Praying and Preaching about the Environment

The church’s calendar offes a rich variety of opportunities to bring our concern to care for Creation into worship. Covenant services, Rogation Sundays, Lent, Environment Day (around 5th June), Harvest Festival and One World Week are all appropriate occasions. More recently the European Christian Environmental Network — and as of 2008 Churches Together in Britain and Ireland — have promoted ‘Creation Time’ (1 September to 4 October) – as a special season to focus on Creation. 

 

Where can we find prayers and services to use in our churches? Here are some top tips:

Probably the most comprehensive set of worship resources on Care for Creation currently available are those put together by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland as part of the Creation Time initiative.

Each year since 2008, CTBI has produced a themed collection of materials. 2008’s theme was Hope for Creation; 2009’s was Creation in Crisis; 2010’s was Creation Flourishing; and 2011’s was Our Daily Bread — Food in God’s Creation. For each year’s theme, there are prayers, sermon notes, services, and study guides. We’d also particularly commend the collection of “Additional Resources,” a 100-page booklet filled with worship materials compiled over the years.

CTBI also hosts the materials for a Climate Change Day of Prayer. These include a guide to running a day of prayer on climate change, as well as a compilation of 82 prayers and readings that you might like to use for worship or reflection.

Another online resource is Celebrating Creation:Ideas and Resources for Worship from Eco-Congregation, the ecumenical programme that helps churches to engage with Care for Creation in all aspects of church life.

Celebrating Creation includes an opening on the theme “What does worship have to do with the environment,” an anthology of prayers, stories and reflections grouped by topic, and a very helpful list of new hymns, old hymns, and anthems that can be used in an environmentally-themed service.

Module 3 of Eco-Congregation — “Creation and Christianity” — looks at some theological underpinnings for environmental concern, while Module 6 — “Exploring God’s Green Word” — offers material for House Groups and two sets of five multi-part Bible studies. All modules can be downloaded from the Ecocongregation website.

Christian conservation organisation A Rocha has done a great deal to promote Environment Sunday (held on the Sunday closest to 5 June, which in 2014 is 8 June). While they haven’t been doing packs for Environment Sunday in recent year,s their 2008 resource is excellent and still helpful. Based on Dave Bookless’ Planetwise, it  includes service materials, bible studies relating to Planetwise, recorded talks by climate experts, sermon notes, short video clips, powerpoints, and material for children and youth. It costs £10 and can be ordered from the A Rocha website’s Environment Resource Packs page. Their 2007 resource, “The Heat is On: Climate Change and Christian Faith” is also very relevant. It contains worship material, sermon notes and powerpoint illustrations, as well as scientific background information and materials for use with children. It is no longer available for order, but can be borrowed from CCOW. The 2005 and earlier packs can be downloaded directly from the website, with a suggested donation of £5.

Christian Ecology Link offers a rich variety of resources for worship and study, including liturgies, prayers, sermon notes and a daily prayer guide. It also has a various useful page with links to worship resources, which refers you to material from many Christian environmental and development organisations.

The European Christian Environmental Network has liturgical material, including the new booklet “A Time for God’s Creation,”  on its website as part of its invitation to all the churches in Europe to celebrate “creation time” in the Church calendar each year, from 1 September to the second Sunday in October.

Operation Noah, the CTBI climate campaign, has an “inspiration” section with theological reflections on climate issues.

You can find more materials  here in the  “CCOW Guide to Time for Creation Resources 2013″