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

NEW! The Anglican Communion has just released “Renewing the Life of the Earth: An Eco-Theology Resource
This new resource includes a set of video presentations on ecological theology and practice. The videos present a range of voices from across the Anglican Communion – from all kinds of people and from all kinds of backgrounds. It is designed for anyone who wants to start to engage with issues relating to ecological theology and practice, including theological colleges and church programs.

I contributed a 6-minute video about how the Church’s mission must change in a time of climate/ecological emergency. You can view it here.

You can download the complete eco-theology resource here – it includes links to all the videos and a study guide that makes it easy for both individuals and groups to explore and discuss the material. Please let me know what you think!

Sabbatical ahead (May-June-July)
I’ll be stepping away from active ministry on May 1 to take a 3-month leave for study, refreshment, and renewal. I hope to learn more about Earth-honoring forms of Christianity and to reflect more deeply on our contemporary social/ecological predicament. After the May 1 newsletter, look for your next newsletter on September 1. 

How about a Lenten fast for Earth?
Christians traditionally fast during the 40 days of Lent, abstaining from certain foods, drinks, or luxuries. This spiritual discipline is increasingly understood less as punishment or deprivation and more as a practice to help us grow in freedom to love God with our whole heart, mind, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Fasting becomes a way to set us free from habits of craving and self-centeredness that limit our capacity to love.

The Earth is groaning because high-consuming individuals and nations are over-extracting, depleting, and exhausting her resources. The Rev. Dr. Leah D. Shade invites us to see fasting as a form of resistance to mindless consumption, colonialist greed, and capitalist engorgement. In her blog post “Ash Wednesday and Lent: Fasting for Earth as Resistance to Oppression," she invites us to explore the lectionary texts for Lent through the “green lens” of eco-theology.

How will you fast for Earth this Lent? What practices would enlarge your sphere of concern to include the whole web of life? As we mark this season of repentance and renewal, please join me in Northampton on March 21 for a rally and march to protest Chase Bank’s funding of fossil fuels (details below). 
Back by popular demand! Last year’s inaugural series of meditations was so warmly received that the Creation Care Leadership Circle (a small group in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts that advises our Missioner for Creation Care) has prepared a fresh collection of quotes and images for Lent 2023. Sign up to receive an inspirational daily meditation (including a short quote and an image) during the Forty Days of Lent. Please join us as we contemplate the gift of the natural world and our calling to reconcile humanity with the rest of God’s creation. You can sign up here.
Wednesday, March 8 & 22 (every other Wednesday, ongoing)
4:30 – 4:50 p.m. • 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. Visit here to register.
Led by the Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Saturday, March 18
9:30 a.m. – 12 Noon • Online (free)
Lent invites us to look deeply into our lives and into the society in which we participate. How is God stretching us to live at our best? How is God calling us to wake up from our dull habits of thought and behavior and to see clearly where love urges us to change? Many people dread (and avoid) the traditional Lenten practices of self-examination and repentance because we fear that these practices will drag us into harsh self-criticism and self-attack. This retreat will invite us to question our kneejerk self-judgment and to open instead to the healing judgment of a loving God who sees our preciousness and seeks our wholeness.

Through silence, guided meditation, personal reflection, and small group sharing we aim to create a space in which we can grow in self-awareness, self-acceptance, and compassion for ourselves, each other, and our wounded, magnificent world.
Please bring a candle, Bible, paper/pen for journaling, art supplies (if you have some), and comfortable clothes for an optional walk outside. To register, visit here.
This retreat is sponsored by both Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts and by Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ.
Thursday, March 23
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online ($40 retreat registration; $60 includes a copy of Refugia Faith)
Hosted by The BTS Center, this retreat is intended specifically for pastors and spiritual leaders, especially those who have read the book Refugia Faith, by Debra Rienstra. Join Rev. Doug Clark and Rev. Eileen Gebbie for this time of reflection and renewal, which will include large-group connection, contemplation, and small-group discussion focused on creating ties of affection to place and surfacing diverse refugia stories from scripture. For more information and to register, visit here.

Even if you can’t attend this retreat, I encourage you to read Refugia Faith. A discussion guide is available on The BTS Center website, so you might like to form a book group. For additional resources, I also encourage you to check out Debra Rienstra’s website, podcast, and newsletter.  
Thursday, April 20
7:30 – 8:30 a.m. (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. This upcoming event will focus on the element of water. For more information and to register, visit here.
Wednesday, March 1
7:00 p.m. • Online (free)
Join this free screening of an acclaimed documentary that follows the life of the inspiring Anita Chitaya. The documentary has received numerous film festival awards and accolades. An action guide and a Bible study are available to make the most of the experience. The screening is cohosted by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Green Chalice Ministries, the Environmental Justice Ministries of the United Church of Christ, and Blessed Tomorrow. Learn more and register here.

