In this Issue
  • Events: Upcoming Activities and Past Highlights
  • Reflection: Reframing Lent
  • Faith and Creation:  Connecting Lent and Creation
  • Carbon Tracker: Updates & Spotlight—Reduce for Lent
  • Resources & Quick Links

THIS SATURDAY! MARCH 4, 9 A.M.–3 P.M., at Diocesan House, 1551 10th Ave E, Seattle

Anyone interested in the Creation Care Ministry is invited to gather at Diocesan House on Saturday, March 4, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., for Creation Care Ministry Retreat 2: Envisioning Our Journey for 2023 and Beyond. The Rev. Stephen Crippen will lead us in a thoughtful time to explore a model for how to overcome resistance to change and to develop strategies to move this vibrant ministry forward over the next year. This will be an interactive conversation. Lunch will be served. You do not need to have participated in the first retreat, last year, to attend this retreat.

Please sign up to attend by Wednesday, March 1, by emailing Kathy Minsch at: [email protected]
Creation Care Monthly Meeting
THIRD TUESDAYS, 6:308 P.M., via Zoom

Everyone is welcome to join the Saint Mark’s Creation Care Ministry meeting on the third Tuesday evening of every month from 6:30–8 p.m. via Zoom. Please note that the February meeting will be on FEBRUARY 28 instead of the 3rd Tuesday.

Notes from past meetings can be found here under "Ministry Meetings."
Upcoming Climate Conversations

MARCH 14, and the SECOND TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH, 6:30–7:30 P.M., online via Zoom

Join fellow parishioners to find out practical ways to reduce your impact on the environment and to share your own ideas. The monthly Climate Conversations enable participants to share insights on taking action to care for God’s creation and mitigate climate change. Our themes for the next several months are:

  • March 14 – Reuse: We’ll discuss the concept of reuse and provide practical suggestions on how to reuse items or to enable reuse of things we want or need in our everyday lives. 
  • April 11 – Recycle: We’ll look at items that cause consternation when people try to figure out whether they’re recyclable, with answers about what you can do and where to recycle them. 
  • May 9 – Family Fun to Save the Planet: We will discuss how families work together effectively to mitigate climate change and share examples of family activities to save the planet.

Join us for conversations on environmentally-friendly Zoom, now scheduled on the second Tuesday every month at 6:30 p.m. 

Past Climate Conversations

Recordings and copies of the presentations from past Climate Conversations sessions can be found here.  
Earth & Spirit:
Sunday Forum with Gordon Miller

SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 10:10 A.M., Bloedel Hall

In this Sunday morning Forum on 19 March, on the eve of the vernal equinox, Saint Mark’s parishioner and Emeritus Professor of Environmental Studies at Seattle University Gordon Miller will share ideas and images from two of his books: Wisdom of the Earth, which displays relatively unknown ecological riches of the Christian tradition, and The Metamorphosis of Plants, his photographic edition of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 18th-century botanical classic that encourages readers to look beyond the surface of the natural world to its nonmaterial depths.
Table in The Nave

LAST SUNDAY OF EVERY MONTH, after the morning services

The Creation Care Ministry hosts a table in the Nave on the last Sunday of each month to explain the Ministry to members of the congregation and to encourage them to participate in the Carbon Tracker as well as other Creation Care activities. Please encourage parishioners to stop by, and please volunteer to assist if you have time. Please contact Marjorie Ringness at [email protected] if you’d like to sign up to help host the table.
Earth Day & Cathedral Day


This year, Cathedral Day and Earth Day fall on the same day!

Watch for more news about activities on Cathedral Day at Saint Mark’s, including some fun with a Creation Care theme.

Lent, as the start of a journey towards the hope of Easter, can be a time of transformation. Often, though, we view it in negative terms purely as a time of fasting and abstinence. To make Lent more meaningful, perhaps we need to look at the season differently. And there is plenty of support for a reframing.

