Creation Care Network E-news
May 2019
Message from Margaret...
Dear friends,

• The tomb is empty, and the Risen Christ is out and about, bringing forth abundance when we expected our nets to be empty, restoring health when we thought we would never get well, and assuring us of his abiding love.

How can you practice resurrection? How can you join the Risen Christ in bringing forth abundance, restoring health, and experiencing the love that will never let us go? Start by making your Creation Care pledge . If you haven’t yet done so, visit the website and consider what steps you’d like to take to develop a loving, life-giving, and liberating relationship with God’s Creation. Keeping your pledge to care for God’s Creation is a spiritual practice for Easter people.

Next, get on board with Sustain Island Home . Have you set up an account and created your energy profile? It’s simple to do, and actually fun. You’ll be joining other households in the diocese who are learning to make smarter energy choices – many of which save money, too. With the “carbon tracker” that Sustain Island Home provides, we can mark our progress and see how our personal life-style changes are contributing to the larger whole.

Resurrection is no solo affair! We rise together! To introduce Sustain Island Home to your congregation, speak to your rector and contact our Team Convener, the Rev. Eric Elley:
Phone: (860) 394-8728.
Preaching at West Parish, Andover.
Photo credit: Jill Sergeant
• During Lent I preached at West Parish (UCC) in Andover about “ The Prodigal Son and the Great Turning .” I spoke about our prodigal species, which in my view has “wandered far in a land that is waste,” devouring our inheritance and stealing a habitable world from our children. But perhaps humanity is beginning to understand what it would look like to “come to ourselves” – to wake up and change course, and head to the God of love who longs to welcome us home. As I said in my sermon, “I can think of no more beautiful way to spend one’s life than to take part in  what leaders like Joanna Macy and David C. Korten call the Great Turning , the epic transition from a deathly society to one that fosters life. It’s what philosopher  Thomas Berry calls the “Great Work” : our wholehearted effort to create a more just and sustainable society. And it’s what Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls the “supreme work” of Jesus Christ, who longs to reconcile us to God and to each other and to the whole of God’s Creation.”

• At First Congregational Church (Lebanon, CT) I preached on “‘ Lazarus, come out! ’ Christianity and the climate crisis .” I spoke about the power of Jesus weeping: “When we weep for the Earth, when we feel outrage and protest, God is grieving with us and through us. God is bearing what we cannot bear alone. The fact that Jesus wept suggests that the first step in healing, the first step in birthing new life, comes when we step  toward  the pain, not away from it, and when we do so in the presence of God. The God who enters into our suffering knows that new life begins only when we are willing to feel pain. And when we grieve in God’s presence, we move out of numbness, out of inertia, out of the denial that pretends that everything is fine…” 

But weeping is not the end of the story. “In the midst of weeping, there comes a voice. ‘Lazarus,’ Jesus cries. ‘Come out.’ It is a voice of power, a summons, a command, and it addresses us by name. You’ve heard that voice before, and I’ve heard it, too. Deep inside us is a presence, a voice, a Someone who calls us to quit hiding in a deathly place and to step out into fullness of life. We can go for a while, maybe a long while, not engaging with reality, not engaging with the climate crisis, and just laying low,
hiding out, ducking from everything that seems too hard to face, too hard to bear. The powers-that-be want to keep it that way. They murmur, ‘That’s OK. Get comfy in that little tomb. Make peace with it. Decorate it. Stay small.’ But then comes that insistent, disturbing voice, calling us by name.”  

Resurrection life begins today. God calls us out of our helplessness and fear, out of our hiding places. “I didn’t create you to live in a tomb.”

Check out this very interesting article: " Would Pope Francis Back the Green New Deal?

• Join People of Faith for a Green New Deal . Sign Green Faith’s statement of support for this bold and compelling proposal to transform the U.S. energy system in a fundamentally new direction, fueled by values of love, justice, and compassion. You can also check out a webinar recording to learn more about how you and your congregation can get involved.

Pioneer Valley Smart Growth Summit: Strategies for thriving in an era of climate crisis and inequality , Thursday, May 9, 8:00 a.m. – 12 noon, Gateway City Arts, Holyoke. The program is designed to get leaders across communities and issues challenging each other to solve some of the critical challenges facing the Pioneer Valley. Details and registration are here . (I can’t attend this – can you? It looks like a short, packed, and terrific program. If you go, please take notes and get in touch with me afterwards about what you learned!)

• If you are affiliated with Harvard University (alum, faculty, staff, student), please consider signing an open letter urging President Bakow to hold a Public Forum on the issue of divesting Harvard University’s nearly $40 billion endowment from the fossil fuel industry. 

• International Endangered Species Day is on Friday, May 17. Creation Justice Ministries has developed a  bulletin insert and toolkit  to help your faith community celebrate. On May 17 (and throughout the month of May), faith communities, conservation organizations, schools, zoos and aquariums, parks, wildlife refuges, botanic gardens, and other groups throughout the country will participate in events and activities to celebrate this national day of recognition.

• This will be a busy month for me, as I travel to Indiana to speak at a conference and travel to Washington, DC, to join National Religious Coalition on Creation Care for its annual prayer breakfast and days of lobbying. This year I helped to draft a Religious Declaration of Unprecedented Human Emergency , which members of NRCCC will bring to the White House and to members of Congress. (I’ll tell you how that goes next month.) This month you can catch me preaching in Haydenville and on Martha’s Vineyard (check my schedule for details), or you can join me at Christ Church Cathedral on Wednesday, May 29, from 6:30-8:00 p.m., for a conversation on “ Earth Care, Soul Care: Reflections from the Front Lines ,” one of a 4-part series on faith and caring for God’s Creation (details here ). 

• For my book suggestion this month, I recommend Bill McKibben’s just published Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? I’ll bring it with me to read on my airplane flights. 

• And yes, with a reminder from Sustain Island Home, I’ll be purchasing carbon offsets for those flights. TerraPass carbon offsets help us balance our carbon footprint by supporting clean energy projects – and they make a great gift, too.  

(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care
Interfaith Resources
Creation Justice Ministries'
Toolkit for Endangered Species Day
Endangered Species Day Tools - May 17, 2019

Toolkit for congregation green teams / creation justice teams to plan for Endangered Species Day. Download now.

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Opportunities for engagement
Pioneer Valley Smart Growth Summit:
Strategies for thriving in an era of
climate crisis and inequality
May 9, 2019. Gateway City Arts, Holyoke, MA.

Panels include "How can Pioneer Valley communities achieve low-carbon growth while creating a more equitable region?" and "Communities building resilience and busting silos: Northampton--designing with nature; Springfield--after the storm".

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All of our carbon offsets come from projects that are reducing CO2e today. Terrapass does not sell carbon offsets that depend on events far into the future, such as a forest growing to maturity or a wind farm that has not been built. Before we inc...

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MBJ photo credit: Tipper Gore, 2014
MBJ preaching photo: Jill Sergeant