September Environmental Ministry Calendar – and More!

September Environmental Ministry Calendar – and More!

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Curated by Victoria Guest, SNEC Environmental Ministry Team 

NEW!
2022 Faith Matters Voting Challenge starts now!
Voting is one of the most - if not the most - powerful tools we have as people of faith. Voting takes your caring values into the public square and thereby into other people’s lives.  Your vote matters, not just in the big national election years, but in all the local and state elections in between, because politicians pay attention to the priorities of people who vote
The Environmental Ministries Team has developed resources to mobilize congregations through the 2022 Faith Matters Voting Challenge.  We have partnered with the Environmental Voter Project (EVP) to promote the SNEUCC Creation Care Voter Pledge and put love into action for every living creature and for every economically or racially marginalized community that suffers from environmental harm.
For more information and resources, visit www.sneucc.org/faith-matters-voting-challenge  While you are there, check out our Green Congregation Challenge, a step-by-step approach that helps houses of worship take small, but consequential, steps towards protecting God’s Creation www.sneucc.org/green-congregation-challenge.
Preaching Climate Justice: A Conversation with Jim Antal and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Thursday, September 15 ~ 10:00-11:15 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Join us for another lively presentation by two religious leaders who are committed to encouraging climate preaching that is both pastoral and prophetic. There will be ample time for questions and conversation, as well as suggestions for how to preach on some of the texts assigned for upcoming Sundays in Creation Season. This event is open at no charge to all preachers, lay and ordained.
For more information and to register, click here.  Participants are encouraged to read Bullitt-Jonas’ article, “Preaching When Life Depends on It: Climate Crisis and Gospel Hope” (Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2021) and Antal’s chapter, “Prophetic Preaching: Freeing the Pulpit from Fear,” in his book, Climate Church, Climate World.
Dancing in God's Earthquake: An Evening with Rabbi Arthur Waskow 
Thurs., Sept. 8, 7:00-8:30pm in person at Hebrew College, and on line.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow is a prophetic rabbi who has for fifty years worked to promote a progressive spirit of renewal that connects Jews, Christians, and people of other faiths, and who is a leader in eco-theology and action.  He will be in conversation with Rabbi Or Rose about his latest book, Dancing in God’s Earthquake: The Coming Transformation of Religion. Learn more and register at the link above.
The Benefits of Vegetated Buffer Gardens
Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at 6:00 PM
United Congregational Church of Westerly, UCC, Pawcatuck, CT

The Pollinator Team in Westerly has partnered with the Eastern CT Conservation District to offer this free workshop, especially important in view of this year’s drought and renewed interest in wetlands management.  
UCC Creation Justice Webinar – September 14 @ 1 PM
The next Creation Justice Webinar will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the six-week nonviolent action campaign that gave birth to the environmental justice movement with its pioneering focus on environmental racism. This webinar will feature three leaders from the protest against the dumping of toxic waste in Warren County, North Carolina: Dollie Burwell, the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr., and the Rev. William Kearney. Even if you can’t make the scheduled time on Wednesday, September 14th at 1 pm, sign up and you will be sent a recording. Register now!
Jubilee Justice Leadership Program - applications due September 16
Jubilee is a 6-month online cohort especifically for lay leaders (though open to clergy as well), who are looking to connect their faith with social justice. The program combines workshops about progressive Christianity and justice, skill-building for justice work, and spiritual reflection, with work directly in a local justice organization and their local church.
While this program is not specifically for people interested in environmental issues, it is a great opportunity to connect environmental work with wider justice movements -- and the service with a local organization allows you to connect with an environmental organization doing work that resonates with you. Apply here!
Watershed Stewardship Workshop
Led by Rev. Dr. Nancy G. Wright (Pastor for Creation Care for the New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)
Saturday, September 17 ~ 10:00 a.m. – 12 Noon
Christ the King-Epiphany Church, 758 Main St., Wilbraham, MA

