Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Advent Devotional Introduction

                         Introducing PEC's 2020 Advent Devotional 

Isaiah 55:10-11

For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Advent comes at a time when night’s darkness grows deeper and longer as the Earth leans farther away from the sun’s light. However, there is a point near the end of December when all of this starts to change, when darkness begins to recede and light comes again. Astronomically, we understand this to be the Winter Solstice, the longest night in the Northern Hemisphere after which the Earth begins to tilt back towards the sun and the days begin to grow longer.

But we aren’t a people that celebrate the solstice or the subtle teetering of the planet. No, we recognize the approach of a different light, a different kind of cosmological revolution. At the darkest time of the year, Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus, the birth of the Word made flesh (John 1:14), and we all know what comes after that. We are then doubly assured that this time of darkness is not permanent. Just as the Earth begins its slow lean forward towards the sun, so too does the birth of Jesus assure us that the grip of death is not permanent, that there will be a time when the sun’s warmth will burst through and usher in a new day where we won’t have to stumble forward in uncertainty and fear. “Arise, shine; for your light has come... For darkness shall cover the earth...but the Lord will arise upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2)

But life doesn’t work so simply. After all, this is not the first Advent-Christmas or Winter Solstice we have lived through. And as much as people might hope 2021 will be better, there is no guarantee that the problems we are facing now will magically disappear once the calendars flip over. Just because the light is here does not mean our problems vanish. No, the light just helps us see what needs to be done so that justice, mercy, and love can flow like flooded rivers (Micah 6:8). After all, Jesus Christ did not change the arc of history by simply being born. The power of Jesus lay in what he did, in his actions, in his ministry amongst the people.

And so, I turn to this year’s Advent scripture: Isaiah 55:10-11. Just as the rain does not return to the heavens until it has also watered the earth, neither can we simply hear God’s word and ignore what it tells us to do. 2020 was not just a year of natural disaster, pandemic and hardship; it was a year when so many voices cried out, pleading to the heavens and to anyone else who could hear, that enough is enough. We have heard so many cries. We ourselves have cried.

Just as Jesus, the Word incarnate, came and did that which God the Creator sent him to do, so too must we hear the words that so many have cried out over the past several months and do what they ask. As instruments of God’s justice and mercy in this world, how can we sit idly hearing these cries for help from our siblings and not rise up to meet them? Will we let the word of God and God’s people rain down and water the fields in our heart or will we let our land remain dry and fallow? For only when God’s word accomplishes and succeeds for that which God purposes will the mountains and hills burst into song and will we be able to go out in joy (Isaiah 55:12).

The writings in this devotional are just a small sample of the different voices that are crying out at this time. As you make your way through and finish the devotional, I invite you to not only let the words sink into your hearts, but to try and find the voices and stories not represented in this collection and listen to what they have to say.

To the glory of God, Amen.


Jonathan Lee is a second year Masters of Divinity student at Yale Divinity School. Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Jonathan’s faith and love for God’s Creation were simultaneously cultivated during a time in the Maine woods. In addition to considering a career in ordained ministry, Jonathan is interested in environmental and Asian American theologies. He is currently serving as Presbyterians for Earth Care’s Programming and Learning Fellow.


Waterfall photo by David Kepley

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Earth Friendly ways to Celebrate Advent and Christmas

 GREEN Ways to Celebrate Advent & Christmas, Save Energy, and Care for Creation in 2020

 

GIFT GIVING

1.Holiday gifting and gathering is complicated by Covid-19 this year. Best information about how to safely celebrate: www.cdc.gov   COVID-19: Holiday Celebrations/CDC

 

2. Look for fair-trade and/or locally made goods. Choose organic, natural materials, and avoid plastics. Help cut down the TONS of extra holiday garbage by recycling, reusing or doing without gift wrap (or wrap with scarf, a towel, fabric). In general, consider simplifying stuff and clearing clutter all the ways you can.

 

3. Give the gift of time: call, send cards, invite a “facetime” or ZOOM with homebound members of your church or far-flung family members & friends. Simplify gift giving (one idea: drawing names and deciding on a limit to spend; re-gifting is fine, just be thoughtful about original giver; festive wine? bottles are recyclable)

 

4. Give a charitable gift like Heifer International: provide honeybees to water buffalo, in your giftee's name: see catalog and ordering info at www.heifer.org/

 

5. Support local and national/world eco-justice organizations like Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 350.org, Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC), and especially for young people—Our Children’s Trust.

