. Tom Golden by phone, email, or both. Thank them for their hard work on the climate bill, tell them you oppose the proposed DOER biomass rule changes because of their impacts on environmental justice, and ask them to hold hearings on the proposed regulations as soon as possible. (Thanks to Mass. Interfaith Power and Light)

3) Stop the Longmeadow-Springfield pipeline.
Eversource has an opportunity to transition away from fossil fuels and move toward energy conservation and non-combustible clean energy sources, goals proclaimed publicly in the company’s public document, “Commitment to Clean Energy & Carbon Neutrality” by 2030. That transition specifically precludes investment in new gas infrastructure like the Longmeadow-Springfield project. Sign the petition from Mass. Sierra Club, asking Eversource to abide by their commitments and not to build a pipeline from Longmeadow to Springfield.

• Please join Creation Justice Ministries to ask the Biden Administration to reinstate the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, which is located 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod and is the U.S. Atlantic’s only marine national monument.
Screenshot of the panel discussion organized by leaders of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
• A few weeks ago, I participated in a panel discussion, organized by leaders in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, about ecumenical environmental action. Thanks to being held online, the conversation with co-panelists Shantha Ready Alonso, Jim Antal, and Leah Schade reached viewers as far away as Greece, Australia, and Ukraine. (The video is recorded here.) The first question that I was asked was “What can the global pandemic teach us about the climate crisis? At the end of my answer, I commented: “I wonder what it would it look like if we emerged from this pandemic with a fierce new commitment to take care of each other. I wonder what it would it look like if we absorbed the lessons of pandemic and decided to fight for a world in which everyone can thrive.”

• I commend to you the recording of an outstanding webinar, also convened by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, on COVID-19 and Climate Change. It featured four speakers: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Bill McKibben, Jeffrey Sachs, and Mary Evelyn Tucker – any one of whom is worth listening to. Put all four together and you have a memorable 90 minutes of substantive discussion and insight.
Photo: Robert A. Jonas
• In late January, many of us in the Diocese of Western Mass. were blessed to join the second annual Bending Toward Justice conference, featuring Rev. Stephanie Spellers (Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Stewardship of Creation) as our stellar keynote speaker. At the breakout group for Creation care, we discussed the many opportunities to PRAY, LEARN, ACT, and ADVOCATE for the wellbeing of Earth and all its communities. We have just updated the diocesan website, so please take a look as you consider your own next steps in protecting the world that God entrusted to our care.

To find these resources, visit the website for Episcopal Diocese of WMA, click on the dropdown menu “For Congregations,” click on “Creation Care,” and there you are. Click on the boxes for Pray, Learn, Act, and Advocate and dive in. If you have resources and opportunities you’d like suggest, please drop me a note:
Good News Gardens just held its second monthly webinar (recording available here), and excitement continues to grow as we launch this new grassroots effort in both dioceses of Massachusetts. To sign up to learn more about Good News Gardens, please fill out this form. Spring is coming! Let’s get ready to pray, plant, and proclaim. Questions? Send an email to
• Last call to join me on retreat this Friday!

with Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Friday, February 5, 2021
10:00am - 3:00pm (ET) • via Zoom
$25 Program Fee
Scholarships are available by request. Contact Program Director, Rev. Nicole Diroff at

The long, dark days of winter invite us to reflect deeply on our sources of courage and hope. In the face of converging social and ecological crises, what spiritual practices and perspectives will sustain us? As we struggle to protect the web of life and to create a more just society, where do we turn for meaning and strength? This one-day retreat, held online, will include a mix of presentations, small group conversations, individual reflection, and free time for contemplative wandering and prayer. Together we will explore a framework for the heart to help us become compassionate, prophetic leaders who can take up the mantle of moral leadership that this decisive moment in history requires.

For complete information, including what to bring to the retreat, visit here. To register, visit here.

• When conversations about climate change are so politically divisive, how do we connect with people with whom we disagree? The Episcopal Church has just launched a new initiative, From Many, One: Conversations Across Difference. This initiative encourages all of us to engage in one-on-one listening and sharing, with a focus on four questions: What do you love? What have you lost? Where does it hurt? What do you dream? For more information and to stay connected, visit here.
• The 2021 Baldwin Lecture from the UMass History Department, co-presented with the W.E.B. Du Bois Dept of Afro-American Studies

PLANET ON A PRECIPICE: Young People Fighting for Climate Justice
with Vanessa Nakate and Varshini Prakash
Monday, February 1
12 Noon (ET) • via Zoom & Facebook
“Young people have transformed the climate and environmental movement. Youth of color and youth from the Global South have been especially central in this process. Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate and executive director of the Sunrise Movement Varshini Prakash ‘15 will reflect on their personal experiences in the movement and share their organizing strategy, insights, and visions for the world they’re fighting to win.”