Caring for water orients a congregation in a new and deep way to its spiritual, social, cultural, and ecological community, while also positioning it to develop supportive ties to other congregations and groups in the area to foster watershed health. When a congregation cares for its local watershed, it potentially promotes awareness and action to ameliorate worldwide water justice issues, including those compounded by climate change and the feminization of poverty.
This two-hour workshop will include a PowerPoint description of watersheds, water rituals, information about local collaboration, and reflection on the meaning of “living water.” All Christian congregations and interfaith communities are welcome. For more information, email Pastor Nancy Wright: nwright@nesynod.org.
Attention GREEN TEAMS! Next SNEUCC Cross-Pollination Gathering is Monday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 PM
The SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team has launched a monthly gathering for congregations participating in the Green Congregation Challenge at any level! These zoom gatherings take place on the third Monday of the month at 6:30 pm, with the next on Monday, September 19th.  Bring your challenges and share resources. Depending on your interests we will host special speakers on topics such as lighting, solar, incentives and rebates, and developing a church green team. Be sure to register to receive the zoom link.
Racial Justice Summit - Saturday, September 24
Racial justice is environmental justice, and environmental justice is racial justice. The Racial Justice Summit is an opportunity to connect your Creation care work with the movements for racial justice and liberation. Join us for worship, workshops focused on developing relationships and strategies, and sessions that will help us spiritually sustain our work for the long haul. Register here for virtual option. 
Nature & Neighbors: Youth Environmental Justice Retreats - Session options October - May
Like all Christians, youth are called to leadership and ministry within their congregations and communities. The Nature & Neighbors retreats recognizes the call many young people feel to address the climate crisis and environmental injustice and encourages them to draw on the resources of our faith for inspiration and sustenance. Nature & Neighbors is an environmental justice retreat for youth, a shared program of the Southern New England Conference justice team, Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center, and Irons Homestead Camp & Retreat. There are four sessions of this one-day retreat to choose from, and middle and high school groups of any size are welcome to sign up:   
  • October 8, 2022 at Silver Lake 
  • October 22, 2022 at Irons Homestead 
  • February 18, 2023 at Irons Homestead (snow date – March 25) 
  • May 6, 2023 at Silver Lake 
 Each session will include exploration of environmental racism and environmental justice; engaging scripture and spiritual practices that inspire and sustain action; and experiencing God’s Creation firsthand at either Silver Lake or Irons Homestead, two of the beautiful outdoor ministry sites affiliated with the Conference. 
Learn more and register and contact Emma for group rates or scholarships.
Green Team Summit!
Sunday-Wednesday, Sept 11 - 14
Keynote Address: Sunday, Sept 11, 6-7:30 pm
Interfaith Power and Light affiliate in Illinois, Faith in Place, is hosting this free event in person and online. Event kicks off with a Keynote Address and live Q&A with Dr. Katherine Hayhoe, author of Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World". Dr. Hayhoe is also chief climate scientist for The Nature Conservancy, and a distinguished professor and chair at Texas Tech University. 
The full agenda includes a variety of spiritual and practical sessions such as "Healing Centered Justice", "Interwoven: Exploring Environmental Justice from a Faith Perspective", and "Green Team Networking." 