Instead of thinking of Lent in negative terms, Rev. David McMannes suggests, we should see Lent as a positive, strengthening, lovely spiritual experience where we can grow in the love of God and neighbor. Indeed, Lent is an invitation to pause, pray, fast and act as we return again and again to God with our whole hearts. The journey through Lent into Easter is a journey with Jesus where we are baptized into his life, self-giving, and death, as the Episcopal Church describes it, and then we rise in hope to life transformed.  
From a Creation Care perspective, we can also reconsider Lent. Instead of just thinking about what we have to give up, such as chocolate, we can pause and fast by making meaningful changes that go beyond what we usually do so that we can help the earth.

A "fast" for Creation Care becomes an opportunity to modify our actions to reduce environmental harm. You could consider an “energy fast” that means turning the thermostat down 2° lower than usual, wearing a sweater, turning the water heater down to 120° or taking a shorter shower. You could go on a “meat fast” by adding meatless Fridays to meatless Mondays. Or you could choose a “plastic fast” by avoiding single-use plastics and instead choosing recyclable alternatives such as re-useable bottles, metal utensils and cloth shopping bags.

Earth Ministry suggests a “fast from carbon” to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere. You can switch electrical devices off rather than putting them on standby, caulk and weather-strip around doors and windows to plug air leaks and only run your washing machine when you have a full load. Climate Stewards similarly suggests that we fast from consumerism, meat, indulgences such as chocolate or coffee, long showers, clothes dryers or even driving.

This may be a time, too, when we can reframe our thinking about talking with others about fasting. As Jesus instructs in Matthew 6, “when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites… anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret.” We definitely don’t want to be like the hypocrites who “love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.” And we should “beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.” What seems really important is how and why we are fasting, and how we talk with others while keeping our own actions to ourselves. Our Creation Care fasting is not for the purpose of own glory or to be seen by others. However, we can talk with others about opportunities to fast in a different way so that they can take similar actions.

By reframing Lent, then, we can turn the season into a time of fasting that transforms us on our journey to the joy of Easter and that leaves a positive legacy of caring for the earth along the way.

—by Richard Hartung  
Calendar of Daily Actions

Earth Ministry has a daily calendar here for a carbon fast for Lent. Although you’ll need to change the dates to make it specific to 2023, the concepts in the calendar provide ideas for meaningful actions for every day during Lent. 

Quiz: What’s the Best Way to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint?

Lists of ways to reduce your personal greenhouse gas emissions are plentiful online. Take this quiz to see how you stack up in your knowledge of reducing your carbon footprint.
The community at St Mark’s continues to have a positive impact on the environment. The Carbon Tracker provides a snapshot of what our community has done:
Data as of 18 February 2023
Carbon Tracker Insights

“Buying stuff often just seems like a part of our everyday lives. But it’s actually a big deal. Everything we buy uses resources like trees, minerals and water. Shopping smart and buying only what we really need helps use resources wisely, lower our carbon emissions and save money. For example, 90% of children’s toys are made of plastic that can’t be recycled, and toys made out of other materials will last longer and are more sustainable. Instead of stocking up on cheaply-made, trendy clothes, try slowing down and only buying things that you really like and will last you a while.”

This insight from the Carbon Tracker and plenty more like it will enable you to find out more about how you can save the planet and save money, by clicking here.
Cathedral Carbon Reduction Update

The Cathedral continues to undertake improvements related to creation care. Initiatives over past months ranged from straightforward changes such as putting LED lightbulbs in the lights in the parking lot and installing a much more efficient refrigerator that all staff can use to more complex tasks such as adjustment of thermostatic controls in the St Nicholas Building and replacing failed pneumatic actuators with more efficient electronic ones for air handling units for the nave. These are just a few examples of the Cathedral’s continuing commitment to reduce the facility’s carbon footprint.
Quick Links:
“At Saint Mark’s, the Creation Care Ministry was active in a wide variety of ways..."

In the Saint Mark's Cathedral 2022 Annual Report, the Creation Care Ministry report can be found on pages 6–7. Read it online here.
Saint Mark’s Cathedral acknowledges that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish People, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of all the Coast Salish tribes. [Learn more]