Worshipping the Artist – Francis, Creation and the Tau/Tao

Just in time for St. Francis Day – Oct 4

Almost eight centuries after he was born, Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) was named as Patron Saint of Ecology by Pope John Paul II in 1979. The message of the ragamuffin monk in his patched brown habit who talked to the animals, and embraced Lady Poverty has persisted through the centuries against all odds. Francis is respected, if not revered, across several world religions, and is even called a Celtic Saint on some lists – Italy’s first chance to be a Celtic country! What is it that’s so compelling about Il Poverello, the Little Poor One?tau

Well, for one thing he liked to praise the Artist, God, through the work of art, which is Creation. How cool is that! No wonder his ‘coolness’ or with-it-ness survived over eight centuries. Basically Francis felt that nature was transparent to the Divine, that nature is the first book of revelation, through which we see the beauty and goodness of the Creator. This strikes a chord with both a modern ecological desire to highlight the sacredness of nature, as well as fitting in with how many aboriginal people understand God and nature. The Creator is to be revered and all that the Creator has made is to be appreciated, respected and protected.

These links between Franciscan spirituality, ecology and Creation spirituality are not new, although they do merit our ongoing reflection. But here’s what struck me as new last year when I had the privilege of visiting Assisi. Not surprisingly such a popular saint draws in the crowds and the tourist dollars, so the gift shop at St. Francis Basilica was a busy place. Among the items for sale are simple string necklaces with T shaped crosses known as the Tau (see image at top of article). This Tau is the 19th letter of the Greek alphabet, and was used as a Christian cross by some of the early desert fathers in Christianity; and also has some Old Testament or Hebrew Bible references as the mark on the foreheads of those to be spared in Ezekial 9:4, and also it can be an image of Moses with outstretched arms, parting the Red Sea. Francis favored this form of the cross and it is recognized as the Franciscan Cross among other things.

September 2013 in Assisi, I found myself marveling at the similarity between the word Tau and the word Tao, meaning The Way in Taoism. Jesus’ early followers were also known as followers of The Way. The main original Taoist text, the Tao Te Ching (c. 6th century BC) begins with a mysterious humility and caution to look beyond what seems big in the world. Here are some early verses that remind me of the Franciscan way: “The whole world recognizes the beautiful as the beautiful, yet this is only the ugly; the whole world recognizes the good as the good, yet this is only the bad.” (v.4) and “The way [Tao] is empty, yet use will not drain it.” (v.11) and “Highest good is water. Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without contending with them and settles where none would like to be, it comes close to the way.” (v.20) (1963 Penguin translation by D.C. Lau). Water is an important symbol in Taoism because it flows to the lowest places, seemingly without force – action-less action which Taoists call Wu Wei, and yet water can be extremely powerful like hydro-electric power, and destructive as well, like tsunamis. Soft, pliable Sister Water, as Francis called it (Canticle to Brother Sun), can cut through hard rock leaving behind straight crevices as if an incredibly powerful cosmic knife had come through, but no, it was just water! In places with powerful waterfalls, tourists are constantly reminded to keep a safe distance, and yet people regularly get too close and are swept away.

This is only a small sampling of the similarities I’ve found between Franciscan spirituality and Taoist philosophy. Certainly both Francis and Taoism counseled a simple life, close to nature, and as unfettered as possible by material concerns – a life of ‘live and let live’. The Tau and the Tao have much in common – the path of Francis was in many ways the epitome of Wu Wei – so much to be explored in this realm. Meanwhile we can rejoice in yet another peaceful link amongst world religions, so badly needed in our times, given the horrendously volatile and seemingly endless, overtly religious conflicts in the Middle East.

“Happy those who endure in peace” wrote Francis in his Canticle … may it be so in our times and in our children’s children’s time. For the Creator so loves the world that all God’s creatures are implored to treat each other with dignity, respect and love. May all the earth have comfort and peace; may evil fail and good prevail, Amen.

Rev. Dr. Adela D. Torchia
Parish of St David and St Paul 6310 Sycamore Street Powell River, British Columbia
This is the second of two articles connecting with the Season of Creation 2014

Political Activism and one Anglican bishop

peoplesmarch2014Originally published by the Canberra Timres. For full article visit  http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/political-activism-not-yet-on-life-support-20140924-10l7h4.html

Political activism, in the sense of community activism rather than insider political lobbying, is somewhat out of favour at the moment. There is a sense in which many of the political causes dear to the hearts of such activists are neglected or opposed by governments in Australia. That certainly applies to action on climate change because the federal government has taken government policy in a completely different direction.