To learn more or register for the Green Team Summit, visit: https://www.greenteamsummit.org/register-2022
Ecological Grief: Naming and Healing
Speaker: Caroline Holmes (Seasonal Park Ranger at Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah)
Thursday, Sept. 15 ~ 7:30 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Sponsored by Center for Deep Green Faith (in Sewanee, TN), the webinar will include a presentation, panel discussion, and Q & A.
SEASON OF CREATION (September 1- October 4)
Celebrated by more than two billion Christians around the world, Creation Season begins with the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation on September 1, and concludes with the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, on October 4. This year consider exploring the theme of the 2022 Season of Creation: “Listen to the Voice of Creation. Its logo is the burning bush, which symbolizes both the devastating fires of climate crisis and the divine fire of the Holy Spirit. The fire that called to Moses affirmed that God heard the cries of all who suffered and would be with us as we followed in faith to our deliverance from injustice. Check Seasonofcreation.org to find downloadable resources for organizing events, leading liturgy, advocacy campaigns/asks, and more.
The Seven Deadly Sins of White Christian Nationalism: Book event
A conversation with author and theologian Carter Heyward
Wednesday, September 21 ~ 4:00-5:30 pm (Eastern) • Online (free, donations accepted)
As political tensions continue to rise in the United States, and as divisions become more entrenched, white nationalism has infiltrated and, in some communities, taken the helm of Christianity. How do we understand this devastating alliance, and how do we seek to reclaim Christianity as a religion of peace and justice at a time when it is being co-opted by extreme voices? Co-hosted by the Maine Council of Churches and The BTS Center.
Spiritual Resilience in a Climate Emergency: Faith Forum
Speaker: Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Sunday, September 25 ~ Noon – 1:00 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free) 
Faith Forum hosted by St. Paul's Cathedral in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego as part of the Season of Creation. The focus will be climate anxiety and grief and how to stay spiritually strong in midst of the almost unimaginable losses and challenges that press upon us. How do we maintain energy and hope as we struggle to protect this beautiful, sacred creation? How does Christian faith restore our courage? Registration information will be posted at RevivingCreation.org.
“Take heart, it is I”: A Creation Season retreat
Led by Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas
Saturday, October 1
9:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon • Online (free)
Strong winds are blowing against us: the winds of white Christian nationalism, the winds of war, the winds of climate change. Like the disciples in their small boat, we may feel “battered by the waves” (Matthew 14:24). Let’s gather to pray for the courage to meet Christ in rough seas, the serenity to trust in Christ’s presence, and the boldness to bear public witness to Christ’s love.
Our time together will include silence and guided meditation, presentations and small group conversation, and free time for solitary prayer and a contemplative walk outdoors. This online retreat will be held the day before Faiths for Climate Justice launches 5 weeks of faith-based climate events (Oct. 2- Nov. 6). Please consider planning or joining an event, so that we can pray for you during our retreat. This retreat is sponsored by the two Episcopal dioceses in Massachusetts and by Southern New England Conference, UCC. Registration is open.
 