 

6. For holiday meals, cook seasonal foods raised locally, i.e., farmers’ markets, CSAs: popcorn, fruit & nuts, all of which can be composted or used for bird seed afterward.

 

BIRDS

7. Decorating a tree for birds is a good holiday activity, and diverse edible bird foods attract different birds: Your food helps them survive over the winter.

 

8. Annual Christmas Day Bird Count - Take your binoculars, a field guide to local birds, a small pad or journal for each participant and walk a course through your neighborhood, local park or countryside. Try to identify and count every bird you see and note each in your journal. At the end of the hike, list species seen and number of birds per species. There’s always surprises, and the activity highlights the presence and value of our feathered friends.

 

ENERGY

9. As you decorate your home, replace some of your incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs; invest in a timer for outdoor displays. LED (light emitting diode) holiday lights use up to 95% less than larger, traditional holiday bulbs & last up to 100,000 hours indoors. Over a 30-day period, lighting 500 traditional holidays lights costs $18.00 while the same number of LED lights costs $0.19. 

 

 

ACTIVITIES

10. Walk outdoors and enjoy the change of seasons

11. Practice a random act of kindness at least once a week

12. Make home-baked bread, decorated cookies, etc. with friends or family.

 

BOOKS & WRITING

13. A great link for creation-caring books for children: “Children’s Lit Love”—a former 3rd grade teacher, now mother of 2 shares book recommendations & literacy tips https://childrenslitlove.com/2020/04/09/earth-day-books-to-read-year-round/

         OR Google up: “Holiday 2020 books for adults & children about Earth care”

         OR All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, & Solutions for the Climate Crisis (2020):

         visionary essays & poems by 50 women leaders in the climate movement. 

14. Send Christmas cards to your Senators and Representatives and urge their pro-environment vote on bills in the New Year & write to President-elect Biden too!

15. Gather a small group to read the Bible and pray together during Advent, think about ways you connect Advent to energy use and caring for creation.

 

Submitted by Church of Reconciliation Earth Care Committee, coordinated by Nancy Corson Carter

 

 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Green your Church

 Starting and Sustaining an Earth Care Team at Your Church 

Do you want your church to be better at caring for God's creation? PEC has been listening to your needs and prepared a Guide to Starting a Church Earth Care Team. Whether you are interested in starting an earth care team for your church or re-energizing an existing team, this guide is for you. Starting an earth care team at your church is just the beginning. Keeping it going is the real challenge. The Guide has five goals to help you start an Earth Care Team and sustain it at your church:

  • Form a Congregational Earth Care Team. This is actually not as big as it sounds. It is a pre-meeting step - before your first Earth Care Team meeting - for a few people to decide on what the team’s purpose should be and to recruit others.  
  • Meet as a Congregational Earth Care Team. In your first meeting, describe your purpose, develop a mission statement, set a goal(s), and decide on a name to help you communicate with others and recruit them to join your team.
  • Schedule Activities and Events. When deciding on an activity or event, be sure to identify and delegate tasks so that one person isn’t responsible for doing everything. Not only does this lessen the load but it involves members so there is more support for what you are doing.
  • Evaluate your efforts. Periodically review your successes and challenges to identify your strengths and weaknesses and make plans to do better.
  • Publicize your accomplishments. Use church, presbytery and local communication channels to report on what your team has done so others will understand what your team does and may be motivated to join. 

Each of the goals comes with at least six suggested activities to help earth care teams come up with their own ideas. Most of them can easily be done virtually during a pandemic. Also included in the guide is a short list of resources that provide additional information. 

Go to the PEC Church Earth Care Teams webpage to download the Guide. You can also view the video of PEC’s Greening Your Church webinar and PowerPoint presentation. Two churches, one large and one small, that presented on the webinar provided handouts that are available on the Church Earth Care Teams webpage. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email pec@presbyearthcare.org.
 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Meet PEC's First Intern

                                        Introducing PEC's First Intern 

Hello! My name is Jonathan Lee and I am Presbyterians for Earth Care’s Programming and Learning Fellow, i.e. the intern, for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021. I’ve been at in this position for the past several months now (some of you might have met me in the monthly PECT calls), and it’s about time for me to introduce myself to the larger PEC community. 