That is why the People’s Climate March held last Sunday was so notable.  It was held before the world leaders climate summit at the United Nations in New York. It was a worldwide event, reportedly featuring 2700 coordinated rallies and marches in 160 countries, including Australia. The biggest Australian rallies were held in Sydney and Melbourne, where 30,000 people gathered. In Canberra 1000 people attended a rally at the Australian National University.

Speakers did include some politicians, including Greens Leader Christine Milne in Melbourne, but also many non-politicians, including, in Canberra, leading ACT Brumbiesplayer David Pocock and the former Anglican Bishop of Canberra, George Browning.

All this has been reported in the media, but what has not been commented on enough is the extraordinary resilience and long-term persistence of some of these activists in a currently unpopular cause. I have long admired the persistence of the long-distance campaigner, whatever the cause. And while many such campaigners are on the left of politics, quite a few are on the right and many would not want to be categorised at all in such simplistic terms.

Persistence is not always recognised as a virtue but derided as stubbornness or ignorance or even worse. Activists can be dismissed as fanatics who redouble their efforts when the hope of success evaporates. They can be labelled innocent fools who are being misled by behind-the-scenes manipulators.

Sometimes there is strength in numbers in convoys or rallies but often campaigning in an unpopular cause is a lonely affair, whether it is selling a radical newspaper on a street corner or saying prayers outside the ACT Department of Health.

Not all community activists stay the course but fall by the wayside. That’s understandable. In all types of political activity, whether movements or organisations, churn is a major factor. Churn means that at any time up to a third of participants drop out of their commitment from year to year.

But many do persevere. Some of those who do are sustained by a fully worked-out personal theory of citizenship. Browning, a long-term environmental activist, is one of those and I was struck by his article in last weekend’s Sunday Canberra Times which explained his position.

Browning combines a commitment to a cause, in this case moving away from fossil fuels, with a belief that “ordinary citizens must reclaim the public space and the national narrative”. This leads him to a determination to “take a public and proactive stand against powerful self-interest”.

More controversially he is concerned that our democracy is suffering because “our votes are far less influential on public policy than the lobbying of sectional interests”. For this reason he may be willing, if necessary, to engage in civil disobedience in defence of democracy and the common good.

His citizenship is global rather than parochial and he calls on the long-held beliefs of the Anglican Church that, if the two citizenships ever collide, it is the citizenship of all humanity that must trump national citizenship. Whether you agree or disagree with Browning, either on fossil fuels or global citizenship, he has expounded a comprehensive position.

Democracy needs people like George Browning and his friend, the former Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Canberra, Pat Power. But they and their fellow activists are in a minority. Surveys demonstrate that the majority of citizens are not activists but passive members of the political community. Activism is not only not for everyone, it is not even for the majority.

Just what the right mix is between active and passive citizens can be disputed. Ultimately in democratic elections the ballot box does not discriminate between the two. One vote one value means that activists are not valued more than passivists.

I come down firmly on the side of the beneficial contribution to society of the lifelong activist. Nevertheless there are three circumstances under which community activism can go wrong.

The first is when it succumbs to the temptation to bypass majoritarian democracy rather than to work within it. For all its widely recognised flaws our system has democratic processes, primarily elections but also constitutional provisions and parliamentary procedures, which must unequivocally come first.

The second is when it becomes so single-minded that it leads to intolerance of other points of view. Activism at its best engages with other points of view even if those on the other side don’t want to engage. Activism should also engage civilly and reject extreme language even if its opponents are uncivil.

The third is when activism is stuck in a rut about the way to engage with the wider community. Mass rallies, demonstrations and convoys can be effective because they attract the media and also because they build solidarity among those who participate. But they should never be the only way. Smaller gatherings, including workshops and dining-room table discussions, are a necessary complement to the bigger events. So is participation in other community organisations, including political parties and churches.

What I’ve read about the People’s Climate March suggests that it was a good mix between the local and the global, smaller groups (including church services and secular gatherings) and mass events, and that it was conducted in a fashion that was respectful of democratic values.