For information, visit here. To participate live, register here. Live on Facebook, go here.

Climate Conversations
with Rev. Lennox Yearwood and Dr. Katharine Hayhoe
Thursday, February 4
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm (ET) • via Zoom
Join Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, Hartford Seminary, & CT Interfaith Power & Light for an in-depth conversation with Rev. Lennox Yearwood, founder of Hip Hop Caucus, and Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a leading climate scientist, on climate change. Moderated by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman. This free event should be good – and both speakers contributed to Rooted & Rising. Learn more and register here.

Evangelical Christianity and the Climate Crisis
Wednesday, February 10
1:00 p.m. (ET) • via Zoom
With its size and its collective power, evangelical Christianity has had a significant presence in the political, cultural, and religious landscape of the United States. As such, it becomes critically important to understand evangelical Christianity today in relationship to the climate crisis. How do evangelical Christians regard the climate crisis? What are the political implications of this?” Panelists include:
  • Dr. Robin Veldman, author of The Gospel of Climate Skepticism: Why Evangelical Christians Oppose Action on Climate Change
  • Kyle Meyaard-Schaap, National Organizer and Spokesperson for Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
The webinar is co-hosted by the Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt of the UCC Environmental Justice Ministry and the Rev. Michael Malcom of Alabama Interfaith Power & Light and the People's Justice Council. To register, visit here.
Unleashing What You Already Love for a Hurting Planet
A Workshop with Peterson Toscano
Thursday, February 11
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (ET) • via Zoom
$20 Registration Fee
Scholarships are available by request. Contact Program Director, Rev. Nicole Diroff at

Peterson Toscano – host of Citizens Climate Radio and one of the contributors to Rooted and Rising – has created this interactive on-line workshop to help people better understand their role on our changing planet, while also affirming the passions, interests, and callings they hold dear. To learn more and to register, visit here.

Linking Progress on Racial and Climate Justice
Thursday, February 11
2:00 - 3:00 p.m. (EST) • via Zoom
“The Environmental Justice movement is said to have begun in 1982 when African-American communities in NC protested the state's decision to move truckloads of toxic PCB-laden soil to their neighborhoods. Environmental and climate justice continue to be an issue as more communities of color realize the disproportionate climate and pollution impacts that they suffer. Join our conversation to hear more about the climate justice movement, the successes and challenges of this important work, and how it can be applied in other communities.”
This 'Path to Positive' episode of Let's Talk Climate features Deeohn Ferris, President, Institute for Sustainable Communities. To register, visit here.
Preaching Our Way to Climate Resilience
Thursday, February 18
6:00-7:00 p.m. (ET) • via Zoom
As Lent begins, Creation Justice Ministries offers ResiLENT Worship, a virtual workshop to learn about building climate resilience into your worship. Hear three mini-sermons on climate resilience, listen to worship music for the era of climate change, and gain tools for incorporating climate-resilient worship in your community.
Speakers include:
Rev. Melanie Mullen, Director of Reconciliation, Justice and Creation Care, The Episcopal Church
Bishop Staccato Powell, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
To learn more and to register, visit here.

• Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) Northeast Virtual Regional Conference
Saturday, February 20,12:30-5:30 pm; Sunday, February 21, 1-3:30 pm (ET)
What can we do differently to ensure effective legislation in 2021? How does the new political context affect our work? Get tips from atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe about talking climate in our polarized environment. Gain new skills for the 2021 challenge. To learn more and to register, visit here.

• Looking ahead, please join me as I co-lead a three-part series for all preachers, lay and ordained, offered through Bexley Seabury Seminary.
Preaching Hope in a Time of Climate Crisis
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas & the Rev. Stephanie Johnson
Live sessions on Thursdays,
March 3, 10 & 17
7:00 - 8:30 pm (ET)
Climate change is called the moral challenge of our time, yet many preachers avoid discussing it. Looking ahead to Easter and Pentecost, we will discuss the spiritual/moral imperative to preach about climate change, identify obstacles to climate preaching, and receive theological and homiletic resources. Resources will be available online for asynchronous interaction. Synchronous classes will include a mix of presentations, small group conversation, and whole group discussion. For information, visit here. To register, click here.