A little bit of background about myself first: I was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, I graduated from Davidson College with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Religion, and I am currently in the 2nd year of my Masters of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School. I enjoy cooking for myself, reading up on comic books, and have recently begun enjoying the world of vinyl music thanks to a recently inherited LP collection. 

I always had a particular curiosity for how I could apply environmental activism and sustainability into my faith and church community. My education and realization of the importance of environmental issues had grown concurrently with the maturation of my faith as I learned more about God’s wonderful Creation during a semester-long high school program along the Maine coast. This originally manifested as a passion for environmental sustainability, which I carried into my time at Davidson as a student worker for the campus’ sustainability office and campus farm. I then devoted my senior year capstone to researching how local Christian congregations were responding to environmental issues. This project introduced me to the PCUSA Earth Care Congregations program and connected me with current PEC moderator, Dennis Testerman. Dennis and I kept in touch over the years when this past summer I reached out asking if he would be interested in having a virtual intern for the fall and spring season. He replied with a yes, and so with the blessing of my seminary I started to work for and get to know the PEC community.
 
I am so excited for this opportunity to learn while working with Presbyterians for Earth Care. I am still actively hoping for a career related to environmentalism in some fashion post-Yale Divinity, and so I see this as an opportunity to learn more about what environmental advocacy within the church world would be like. This opportunity is also a chance for me to learn more about the PCUSA’s inner machinations. As an Inquirer for ordination in the PCUSA church, I believe this is a great chance for me get a better sense for how the denomination as a whole operates and how I might one day be able to continue my environmental advocacy through the denomination. 

Though brief, I hope all of this has given a fuller picture of who I am and what I hope to do during my time with PEC. I’m looking forward to learning more while with PEC and interacting with all of you beyond this written format. 
 
Thanks,
Jonathan

Thursday, October 1, 2020

2020 Earth Care Award Winners Announced

PEC Honors Three Award Winners at 25th Anniversary Celebration

Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC) celebrated 25 years of connecting, equipping and inspiring Presbyterians to make caring for creation a central concern of the church on September 29. At the virtual celebration, PEC recognized two deserving individuals and one organization for their exceptional environmental achievements. The William Gibson Eco-Justice Award was presented to the Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, a GreenFaith Director for Latin America and Florida. Michelle Peedin received the Emerging Earth Care Leader Award for a young adult, and Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock received the Restoring Creation Award for an organization.
 
Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, William Gibson Eco-Justice Award
Dr. Astudillo is a Venezuelan American, eco-theologian and Presbyterian pastor, who coordinates GreenFaith’s outreach to Latin American and the US Latino faith communities. She has taught eco-theology courses at seminaries in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and the US, been published in “Working Preacher and Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet” and is co-author of “God’s Earth is Sacred: Essays on Eco-Justice.” In 2017, she coordinated GreenFaith’s Convergence in Rio de Janeiro with Latin American multi-faith partners. She continues to lead and teach people of faith from around the world at COP meetings and has been a fierce advocate of decolonizing eco-theology so that people from all over the world can participate in our shared work to love the earth. Dr. Astudillo has done all of this work from a place of faith and love, inviting people of faith to love the earth with their whole selves.
 
Michelle Peedin, Emerging Earth Care Leader Award
Michelle Peedin is a leader in advocacy on behalf of farmworkers and climate change and in her efforts to organize and involve youth. Michelle is NC Council of Churches Program Coordinator for Partners in Health and Wholeness and co-director of Youth Leaders Initiative, a group of high school youth committed to climate justice within their communities and congregations. She is the President of the Board of LILA Latinx LGBTQ+ Initiative. Michelle also serves as an advisor to the United Church of Chapel Hill, NC youth group and volunteers with Student Action for Farmworkers. Michelle has worked educating congregations about the science of climate change, social justice issues related to climate change, the benefits of renewable energy and solar power, and the importance of sustainable food movements. 
 
Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock, Arkansas, Restoring Creation Award
Second Presbyterian is a founding Earth Care Congregation of the PC(USA) and has developed one of the most comprehensive church creation care programs in the country. The Environmental Stewardship Committee and volunteer sustainability coordinator oversee extensive programming on a variety of environmental topics including climate change, sustainable living, ethical eating, recycling, waste and water conservation issues. In addition, Second Presbyterian has installed solar panels and EV charging stations, maintains a church-wide composting/recycling program, hosts a weekly farmer's market in the church parking lot, and holds collection events for a Habitat for Humanity resale store among other initiatives.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Celebrate 25 years with PEC

 Presbyterians for Earth Care Celebrates 25 Years 

September 29, 1:00 PM Eastern
REGISTER HERE

"There is always an element of sadness in celebration. We cannot celebrate without alluding to it, because there are people on this earth of ours who are not celebrating, who are despairing, anguished, starving and mourning. That is why all celebration, which is like a great "Alleluia" and song of thanksgiving, should end with a moment of silence in which we remember before God all those who cannot celebrate." --Jean Vanier, "Community and Growth"
 
Presbyterians for Earth Care is 25 years old this year! Have you noticed our new logo?  Will there be a celebration? We’re glad you asked. The answer is, “Yes!” 


        

As we embarked on a new year back in January, we were dreaming of celebrating this milestone anniversary at the 224th PC (USA) General Assembly in Baltimore during our annual luncheon and awards presentation. Then came the global pandemic. Followed by a national reckoning that ensued as we were simultaneously forced to face the truth about another disease—structural and systemic racism.
 
Presbyterians for Earth Care was born for a time such as this. And we are stronger because of YOU! You don’t need to look any further than the recipients of our annual awards this year. The William Gibson Eco-Justice Lifetime Achievement Award bears the name of a leader who was involved with the organization we now know as Presbyterians for Earth Care from its beginning in 1995. As someone who served with Bill on the taskforce that created the seminal policy statement on “Restoring Creation for Ecology and Justice” adopted by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1990, I can attest to the fact that Bill would be proud of the individual receiving the award this year. We will also present the Emerging Earth Care Leader Award and the Restoring Creation Award to a deserving individual and a group, respectively.
 
Come, you who are young. Come, you who are young at heart. Come, all you who are concerned about the future of our nation as Election Day approaches. Come, you who are experiencing environmental grief as a changing climate fuels forest fires, destroying lives and property in the American West and in the Amazon region of Brazil.

RSVP and join our virtual celebration during this Season of Creation on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 1 pm ET. Rev. Rebecca Barnes, Coordinator of the Presbyterian Hunger Program, former Presbyterians for Earth Care coordinator and author of “50 Ways to Help Save the Earth: How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference” will be our guest speaker.

Come and celebrate the abundance of Creation! Come and celebrate love! Come and celebrate hope!

 

--Dennis Testerman, Moderator
Presbyterians for Earth Care


Friday, September 11, 2020

A Commentary: I Can't Breathe

I Can’t Breathe

A Commentary

If I had to sum up this year of 2020 among the first words that come to mind are: “I can’t breathe”.   We have seen and heard too many people utter these words. 

 

I can’t breathe.  In May, a Black man from Minneapolis, George Floyd, uttered those words as he was restrained by a police team, with the air literally pressed out of him:  I can’t breathe.  


The result was a wave of protests on a massive scale – some violent, most not…that have continued to surge with each new shooting of a Black human being – most by local police.  And once more Anglo, White, Euro Americans have been confronted by American’s embedded racism.


I can’t breathe.  Words uttered by thousands of people this year being placed on a ventilator, trying to provide enough time for the body to do its healing.  Think back to January, February and March and the COVID-19 virus that exploded into a global pandemic.  Early on, the daily news told stories of those who caught it, avoided, it, survived it, and died from it.  Through the summer and fall we’ve watched the virus recede only to surge again, as we wait for a successful vaccine.  To date globally (October 13, 2020) over 38.1 million people have contracted the virus and 1,000,000+ have succumbed to it.   


I can’t breathe.  Words spoken by employers and employees alike as businesses were shut down in response to the stay at home, lock the borders, quarantine orders.  The economic recession has crushed workers’ bank accounts and dreams, especially those who are part of our small business community.  They have gone underwater, or nearly so.  And millions more of us have sunk below the poverty level.   Help – I’m drowning.  I can’t…


I can’t breathe, Planet Earth has been telling us this for decades.  And then, in a bit of irony, Earth has been breathing a bit easier this year.  The stay at home orders have forced a different lifestyle in which we have been driving less, flying less, using less carbon-based oil and…putting less carbon dioxide into our very thin (62 miles) atmosphere.  But with our rush to re-open beaches and businesses, to reward ourselves with unmasked, mass gathering parties, to return to our former “normal”, it won’t last.  Earth’s temperatures keep rising (July was the hottest month ever recorded), and with that we all will have an increasingly difficult time breathing and Earth will keep groaning.