John Warhurst is an emeritus professor of political science at the Australian National University

John.Warhurst@anu.edu.au

Need, not Greed – Gandhian ethics, ecology & inter-religious dialogue

Special to the ACEN – Connection with the birth of Mahatmas Gandhi, Oct 2

This is the first of two articles connecting with the Season of Creation 2014
In spite of his Beloved Bapu stature, Mohandas K. Gandhi could be a cranky old coot. Certainly his friend, the Nobel Prize-winning Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, experienced this when he tried to get by without a daily hour or more at the spinning wheel – Gandhi would not hear of such an exception to his ideal that spinning cotton every day is something everyone in the India of his time should do. In fact, the more public the figure, the more Gandhi tried to impose this duty.

Why was the spinning of homespun cotton or khadi so important to Gandhi? While a full answer is complex, this 1927 khadi spirit quote helps us see both that, and its ecological implications:

If we have the khadi spirit in us we should serve ourselves with simplicity in every walk of life. … Khadi spirit means fellow-feeling with every living being on earth. It means the complete renunciation of everything that is likely to harm our fellow creatures … (Gandhi’s Collected Works 34:520)

So this khadi spirit is a “fellow-feeling with every living being on earth” – Gandhi captures here the essence of the interconnectedness that calls us towards lives of greater compassion. Although Gandhi was born 145 years ago and never used the term ecology, much of his ethics of economics ends up being relevant to today’s ecological concerns. His idea that “Earth provides enough for everyone’s need, not everyone’s greed” is particularly apropos to a world in which about 20% of earth’s population uses 86% of earth’s resources.

Such statistics can sound depressing to the modern mind, supposedly calling for a life of renunciation of all kinds of pleasures. Most world religions used to also counsel some level of asceticism as a necessary physical counterpart to a good spiritual life. But asceticism became unfashionable by the late 20th century, and was seen as life-negating. How can we help promote a new asceticism that is life-embracing, that calls us to the athlete’s ideal of ‘no pain, no gain’ – a positive view of sacrifice as foregoing something good for the sake of something better?

All major world religions have taught about the dangers of materialism, especially its detrimental effect on the spiritual life. In 1986 the World Wildlife Fund sponsored a gathering of global religious leaders interested in the common religious concern to celebrate the sacredness of nature. This meeting produced the Assisi Declarations including statements from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism – all agreeing that nature is a gift to be honored and respected, and that a human attitude of rapacious greed towards nature is not only morally sinful but a threat to all living beings and the earth itself.

So at least on this subject these religions are finding some important common ground. New doors to greater inter-religious dialogue have been opened and hopefully their unity in this area might lead to greater unity in areas of conflict and strife. Sometimes warring parties can set aside their differences because of a common cause. While the roots of conflict in places like the Middle East go deep, one could dream about a time like that cited in the last chapter of the Bible:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life … on either side of the river is the tree of life … producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there anymore. (Rev 22:1-3)

What will it take to bring us to that point – to a world of rivers bringing the water of life to all – life, not death! And a world where there’s enough food for everyone’s need as the trees of life produce fruit. And those leaves of the trees for the healing of the nations – what could that mean? We pray and long for a healing of the nations, and it’s significant that the last chapter of the Bible tells us that the leaves of trees will play a part in that. Just as in the first chapter of the Bible when God says: See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. (Gen 1:29) – human beings are called upon to cherish and protect the earth which God made to nurture all its creatures. The first two Millennium Development Goals set out by the UN in 2000 were: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, and achieve universal primary education; and while we’ll likely miss the 2015 original target for their achievement, compassion calls for their ongoing pursuit.

Consciously moving away from so many forces of greed in our culture, may we grow in our awareness of all our interconnections so that our compassion reaches around all of God’s earth, to all God’s creatures.

Rev. Dr. Adela D. Torchia
Parish of St David and St Paul 6310 Sycamore Street Powell River, British Columbia

Rarely does the convergence of political responsibility, Indigenous Rights, and ecosystem benefit converge in such a dramatic and urgent way

The following is a press release detailing a letter from 14 religious and 7 Indigenous leaders calling on American President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to begin work toward modernizing the Columbia River Treaty. The treaty addresses the governing of water resources to promote economic growth, wealth, and happiness for the citizens of these nations. Canadian National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald is among the signatories.Columbia_dams_map

RELEASE

Today religious and indigenous leaders urged President Obama and Prime Minister Harper to start negotiations to modernize the Columbia River Treaty. Both nations need to work together to right historic wrongs and promote water stewardship in the face of climate change. The letter, signed by 14 religious leaders and 7 indigenous leaders representing nearly all Tribes and First Nations in the Columbia Basin, transmitted a Declaration on Ethics and modernizing the Columbia River Treaty as a foundation for international negotiations.

