Creation Care E-News: 50th Earth Day Edition

Creation Care E-News: 50th Earth Day Edition

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by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas Missioner for Creation Care

This special edition of Creation Care Network e-news is brought to you in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the historic event on April 22, 1970 in which millions of Americans – a full 10 percent of the population! – took to the streets in a bi-partisan, multi-generational movement to heal our nation’s air, lands, and waters.
 
Around the country, 50 years later, caring people of every faith tradition are coming together to respond to the climate crisis.   Here is a sampling of upcoming events and opportunities.
 
Worship: Sunday, April 19
 
Washington National Cathedral is hosting two large online worship services in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day.
  • 11:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  I will deliver the sermon, entitled “Do not doubt but believe: The promise of eco-resurrection.” Please join us online at the Cathedral Website for this live-streamed service.
  • 2:00 p.m. Multifaith Earth Day Service, with the Presiding Bishop providing a video.  Washington National Cathedral and Interfaith Power & Light co-host this online service focused on our shared call to climate action. Join us in prayer and song in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Engagement: 
  • 2:00 p.m., Monday, April 20.  Webinar conversation with the two co-editors of the interfaith anthology, Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis: Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas (Missioner for Creation Care, Episcopal Diocese of Western Mass. & Southern New England Conference, UCC), and Rev. Dr. Leah D. Schade (Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship, Lexington Theological Seminary). Hosted by Huda Alkaff, Founder and Director, Wisconsin Green Muslims. This free event is part of Faith Climate Action Week.  To RSVP, click here. Facebook Event page is here.  
  • 10 a.m.- 12 Noon, Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day)  Creation, Church, and Community: An Earth Day Webinar  -- Lexington Theological Seminary presents an Earth Day webinar moderated by Rev. Carol Devine, Minister of Green Chalice and featuring LTS faculty members:  Dr. Emily Askew (Associate Professor of Systematic Theology) will offer a theological response to climate despair.  Dr. Wilson Dickinson (Director of the D.Min. and Continuing Education Programs) will share his insights on finding our place in social change. Dr. Leah Schade (Assistant Professor of Preaching and Worship) will lead us through the lectionary texts in the season of Easter with ideas for using a “green lens” for preaching. Clergy, laity, and all those seeking to connect their faith with caring for God's Creation are invited. The webinar is free of charge. To register, click here.
  • 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day) The Earth Is the Lord's: A Webinar with Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr.  The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr. was a central leader in the launch of the environmental justice movement in the 1980s and 90s. He coined the phrase “environmental racism” and played instrumental roles in Warren County’s civil disobedience campaign, the landmark Toxic Wastes and Race report, and the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. In this special address marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Chavis will focus on the role of faith communities in resisting those powers that would seek to rule and desecrate what is not theirs. To register, click here.​
  • 8:00-9:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day)  Honest to God: Earth Day Webinar hosted by Washington National Cathedral and the Presiding Bishop’s Office.  I will be one of the guests, along with Rev. Traci Blackmon (Associate General Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, MO) and Bishop David Rice (Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin Chair of the Episcopal Church Creation Care Task Force).  The Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers (Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation and Creation) will host our discussion of the urgency of collective, inspired, and loving action to end the climate crisis. The webinar is free of charge. To register, click here. Also available on Facebook live.
  • 12 Noon, Thursday, April 23  Webinar conversation about the interfaith anthology, Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, with Rev. Dr. Gerald Durley (Chair, Interfaith Power and Light) and Huda Alkaff, Founder and Director, Wisconsin Green Muslims. Both speakers contributed a chapter to Rooted & Rising.  This event is part of Faith Climate Action Week and in celebration of the partnership between the Interfaith Power and Light and the Islamic Society of North America. To RSVP, click here.  
Study:
These two online courses are recommended by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network. Action:
  • Explore Sustaining Earth, Our Island Home, the carbon tracker Website that our diocese introduced a year ago.  Check out the ways your household can reduce its carbon footprint and can possibly save money, too. What next steps will you take to live more simply and gently on Earth? 
  • Plant trees!  Join the United Church of Christ in its effort to plant 50,000 trees in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  You can help to plant trees not only locally, but also in national parks, Kenya, Zambia, and elsewhere.  For information and to get started, click here.
  • Sign a petition to Massachusetts House of Representatives: Carbon Pricing Now for a Stronger, Greener Massachusetts. H.2810 would help Massachusetts save money on energy, create green jobs and home-grown energy sources, and protect vulnerable communities and small businesses. H.2810 makes big polluters pay for their carbon pollution emissions. 70% of its revenue goes directly back into the wallets of Massachusetts residents as rebates; 30% is used for green infrastructure projects, such as improving public transit options. Independent economists agree that putting a fee on carbon pollution is the fastest way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that damage the natural world. H.2810 does so without hurting regular workers. The bill is stuck in the State legislature in the Telecommunications, Utility and Energy Committee.  Let’s get it up and running!  Please sign the petition here.
  • Pledge to be a Faith Climate Voter
    I pledge to vote with climate and Creation in mind.
    I am pledging to be a Faith Climate Voter to put love into action for every living creature and for every vulnerable community suffering the impacts of our changing climate, from sea rise, to extreme heat, to devastating droughts, to supercharged storms.
    I believe that our nation’s elected leaders and our public policies should reflect our shared values.By pledging to be a consistent voter and vote with climate in mind, I am communicating the values of caring for God’s Creation and our children’s future. 
  • Click here to make your pledge.  Interfaith Power & Light will remind you to keep your word. Invite other people – especially young people – to sign the voter pledge, too.
  • Check out Grist’s newsletter, Climate in the Time of Coronavirus, which includes an article on “14 ways to turn your cabin fever into climate action.”  Some highlights include commenting on the EPA’s “secret science” rule, switching up your kitchen routine, and moving your money away from fossil fuel-funding banks.
  • Sign the Open Letter: Principles for a #Just Recovery from Covid-19 from 350.org. “This is a time to be decisive in saving lives and bold in charting a path to a genuinely healthier and more equitable future through a just recovery.”
Prayer and spiritual refreshment
  • Set aside one hour to watch and listen to a full performance of “A Passion for the Planet,” the moving climate oratorio composed by Geoffrey Hudson that premiered last year.  “Blending scientific prose, poetry, and sacred texts from many faiths, the libretto traces an arc from beauty and gratitude into darkness and out again into hope.”  The text can be downloaded from the Website.
  • Go outside for a long contemplative walk in nature.  Explore a place you’re never been before or walk through a familiar place and notice things you’ve never noticed before. How is God speaking to you through the natural world?  How is God ministering to you? 
More events Thank you for your prayers and actions to create a more just and gentle future for all. Happy Easter!  Christ is risen!
Blessings,
(The Rev. Dr.) Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Missioner for Creation Care

Author

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Margaret Bullitt-Jonas

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas is the Missioner for Creation Care for both the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts and the Southern New England Conference, United Church of Christ.

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