It’s Time to Plan the Season of Creation
Dear vestries, priests, deacons, liturgy teams, and parishioners of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine:
Yes, it is time for caring for Creation to be the focus of our worship in the Diocese of Maine!
This is a loving reminder to you that if you haven’t started yet, this is the perfect time to organize the liturgy for your parish for the five Sundays of the Season of Creation, as proposed by your Climate Justice Council and encouraged by the Diocese and our beloved Bishop Thomas J. Brown.
Some churches have already begun their planning. St Ann’s in Windham have planned a Bike (or Carpool) to Church Sunday during the Season of Creation. Recently, they invited the Bicycle Coalition of Maine to their parking lot to provide free bike checkups and bike safety training for kids. What a great idea! Why don’t you plan something similar?
The five Sundays are September 4, 11, 18, and 25, and October 2, 2022, otherwise known as the 14th-17th Sundays After Pentecost, or Propers 18-22.
The Scripture readings, collects, and prefaces can remain the same as in the Lectionary in general use in your parish. Or you can substitute a more creation-themed text from the Bible, or another creation-care themed reading, for one or more of the lectionary texts. You can choose hymns and prayers that focus our worship on the goodness of God shown in creation. You can invite your young people to take part in preparing your worship space with creation-care themed posters, vestments, hangings, altar cloths, and so on. Let your imagination run free!
What will make your Season of Creation powerful will be the interpretation and presentation of the Bible passages you read in church. How does the message of the gospel speak to today’s experience of climate change? How do the prophet’s warnings and lamentations speak to us today about the need for environmental justice?
The interfaith organization “Season of Creation” has established a theme for the season “Listen to the Voice of Creation” and an emblem of The Burning Bush. You can read about these choices and their use at their very helpful website: https://seasonofcreation.org/. Scroll down to download a useful Celebration Guidebook for worship during this season.
Another important recent resource is a Liturgical Guide to the Season of Creation, the work of the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts, crafted by Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Creation Care Advisor for Dio-Mass and her colleagues: https://www.diocesewma.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/SeasonOfCreationLiturgicalGuide2022-MADioceses2.pdf
How about planning a special interfaith or ecumenical service, perhaps during the last week of the season, either on Sunday October 2, or on St. Francis’ Day itself, October 4?
Perhaps the person you have chosen to be your parish Earth Keeper might share some of the highlights from your Season of Creation celebrations. They can do this by emailing text and photos to our staff liaison Emily Keniston. If you have not chosen or commissioned someone as your parish Earth Keeper, the Season of Creation would be a great time to do this.
Your Climate justice Council is presently at work on two documents: Sustainable Practices for Parish Life and Sustainable Practices for Individuals. These will be great resources for your Earth Keeper and your parish. Look for these to come to you by email in September!
For a list of the resources for this coming Season of Creation mentioned in this letter and more, click here.
Thank you for stepping out with us in hope and in love for God’s beautiful creation by making the Season of Creation a time of joy and commitment in your parish and community.
Yours In Christ,
Your colleagues and friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Maine’s Climate Justice Council
Jenny Reece (Chair) (207-952-2363) Emily Keniston (Staff Liaison), Steve Ward (Secretary), and members Sarah Braik, the Rev. Elaine Hewes, the Rev. Peter Jenks, Marianne Pinkham (and Rocket), Anneliese Pugh, Barbara Ryland, and Patricia Sprague.