“The Declaration speaks very clearly of how important and critical it is for there to be justice to correct the many years of injustice to the Native people of the Columbia Basin, including the First Nations of Canada,” said Matt Wynne, Chairman of the Upper Columbia United Tribes. “Religious and indigenous leaders coming together to sign and support this declaration underscores that the future of the Columbia River is not just a political, but a moral issue. Native Americans suffered the greatest losses and the most damage as a result of not being included in the first negotiations leading up to the 1964 Treaty. It helps keep my spirit strong knowing that our struggle for justice and stewardship of the river carries so much faith-based support.”

“Rarely does the convergence of political responsibility, Indigenous Rights, and ecosystem benefit converge in such a dramatic and urgent way,” said Bishop Mark MacDonald, the Anglican Church of Canada’s first National Indigenous Anglican Bishop. “A modernized treaty for the Columbia River is an opportunity for all the peoples of the Columbia – and the great system of life which is the River ecosystem – to walk through to a new day of justice and well-being.”

The Declaration on Ethics and Modernizing the Columbia River Treaty sets forth eight principles for modernizing the Columbia River Treaty that include respecting indigenous rights, protecting and restoring healthy ecosystems with abundant fish and wildlife populations, and providing fish passage to all historical locations.

“Our Tribal and First Nation communities in both Canada and the United States have fundamentally relied on Salmon as our life source,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Chair of the Okanagan Nation Alliance. “As Elders have stated ‘we are salmon people.’ The unilateral and ignorant actions of the U.S. power authorities blocking our salmon in the 1930s with dam construction followed a few decades later by turning our Upper Columbia watershed into industrial storage reservoirs has devastated our Lands, Fisheries and gravely impacted our culture and communities.”

“The original Columbia River Treaty was signed with no input from the original inhabitants of the land,” said Kathryn Teneese, Ktunaxa Nation Council Chair. “Traditional ways of life in the Columbia Basin were radically altered forever. It is important that we recognize the mistakes of the past so that we may focus on the future. We must work together across territories and boundaries to build a new Columbia River Treaty that includes restoring salmon to the upper Columbia as a priority.”

Political leaders in Ottawa and Washington D.C. have not taken a position on the renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty. Federal agencies within the United States have recommended that the United States and Canada “develop a modernized framework for the Treaty that ensures a more resilient and healthy ecosystem-based function throughout the Columbia River Basin while maintaining an acceptable level of flood risk and assuring reliable and economic hydropower benefits.” All four Northwest states, 15 Columbia Basin tribes, fishermen and environmentalists support that recommendation.

British Columbia provincial officials released their draft recommendation in March of 2014. Their recommendation was that the Treaty be renewed and that changes occur within the existing framework. The B.C. Province maintains that ecosystem values are currently an important consideration and that they should continue to be a consideration, as well as adaptation to climate change, in Treaty planning and implementation. The federal government in Ottawa that will negotiate with the United States has not yet issued Canada’s recommendations on the Treaty.

“The hard work needed to address these historical injustices is reflected in the strong unity that this group represents,” continued Grand Chief Phillip. “In Canada, We have the wind at our back with the recent supreme court of Canada’s Tsilhqot’in decision that paves the way for the broad recognition of our inherent title to our lands. The time is now for reconciliation that will support our stewardship responsibility for the salmon and passage into the upper Columbia. It’s an ethical and moral decision for the governments of Canada and the United States to do the right thing.”

Added Bishop MacDonald, “There is no doubt that a modernized Treaty restoring the Columbia River to health and returning salmon to ancestral spawning waters would transform discussions of environment, Indigenous Rights, and the future of sustainable life around the world. The churches, who have always rhetorically aspired to walk with Indigenous Peoples, have a chance, in this opportunity, to walk with Indigenous Peoples in a movement towards just and sustainable life for all.”