Faiths 4 Climate Action
From Sunday, October 2 through Sunday, October 9, Greenfaith invites people of faith to plan actions as part of Faiths 4 Climate Justice.  Together we can lift up our moral values of reverence, justice, and compassion, and call upon our leaders to safeguard our future. The ten demands are listed here. Think about creating a prayer vigil or a procession, perhaps in front of a bank that funds fossil fuels. For inspiration, watch the wrap-up video for Greenfaith’s recent event, Sacred People, Sacred Earth. More info at https://greenfaith.org/faiths4climatejustice/
Season of Creation Webinars from the Church of England
This 4-part series of webinars explores environmental themes in theology and worship. Pour that morning cup of coffee and start the day with inspiration!  Topics include:
What does the New Testament have to say about the environment?
Speaker: Rev. Margot Hodson
Monday, September 12 
7:00 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Why are evangelism and creation care essential to each other?
Speaker: Rev. Steve Hollinghurst
Tuesday, September 20
11:00 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Climate, gender, and racial justice
Speaker: Maria Andrade (Tearfund)
Thursday, September 22
11:00 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Creation speaks of God's glory
Speaker: Dr Cherryl Hunt
Monday, September 26
7:00 a.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Fall Eco-Grief Circle
Wednesdays, Sept. 21 – Nov. 2
12:00 – 1:15 p.m. (Eastern) • Online (free)
Sponsored by Creation Care Alliance (in Western North Carolina), this 7-week online experience will be offered in sessions that last about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Together participants will explore grief and sorrow, anxiety and fear, guilt and shame, anger, and despair. This experience is designed to offer mutual support, healing, insight, and love but is not a grief therapy experience. Read about Climate Change and Mental Health in this report from ecoAmerica and the American Psychological Association.
Climate Preparedness Week 2022 The Planet’s Health and Yours: Facing the Invisible Impacts of Climate Change. September 24 – 30
Since 2018, Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) has marked a week of learning, service, and actions to better prepare our communities for extreme weather events and the effects of climate change. This year, CREW will offer events that focus on the invisible impacts of climate change, “from the toll that climate anxiety and grief can take on mental health to how the invisible threat of extreme heat is most powerfully felt in historically redlined and disenfranchised communities.” 
Check the schedule for talks on preparing communities for extreme heat; on rising sea levels and preparing for Boston’s future; on environmental justice; and more. To sign up as a partner, to publicize Prep Week events in your faith community, fill out this form. To host an event, fill out this form. To express your interest if you aren't yet sure you can participate, please fill out this form. As events are created, you’ll be able to find them at bit.ly/3vKRk6m.
October 5 is Energy Efficiency Day! Start Now to Reduce Energy Costs This Winter
For your house of worship, consider engaging MassIPL for an Environmental Stewardship Assessment. This assessment, geared to the unique design and use of faith communities' buildings, examines 24 energy-saving opportunities and provides specific recommendations ranging from easy, low-cost actions to major projects like upgrading your heating equipment. Check out the link above or email esa@MassIPL.org to learn more.
Collectively, the homes of congregation members use far more energy than the house of worship. If you haven't had a MassSave assessment in two years, schedule a free home assessment now. The program updated its incentives this year, and continues to pay 100% of the cost of air sealing your home and 75% for adding insulation -- and up to 100% for low income customers. You pay for the MassSave assessment through a small charge on your utility bill each month, so use this opportunity to get some of the money back while you lower your carbon emissions. For more info on Energy Efficiency Day: https://energyefficiencyday.org/ways-to-save-on-your-next-energy-bill/
Love.Earth.Justice. 2022
Multi-faith Worship and Workshops to Make a Difference
Sunday, October 16, 2-5 pm ET
First Unitarian Church of Worcester
90 Main Street, Worcester, MA
MassIPL presents an afternoon of celebration and community engagement, in collaboration with our host Faith Action Network affiliate, Worcester Congregations for Climate & Environmental Justice. An hour of worship with Rev. Vernon K. Walker preaching will be followed by two 50-minute workshop slots, each offering two workshops simultaneously. More
Convocation 2022: Imagination and Collective Liberation for a Climate-Changed World
Thursday & Friday, October 6 – 7 
The BTS Center is organizing another stellar convocation, its annual online gathering of top-notch speakers. This year’s presenters include Ched Meyers (activist theologian), Cole Arthur Riley (author, and creator of Black Liturgies), and Rob Hopkins (activist, author, cofounder of Transition Network), among others. Registration today!
Join us for a Blessed Tomorrow Climate Training – Nov. 5 from 11 AM to 3 PM ET
The United Church of Christ and ecoAmerica are partnering to offer the Blessed Tomorrow Ambassadors Training Program. This free, virtual, interactive training will cover the links between climate and faith, the spectrum of solutions, how to speak effectively on the topic, and opportunities to act and advocate. Learn more and register here!
Join Interfaith Power and Light’s 2022 Faith Climate Justice Voter Campaign to reach out to people of faith and conscience, to make sure they are registered and ready to vote, and to mobilize them to vote their values of caring for our common home and loving our neighbors.
 