This Lent, why not celebrate creation with this FREE Eco Lent resource for kids? “What a Wonderful World” offers a weekly opportunity for all ages to focus on one of six key themes that make up our world. For information and to download your free copy, click here.
Thursday, March 23
7:30 – 9:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
How can those engaged in ministries of Creation Care find grounding and confidence from the first three chapters of Genesis? What does Genesis teach about our human relationship to the rest of creation? In this webinar, we will explore several of the basic themes and challenges from the creation stories in Genesis, chapters 1-3, such as: creation and Sabbath; bearing the image of God; dominion and stewardship; the Tree of Knowledge. The course instructor will be the Rev. Jerry Cappel, an Episcopal priest currently serving as Director of the Center for Deep Green Faith. For more information and to register, visit here.

Mondays, March 13, 20, 27, April 3 • Online (£100/£120)
From the U.K., this short course is sponsored by Wesley House Cambridge, a community of prayer and study at Cambridge University for students and scholars in the Wesleyan tradition. The course is for lay and ordained preachers and worship leaders who wish to develop greater confidence when preaching about the climate crisis. The course is open to anyone of any denomination and none. For more information and to register, visit here. Please note the time zone change when you sign up!
March 16-18 • Online
This hybrid conference, held at Columbia Seminary (Decatur, GA) and online, brings together well-known theologians, scientists, activists, and artists to reflect on ways for the church to move forward during a time of precipitous climate change, catastrophic loss of biodiversity, and rapid proliferation of pollutants, especially as the costs of such changes are distributed inequitably around the world. For more information and to register, visit here.

• Environmental Sundays at Saints James & Andrews
Sunday, March 19
12 Noon • Sts James & Andrew Episcopal Church, Greenfield (free)
The Green Team at Saints James and Andrew (8 Church St., Greenfield) has organized special creation care events every third Sunday of the month. They welcome participation from beyond the parish. Ollie Mae Perrault and Sasha Kracauer from Youth Climate Action Now will talk about the organization and its mission. Ollie Perrault was recognized by the Boston Celtics as a Hero Among Us on November 30, 2022. Sasha Kracauer participates in the Eco Leaders program at Northfield Mount Hermon. Bring a brown bag lunch. Snacks will be available. Questions? Contact Ella Ingraham (
An Eight Week Online Course
April 20 - June 15 • Online ($125, scholarships available)
In this course taught by Kimberly Knight and offered by The BTS Center, participants will engage their minds, bodies, and spirits in explorations of ideas and practices aligned with EcoSpirituality. The course will include live sessions, asynchronous learning, and an optional retreat day. For more information and to register, visit here.

Thursday, April 20
10:00 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Sponsored by the Church of England Environment Programme, this webinar will feature an international panel of speakers who will talk about why we need to preach on Creation care and give ideas on how to do it.
  • ‘Why we need to preach on Creation care’: Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas from the Episcopal Church (USA)
  • Preaching on creation in my context: speakers from Polynesia, Brazil, and Kenya
  • Creation care preaching in a parish context: Rev. Dr. Dave Bookless (UK)
  • Introducing the ‘Preaching for God’s World’ website: Rev. Elizabeth Bussmann (Europe)

To register, visit here.
Climate Stewards USA will help us mark a meaningful Lent! Beginning February 22nd, we’re fasting to draw near to God and deepen our care for the climate. Each week will feature a different theme designed to help us take climate action. As a participant in the Carbon Fast for Lent, we will receive a weekly email containing the fasting challenge and a prayer. Please join me and sign up here.

Carbon Stewards USA is an excellent resource for measuring your carbon footprint and learning how to reduce it. What’s more, this organization, driven by its Christian mission, offers trusted, verifiable offsets to compensate for your unavoidable carbon emissions. For example, if you’re planning an airplane flight, you can enter your departure and arrival cities and learn the cost in carbon emissions, which you then offset by donating to Climate Stewards. Their community projects are based in the Global South and are guaranteed not only to cut carbon but also to bring tangible benefits to people and places.    

Eco-friendly palms for Palm Sunday
Check out to order palms that are sustainably harvested and fair traded.

Reconsider Easter lilies
Easter lily bulbs grown in California (which supplies almost 100% of U.S. sales) may be drenched in pesticides that pose a threat to land and farmers alike, polluting rivers and harming salmon. Unless you can find locally sourced organic lilies, consider switching to locally sourced daffodils, which don’t require as many pesticides.
Tuesday, March 21
4:30-5:45 p.m. • Pulaski Park, Northampton
Please join me in downtown Northampton as we gather for a rally at Pulaski Park, march down Main Street, and assemble at the intersection beside the new branch of Chase Bank. Chase is the biggest funder of fossil fuels, and no one should bank at Chase. This event is being organized by a coalition of local climate activists, youth, and faith leaders, and is part of the National Day of Action to Stop Dirty Banks, sponsored by Third Act.

