An annotated guide to resources for churches wishing to celebrate Time for Creation (1 September to 4 October). Download it here
Pope Francis’ encyclical calls us to meditation upon creation’s astonishing beauty and the way in which it reflects God. To assist us in doing this – whether in services or in our own times of prayer – Elizabeth has put together a powerpoint that combines the words of St Francis’ beautiful Canticle of the Creatures – from which the encyclical derives its title – with images. You can download it below. It is a large file (5.5 MB). If you would like it split into smaller files, email us.
A beautiful setting of words from prayers by Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu – appropriate for Earth Day, Earth Sunday or other times when you want to emphasise care for creation.
/From 1st – 12th December 2014 representatives of 195 countries gathered in Lima, Peru for the 20th round of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. Lima was a crucial stepping-stone on the road to the December 2015 Paris conference, which aimed to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.
As the delegates gathered, people around the world held events asking world leaders to find the courage and generosity that is needed to have successful negotiations. Organized by Our Voices, Light for Lima was one of these – a global call to prayer, sent to people of all beliefs.
As Christians, we yearned – and still yearn – to bring our concerns in this area before God, who created and sustains the world. To help us offer our prayers and in thanksgiving for the faith and hope we have in Christ, CCOW has prepared a powerpoint reflection, Advent Light, for Lima which draws together the themes of Advent, light, darkness, and climate change. We hope you find it helpful.
Download it here: Advent Light/”Light for Lima”
The Reverend Dennis Milanzi is Director of the Kachere Development Programme, the official Social Development arm of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia. In this piece, Father Dennis begins by establishing the biblical grounds for his concern for the environment:
The environment is the first thing that God created in the creation story. And caring for the environment is the core responsibility given to humanity. According to Genesis (1:28, 2:15), Adam and Eve were given two responsibilities: to develop well and be productive themselves, and to manage the world so that it also would develop well and be productive.
Thus, from the very beginning humanity was related to the environment– an environment that God had formed in an act of creativity and innovation and wanted to become productive for the good of its inhabitants, an environment which could support a sustainable livelihood for Adam and Eve. And in order for creation to be productive and provide for human needs, there was need to maintain its goodness, as God said that ‘It was good’.”
He then goes on to explore the particular natural resource challenges that his region faces, the way that the Kachere Development Programme is helping communities to respond, his reasons for hope, and what he’d like to see Christians around the world doing to “reverse ‘the groaning of creation’ caused by lack of good stewardship of God’s good creation.”
Download the pdf here: Dennis Milanzi Why I care about the environment.
Photograph: The Reverend Dennis Milanzi with children in Chipungo, Eastern Zambia, ©Elizabeth Perry
“Today, we are in the midst of major biodiversity loss and extinction. There is an accelerating pace of deforestation worldwide. Exposed hillsides are vulnerable to subsidence and in tropical areas, the soils are quickly degraded. In many places, denuded scrub and landslips have replaced fertile forests. In addition, the impact of climate change is catapulting every creature on Earth into an unknown and unpredictable future. Is there any hope?”
This is the question posed by theologian Margot Hodson in her reflection “Why I care about the environment” (download here). In response to the question, Margot introduces the concept of “robust hope,” a hope that grows from suffering and perseverance, that can endure, and that “brings the ultimate hope of restored harmony of creation into the present.” Read the reflection to find out more …
This piece is the first in a pilot project. CCOW is commissioning short essays entitled ‘Why I care about….’ in which Christian experts write about what motivates them to care about their particular area of concern, and how their Christian faith informs that passion. We hope that these deliberately short essays will be used for personal reflection, small group discussion, reproduced in church magazines and used in church services. Please feel free to share them with your friends, colleagues and congregations. If you want to reprint this reflection and would find a Word version helpful, please email us.
STATEMENT FOR GENERAL SYNOD
A Rocha UK, Christian Aid, Christian Concern for One World, Christian Ecology Link, Climate Stewards, CTBI Environmental Issues Network, the John Ray Initaitive, Operation Noah, Progressio, the Quakers, the Speak Network and Tearfund are joining together to welcome the debate on climate change and the environment taking place at General Synod on February 12th.
We recognise the crucial importance of this issue to all life on earth, both human and non-human, and the imperative for the Church to be acting on its Biblical mandate to care for God’s world. As England’s national church, the Church of England occupies a unique position of authority and visibility and is thus ideally placed to take a lead on these issues.
Together, we encourage General Synod to address this debate with the utmost seriousness and support the proposed motion, and we commit ourselves to supporting the Church of England and relevant bodies in their future endeavours.
The motion, proposed by Southwark Diocesan Synod, is:
‘That this Synod:
(a) recognising the damage being done to the planet through the burning of fossil fuels;
(b) aware of the huge reserves held by gas, oil and coal extraction industries;
(c) committing itself to taking seriously our Christian responsibility to care for the planet (“the earth is the Lord’s”);
(d) acknowledging the financial responsibilities of the Church’s national Investing bodies; and
(e) noting that a review of recommended ethical investment policy with regard to climate change has been begun by the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group (‘EIAG’):
(i) call upon the national investing bodies to ensure that their investment policy (including the option of disinvestment) is aligned with the theological, moral and social priorities of the Church which find expression in the reports “Sharing God’s Planet” and “Church and Earth 2009-2016” and in the “Shrinking the Footprint” campaign;
(ii) call upon the EIAG to publish the report of its review by the end of 2014; and
(iii) agree to the establishment of a General Synod Working Group on the Environment, to monitor this and other environmental issues.’
An Invitation to Care for God’s Earth, Care for Each Other is designed for churches that are just beginning to think about how we can live out the Gospel in our relationships with the environment and our global neighbours.
The full-colour leaflet provides an introduction to the idea that caring for creation and practically expressing love for our global neighbours are an essential part of any church’s mission. It contains five steps to help churches incorporate prayer and action in these areas into church life. It also has a selection of prayers “for the journey.”
The leaflet is free to download (Download it here) or may be purchased in hard copy, with a discount for bulk orders.