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT OF LETTER AT anglican.us1.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=d120aa8efc4112c7cae41108e&id=9f9b7200da&e=3a5a6fdfd9

FULL ARTICLE with background and LINKS at http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=d120aa8efc4112c7cae41108e&id=5099195cc2&e=3a5a6fdfd9

 

GARDENS4BEES – Church-going bees, who’d have thought . . .

bees

Murray Hunter, Diocese of Huron, Enviro-Action member
Article from the Ontario from the Ontario Bee Journal, May-June 2014

Beekeepers have found surprising new allies across Southwestern Ontario, in the form of ten Anglican parishes, who are transforming their church gardens into gardens for the bees.

Funding comes from the London Community Foundation through the Julia Hunter Fund, whose mission is to support public gardens. The Project emerges from a simple idea: a church can be seen as an organized group of volunteers who control land.

Many churches have a concept of stewardship of the earth, but these ten are bringing this ancient concept into today’s world to meet today’s urgent needs.

A subsidy to start the garden, a chance at a financial prize to encourage excellence, and a Bee Fest celebration to wrap it up – there is the project in a nutshell.

One church is laying out a garden with the paths in the shape of the diagonal St. Andrew’s cross. At another, Rogation Day (May 25) will feature the usual outdoor procession, but after each of the nine traditional prayers, someone will dig in a pollen-source plant. A London parish is hosting a major fundraiser to propel the project into the future and to a wider audience.

Partnership support has been outstanding. The World Wildlife Fund is supplying each site with WWF-branded butterfly-weed seed for each site; a Nature Conservancy staffer is helping as judge and adviser, and Lee Valley Tools is supplying plant markers to make tours easier.

There are still lots of ways for beekeepers to show support for this worthwhile effort. Speakers at events, participation at Bee Fest, gifts in kind, donations to silent auctions – or simply contacting your local Anglican parish anywhere from Windsor to Owen Sound to Brantford.

Contact: murray_hunter@sympatico.ca
Twitter: Gardens4Bees

A Pastoral Message on Climate Change

A Pastoral Message on Climate Change

The following Pastoral Message on Climate Change has been issued by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori with the heads for the Anglican Church of Canada, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the  Evangelical

September 19, 2014

We are united as Christian leaders in our concern for the well-being of our neighbors and of God’s good creation that provides life and livelihood for all God’s creatures. Daily we see and hear the evidence of a rapidly changing climate. Glaciers are disappearing, the polar ice cap is melting, and sea levels are rising. Incidents of pollution created dead zones in seas and the ocean and toxic algae growth in water supplies are occurring with greater frequency. Most disturbingly, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising at an unprecedented rate. At the same time we also witness in too many instances how the earth’s natural beauty, a sign of God’s wonderful creativity, has been defiled by pollutants and waste.

Many have reacted to these changes with grief and anger. In their outrage some have understandably focused on the neglect and carelessness, both in private industry and in government regulation, that have contributed to these changes. However, an honest accounting requires a recognition that we all participate both as consumers and investors in economies that make intensive and insistent demands for energy. In addition, as citizens we have chosen to support or acquiesce in policies that shift the burdens of climate change to communities that are most vulnerable to its effects. People who are already challenged by poverty and by dislocation resulting from civil war or famine have limited resources for adapting to climate change’s effects.

While an accounting of climate change that has credibility and integrity must include our own repentance, we find our hope in the promise of God’s own faithfulness to the creation and humankind and in the liberation that comes from God’s promise.

God, who made the creation and made it good, has not abandoned it. Daily the Spirit continues to renew the face of the earth. All who care for the earth and work for the restoration of its vitality can be confident that they are not pursuing a lost cause. We serve in concert with God’s own creative and renewing power.

Moreover, we need not surrender to political ideologies and other modern mythologies that would divide us into partisan factions — deserving and undeserving, powerless victims and godless oppressors. In Christ we have the promise of a life where God has reconciled the human community. In Christ God sets us free from the captivity of blaming and shaming. God liberates us for shared endeavors where we find each other at our best.

While the challenge may seem daunting, the Spirit’s abundant gifts for service empower us to find common cause with people who exercise countless insights and skills, embodied in hundreds of occupations and trades. We have good reason to hope in all the ways God’s grace is at work among us. We can commend ourselves to the work before us with confidence in God’s mercy.