Did you know that your bank may well be the largest part of your carbon footprint? We encourage everyone to move their money (including credit cards) out of Chase Bank, as well as Bank of America, TD Bank, and other big banks that fund climate chaos. Please see our toolkit for how to move your money and change your credit card. This is our opportunity to tell banks: “Cut it out on climate, or we will cut up our cards!”

Calling all clergy! Please wear clergy collar and stole. Calling all congregations! Please bring church banners, children and youth, energy, and your willingness to sing! We will recognize faith communities at the rally. 

Spread the word! Invite neighbors and friends. Please let us know that you are coming by filling out this formIf you can’t come this time but would like to stay informed about the campaign, please make a note about that when you fill out the form. While you’re at it, please also sign the Banking on Our Future Pledge. Click here to download a flyer to share on social media or to post on your church’s bulletin board. Thank you! I hope to see you on March 21!
Gas is the Past – Action alert!
Our friends at Mass Power Forward urge us to call upon Governor Healey to declare "no future for gas" by Earth Day. Our new Governor, Maura Healey, has made climate one of her main goals. That's why we are asking her to declare, by Earth Day, that there is no future for gas in Massachusetts. We urge Governor Healey to halt new gas system expansions until the state has a concrete plan for a just transition to a clean — and green — energy future. Sign the petition here.
The Earth Act to Stop Climate Pollution by 2030 (also referred to as The Earth Bill) is slated to be introduced in this Congress. The bill aims to get us on track to mitigate the impacts of climate change. The bill would care for God’s creation by changing the ways we produce electricity, increase the market for zero-emission vehicles, and set new standards for regenerative agriculture production. Each section of the Earth Bill will strengthen our ability to care for God’s creation. Learn more and take action here.  
Looking ahead...
• Earth Day is Saturday, April 22
How will we celebrate Earth Day 2023? I invite congregations across Massachusetts to gather outdoors in a place that needs healing – maybe a city park, riverbank, or stretch of woods. The 90-minute, family-friendly event could include outdoor cleanup and prayer, followed by refreshments. In our April 1 newsletter we will provide a flexible, ecumenical liturgy that can be adapted to your setting. If you’d like to receive it before then, please drop me a note (     
Faith Climate Action Week is April 14-23
Faith Climate Action Week (April 14-23) is Interfaith Power & Light’s annual program of climate-themed worship services and sermons that spans ten days of activities around Earth Day. This year's theme is Living the Golden Rule: Just Transition to a Clean Energy Economy.  
Offerings include: 
  • online worship resources
  • opportunity to screen a series of short films for your congregation
  • postcard campaign and online advocacy petition calling upon Toyota and other car makers to support clean cars
  • find or add your events to IPL's online national calendar. 
Rooted in Soil and Grounded in Faith: Resources for Sustained Creation Care 
A weekend retreat and workshop 
Friday, May 5 – Sunday, May 7
Nazareth Retreat Center, Nazareth, KY • $50 (includes meals, scholarships available) 
Hosted by Provinces IV and V Creation Care Networks, this weekend retreat will engage those involved in ministries of Creation care in deeper theological study, sharing of resources and ideas, opportunity for fellowship, nature contemplation, and spiritual renewal. The weekend event will include presentations, conversations, nature walks, and prayer on the beautiful grounds of the Sisters of Nazareth convent in Nazareth, KY. All those interested in Creation care (from any diocese) are invited. Registration deadline is April 14. For more information and to register, visit 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.)
Turkey tracks. Photo: Robert A. Jonas
Opportunities for engagement
Don't Bank at Chase (Northampton, MA) · Third Act...

All are invited to join us. We'll start in Pulaski Park in Northampton and then march to the soon-to-open Chase Bank at Main and King Streets, passing the TD Bank and Bank of America.

Read more
Interfaith Resources
Online conference - March 16-18

Seeking to shape such conversations and stimulate a church powered by God to pursue tikkun olam, the repair of the world, Columbia Theological Seminary is delighted to host Just Creation: Shalom for our Common Home. This conference brings together internationally known theologians, scientists, activists, and artists to fund conversations and feed conviction, to provide sustenance for body and soul and offer wisdom for mind and will, to hear honest assessments and shape hope-filled actions.

Read this...
Explore this...
Climate Action Now Western Mass

Building the local climate protection movement to fight the global crisis

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Join our diocesan Creation Care Facebook group!
If you've enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to forward to one or two friends you think may be interested.
MBJ photo: Tipper Gore, 2014