You can also download IPL’s Faithful Voter Reflection Guide to use at the kitchen table, in a house of worship, at a community forum, or at an event with political candidates. The guide discusses many of the defining moral issues of our time that are on the ballot: faltering democratic institutions, too much wealth in the hands of a few, damage to the climate, cruel immigration policies that tear families apart, mass incarceration that devastates communities of color, and threats to global public health and security. Download the guide here.
Check out these two new recommendations from the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, SNEUCC Missioner for Creation Care:
Voter Suppression, Climate Justice and the Pollutor-Industrial Complex: How the Corporate Assault on American Democracy and Climate are Connected
Over the last 10 years, we have seen an attack on American democracy for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry and its corporate allies.  Read this new report from the Global Center for Climate Justice showing the connections between polluters and voter suppression. Read the report here.
Free Jessica Resnicek. August 11, marked the end of the first year of Jessica’s eight-year incarceration for protecting the endangered water supply of over 40 million people as part of an action at the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The extreme sentence was because of legal changes that allowed her to be charged as a “terrorist” for her non-violent action. You can sign a petition and/or write a note of encouragement to Jessica at supportjessicareznicek.com
Preaching for God’s World. The Anglican Communion Environmental Network and its allies recently launched a website that features weekly, lectionary-based climate justice and creation justice sermons written by preachers from across the Anglican Communion and by ecumenical partners. You can sign up for weekly notes delivered to your email inbox at PreachingforGodsWorld.org.
A new study by Yale researchers found that children who live close to fracking sites in Pennsylvania are at higher risk for leukemia, confirming years of “anecdotal” reports from parents, and another reminder of how urgent the task is to stop the extraction of fossil fuels.
Download the "Faithful Resilience" Guide from Creation Justice Ministries to learn how to lead your congregation to become a hub of climate resilience in your community.
Solar for Houses of Worship!
On April 7, MassIPL hosted a webinar that featured three houses of worship currently in the process of evaluating and installing solar. The speakers described the challenges and how they are working through them. An "open forum" followed, which addressed a wide range of questions, including how to deal with historic commissions and how to finance with funds from congregants.  You can view the entire Solar Open Forum webinar here. The YouTube page lists the questions that were addressed, along with the timing of when they were discussed, so you can jump right to the topic that most interests you.
Has your faith community considered solar? MassIPL can help guide you through the process! Email MassIPL with your solar inquiry: solar@massipl.org.
Both the federal Inflation Reduction Act, and the new Mass. climate bill have financial incentives for purchasing heat pumps to help reduce carbon and methane emissions. Green Energy Consumers Alliance has a new program to help folks considering heat pumps. Register to access free educational materials, a free referral list of experienced contractors, advice via a discounted 1:1 consultation, and an apples-to-apples comparisons of contractor quotes.  There’s also a new $500 rebate for purchasing an induction stove to replace a gas stove. Learn more.
Sign the Petition: Tell Attorney General Garland to End Opposition to Youth Climate Justice
In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, against the U.S. government.  These 21 young people are seeking a judicial declaration that the U.S. fossil fuel energy system is unconstitutional and violates their fundamental right to a safe climate. A victory in their case would mean that all current and future U.S. climate and energy policy - whether executive or legislative in nature, and regardless of political majority or party - would need to adhere to the court’s declaratory judgment, protecting the rights of our nation’s children to a safe climateFor more information and to sign, visit here.
Join Community Action Works to ask our Senators to support the PFAS Action Act. Toxic chemicals called PFAS have contaminated waterways across the country, endangering up to 110 million Americans. The PFAS Action Act would require the EPA to limit dumping of PFAS into our waterways and place a moratorium on new PFAS chemicals. Edit and sign the letter here.
Christians and Climate Change with Bill McKibben
Available anytime • Online ($10)
In this new online course offered by ChurchNext, Bill McKibben shows us that we still have time to take climate action -- but not as much time as we once had, and not as completely as we once might have been able to manage. For more information and to register, click here.
Green your electricity with locally generated, renewable energy
If we make the right renewable energy choices, we can shift the New England electric grid away from fossil fuels. Customers of National Grid or Eversource in MA/RI can sign up with Green Energy Consumers Alliance.  In any case, ditch your clothes dryer and hang laundry on a line!

Contact Information

Karen Methot

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Author

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Vicky A. Guest

The Rev. Victoria Alford Guest is a member of the SNEUCC Environmental Ministries Team and former pastor of the First Congregational Church in Natick, MA.

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