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+

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Creation Care and Baptism in the Anglican Church of Canada

Covenant and care–a baptismal promise to safeguard creation

Jesse Hair, Anglican Church of Canada

September 06, 2013 –

Stef Thomas on Flickr

“Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth?”

“I will, with God’s help.”

With the passing of resolution C001 at this year’s General Synod, these words were added to the baptismal covenant in the Book of Alternative Services (BAS) as the ninth question of the “covenant inquiry.”

Though it quotes directly from the fifth Mark of Mission (part of a framework used to describe and encourage ministry throughout the worldwide Anglican Communion), the addition to the baptismal covenant comes from a grassroots movement in the church.

“Sometimes the national church catches up with what’s going on at the grassroots level, and in some ways that’s what’s happened with this,” says the Very Rev. Louise Peters, dean of Kamloops cathedral in the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior, and mover of the resolution.

“This came from families and young people and adults who were coming to receive baptism, wanted and needed something more, and were asking about our role as stewards of creation. It reflects what the church has been exploring for the last 30 to 40 years—the understanding that to be faithful as Christians and as God’s created beings is to be co-stewards with God.

“There is an enthusiasm out there [for the addition]. In casual conversations I’ve had with people, it’s been ‘Well, absolutely-that makes sense.’ We’ve been having those conversations for quite some time.”

The official process of incorporating this language into the baptismal covenant began with a motion by Peters at 2010’s General Synod, asking that Synod direct Faith, Worship, and Ministry (FWM) to consider the best way to include language recognizing the imperative to care for creation, and to make a recommendation to General Synod in 2013.

In the interim, FWM formed a working group that considered baptismal liturgies from other churches, from other provinces in the Anglican Communion, and read them aloud to each other.

“This is language that needs to be heard and spoken as well as read,” says the Very Rev. Peter Wall, seconder of the 2013 resolution and dean of Niagara.

In the course of this reading, the working group found that there was significant emphasis on creation care in provincial rites from around the world. This year, FWM brought a resolution to General Synod recommending an addition to the baptismal covenant based on the fifth Mark of Mission.

“We had a number of different options in terms of how to look at the language,” says Peters. “We felt that the Mark of Mission, adapted, was the most appropriate. It says it the most succinctly, and also connects us with the Anglican Communion.

“In 40 years the language will be clunky, because language changes. But for now, it’s elegant, it’s articulate, it names what needs to be named in terms of living out our responsibility as Christians in relationship to all of life.”

Naming—and taking up—that responsibility is already a way of life in the Diocese of Niagara.

“We’re doing some really aggressive work in this diocese in matters environmental,” says Wall. “This [addition] actually says it out loud, and requires the people who are participating in the baptism—which is the assembled people of God in the congregation-to actually think about that. To even just make people think about it is a really important thing for us to do.”

HOW WILL YOU CELEBRATE THE SEASON OF CREATION THIS YEAR?

The Season of Creation is an optional season for the church year. For the most part, the seasons of the church year follow the life of Jesus: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter. The remainder of the church year encompasses Pentecost Season, which celebrates life in the Holy Spirit. Of course, there are many special days and occasional services throughout the calendar of the church year, such as Christ the King Sunday and Rogation Day. God is celebrated throughout the entire church year. And God the creator, Christ the redeemer of creation, and the Holy Spirit as sustainer of life are integral to worship throughout the church year. We hope that caring for creation is a vital dimension of every worship service.

Goto http://seasonofcreation.com/  for a wonderful array of information and resources for use in a variety of settings.