Opportunities to act imaginatively and courageously abound in all our individual callings. The Holy Spirit’s work in us leads us as faithful consumers and investors in a global economy to make responsible choices to reduce energy use, carbon emissions, and the wasteful consumption of water and other natural resources. As citizens, we have voices to use in educating children about the climate and in shaping public and corporate policies that affect the environment. The Spirit has also given us our voices to contribute our witness to public discussion of just and responsible use of natural resources.

We also have the resources and responsibility to act together for the common good, especially for those most vulnerable to the effect of climate change in the spirit of the seventh Millennium Development Goal, “to ensure environmental stability”. World leaders will meet this month in New York for a Climate Summit, and in December in Lima, Peru, to discuss global cooperation on climate change. Working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), participants in the UNFCCC’s negotiations hope for an agreement in 2015 that will move toward reduction of carbon emissions, development of low carbon technologies, and assistance to populations most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate.

We encourage you to take the initiative to engage decision-makers in this godly work in all arenas of public life — in government and business, in schools and civic organizations, in social media and also in our church life.

We are not powerless to act and we are not alone. “We have the power of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling Spirit of Christ to give us hope and courage.”i

The present moment is a critical one, filled with both challenge and opportunity to act as faithful individuals and churches in solidarity with God’s good creation.

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

 

Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Presiding Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz

Primate

Anglican Church of Canada

 

Bishop Susan Johnson

National Bishop

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Celebrate the Season of Creation

Greetings friends as we continue through Pentecost Season together. In both hemispheres, the seasons will shortly change and we are freshly reminded of God’s glorious handiwork in our various environments. For God’s beautiful creation, and for our place within creation, let us be thankful together.

One way to express our thanks is through our worship, no less so through the Season of Creation. There are many creation-themed resources now published online for the season of creation. A resolution from the last Anglican Consultative Council invited all provinces in the communion to consider establishing a season of creation within their liturgical calendars. To support this initiative many provinces, denominations and individual authors have created some wonderful rites for our use.

Yes, in many Anglican provinces, permission is required from a local bishop before proceeding so proceed with respectful caution. That said, where flexibility is permitted, even encouraged, many of these rites contain resources of music, prayer, homilies, contextual introduction, audio-video presentations and Eucharistic rites for your consideration.

1) The Church of the Province of Southern Africa has published its third assembly of rites, Season of Creation 3. Goto http://www.greenanglicans.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Season-of-Creation-Three.pdf

Organized thematically it includes material relating to:

• Climate change
• Eco-justice
• Water
• Creation and Redemption
• Biodiversity
• St Francis Day

Each section has Sermon notes, Collect for the day and liturgical materials.

General Seasonal liturgical materials include:

• Eucharistic prayers
• Final blessings
• Benedicite Africana (Song of Creation)
• Penitence
• Prayers for the land
• The taking of the bread and wine
• Creeds
• Blessings
• Peace sentences
• Candlelighting
• Songs

2) An ecumenical website Let All Creation Praise which is based in N. America with connections internationally hosts a huge variety of resources from Lutheran, Episcopal/Anglican, United Church and other denominational sources.

The 2014 four-week cycle SPIRIT SERIES looks intriguing and useful.

http://www.letallcreationpraise.org/united-states-ecumenical/spirit-series-a

Through a four-week cycle congregations experience Forest, Land, Wilderness and River Sundays. There are two liturgies for each week with other resources sprinkled throughout the many webpages.

3) The World Council of Churches has gathered a number of resources and links in many languages at http://www.oikoumene.org/en/what-we-do/climate-change/time-for-creation

Note in particular sermon notes from Churches Together In Britain and Ireland and Worship resources for the four Sundays produced by Eco Congregation Scotland on behalf of the Church of Scotland.

4) Finally, Christian Concern for One World has assembled a staggering number of resources, some current, some from previous years. It’s all good stuff and deserves a careful examination. The link document is organized thus: (some material is duplicated above)
• Time for Creation: Worship Resources
• For the Love of …
• Oceans of Justice Campaign
• Hope for the Future
• Fossil Fuels: Divestment and Engagement
• Hunger for Justice
• Fast and Pray for the Climate

The link document can be accessed at http://www.ccow.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/CCOW-Guide-to-Time-for-Creation-2014.pdf

As mentioned above, there is no shortage of material for the creative worship planner as we seek to share our enthusiasm for God’s creation.

Grace and compassion to all, Ken Gray+