• You may be glad to hear that Bexley Seabury has launched Pathways for Baptismal Living, which invites all of God's people to explore our relationship with God as we hone skills and knowledge to respond to God's call. Click here for a flier on how this program will help to equip all the baptized. 
Sacred People, Sacred Earth
Thursday, March 11 • Anytime!
Led by GreenFaith, faith groups from around the world announced a global day of action, Sacred People, Sacred Earth, and released a set of 10 demands. We hope that this day of action, on March 11, 2021, will be the biggest and boldest the faith community has ever seen on climate justice.

Please read and sign the statement – available in 14 languages – and share it with friends and family. You will receive updates and get resources and guides about how to plan an action in your community. On March 11, religious and spiritual communities around the world will get together to ring bells, sound gongs and chimes, blow the shofar or conch, or sound a special call to prayer - whatever sacred sound they make, calling out for climate justice and this bold set of demands. To quote Greenfaith: “Without powerful moral pressure and action behind a bold, just, audacious vision, the world doesn’t have a prayer of meeting the threats posed by the climate emergency. We want you on our team as we build that pressure, together.”

Earth Day is April 22. This means that Earth Sunday can be celebrated on either April 18 or April 25. Interfaith Power & Light is hosting Faith Climate Action Week (April 16-25), focused on Sacred Ground: Cultivating Connections Between Faith, Food, and Climate. Click here to reserve a copy of your 2021 Faith Climate Action Week kit. The kit will include a Sacred Ground guide with information on the way in which we grow our food can be part of the climate solution, and also address injustice. In the kit there are faith-based discussion materials, suggested short films, a Garden Blessing ceremony, and suggestions and resources for how to get engaged in supporting food justice and healthy soil.

• I encourage everyone to read a moving essay about climate grief and resilience written by my friend and colleague, Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman – another contributor to Rooted & Rising – that was published in the New York Times, “Teaching My Child to Love a Dying World.” She writes: “My toddler son and I spoke about the trees as people — and indeed, for the first month of quarantine, they were the only people besides us he got to see up close.” How do you share your love of the natural world with the children in your life? How do you work with your grief?

• Take 6 minutes to be inspired! “Caretakers of Life (Part 3): Who You Are” brings a message from Peruvian ceremonial leader, Arkan Lushwala. He suggests that as we face ecological crisis, the first question is not “What can I do?” but rather “Who can I be?” What we can do is a consequence of who we are. The path to effective action begins with our consciousness.

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Photo credit: Robert A. Jonas.
Opportunities for engagement
Good News Gardens Book Group
This is God's Table - Finding Church Beyond the Walls
Feb 11 and Feb 25

As we welcome the promises of a new year, please join friends from around Western Massachusetts for a virtual discussion of This is God’s Table – Finding Church Beyond the Walls. In this compelling and readable new book, local writer and pastor Anna Woofenden, a prophetic voice in the faith and food movement, writes about her experience founding and nurturing the Garden Church in San Pedro, California.

As author Sara Miles (author, and founder/director of The Food Pantry) says in the book’s Foreword, “Woofenden shares the story of what happened when she gardened, worshiped, and ate with anyone who would join her. As churches across the western world wither, what would it take to find a raw, honest, gritty way of doing church – one rooted in place, nurtured by grace, and grounded in God’s expansive love? What would it take to carry the liturgy outside the gates? What if we were to discover that in feeding others, we are fed? This is God’s table. Come and eat.

Register by sending an email to Maggie Sweeney:
Interfaith Resources
Free Webinar
February 4, 7:00pm - 8:30pm

Join us for an in-depth conversation on climate change with Rev. Lennox Yearwood, founder of the Hip Hop Caucus, and Dr. Katharine Hayhoe.
About this Event
Join the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, the Hartford Seminary, and CT Interfaith Power & Light for an in-depth conversation with national leaders, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, founder of Hip Hop Caucus, and Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a leading climate scientist, on climate change, where we are, where we are going, and what we can do about it.
Moderated by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El in Stamford
Free, but donations deeply appreciated. Once you register, you will be sent the webinar link.
Sponsored by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network and the Hartford Seminary.

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MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014