Rising temperatures have consequences, and not simply about the air we breathe.  As Earth’s climate becomes increasingly unstable, both animals and humans will face more and more heat waves, droughts, fires, floods, hurricanes, rising seas, economic crises and frankly, even more pandemics when thousand-year old frozen bacteria will be released as polar ice continues to melt.  We’re trapped between responding to today’s crises and anticipating tomorrow’s.  


Well, the God of Creation has some things to say to us.


Recognize that the impact of this year has affected us unevenly.   The poor, people of color, the marginalized, the sick, the elderly and the young whom we are supposed to protect have suffered the most.   Some have lost their lives. 


Recognize that thinking globally while living locally offers a healing power.  There’s a call to use the resources closest to us first, to be satisfied with enough.


Recognize that Earth is less and less able to absorb the consequences of our excessive, greedy, and short-sighted lifestyles.  Quit treating Planet Earth as our hospitality suite and become Earth’s partners for a sustainable future.


Remember that Life on this planet is not simply about breathing, but about connecting with others.  God expects us to respect, learn from, treat fairly all of Life here, to confront our prejudices against other people and other forms of Life…and to change our ways.  The best of this Life focuses primarily on the common good.


Finally, for those of us who are more fortunate, more secure and have suffered less…there are two God-given charges.  First, we with more are called to share more with those who have suffered more.  …with more of our time, energy, ingenuity, financial resources …to ease the pain and offer hope.  Second, we with more are called to imagine and build a future that is fairer, more just, and better prepared to face the pain that comes with continued rising temperatures.  Educating, Teaching, Planning Ahead. Holding Elected Leaders Accountable for their Actions and their Inaction.  


What a gift we could give each other if, as we approach the end of this year, we all were making this kind of turning.  The result?   More and more of us breathing easy.

 




Dave Wasserman, Rev. Dr., HR

Living in Taos, New Mexico

Copyright 2020, David H Wasserman

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Citizen Voices Make a Difference

 Taking Action for Public Lands in Utah 
Citizen Voices Make a Difference

This spring, Presbyterians for Earth Care became a member of the Utah Wilderness Coalition (UWC) www.protectwildutah.org, to join the national movement to protect 8.2 million acres of outstanding public lands in Utah as wilderness. Wilderness areas are important for spiritual renewal and remind us to practice humility in our relationship with God’s creation. Wild areas give glory to God in especially powerful ways. Why do the wild lands in Utah need help from groups like PEC throughout the country? Just a few of the reasons include:  

-Spectacular wilderness quality lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), many of which that surround National Parks like Canyonlands, Arches and Capitol Reef are unprotected and threatened by off-road vehicle use, oil and gas leasing, harmful ‘vegetation treatments” that increase cattle forage, and more. 
- These lands belong to all Americans, not just Utahans. 
-Utah’s members of Congress are notoriously anti-conservation and pro-extraction, even though the majority of Utahans favor protecting their public lands. 
-There is a strong movement in Utah to put more federal lands under state control which would translate into poor management that favors extractive uses. 

For many years, Senator Durbin (D-IL) and Rep Lowenthal (D-CA) have been champions of the America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act (ARRWA) bill to protect Utah’s wilderness quality lands for ecosystem health,  cultural resources, recreation and climate protection. The bill has helped to protect new wilderness. In 2019, new wilderness areas were established in the San Rafael Swell because the lands in ARRWA provided a clear negotiation starting point for the Public Lands Management Act. The three lead national organizations in the UWC are Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA), National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club. SUWA supports a national grassroots network, and organizes advocacy opportunities. Here are SUWA’s key advocacy opportunities for September.  

Thank Your Member of Congress for Stopping Oil and Gas Leases Near National Parks

In early August, the Bureau of Land announced that it will NOT offer oil and gas leases on 87,000 acres of public wildlands in Utah’s red rock country.  This includes parcels of land near Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks, and Bears Ears National Monument, as well as parcels located on lands proposed for wilderness in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act.  This is a significant victory, and it is clearly in response to public outcry! 

 Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Representative Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) sent separate letters to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging against leasing on the 87,000 acres.  Fifteen Senators joined Durbin’s letter  and 32 colleagues joined Representative Lowenthal’s letter.

 To thank your Senator(s) and/or Representative(s), you can use this link.  Feel free to personalize the message. THANK YOUS really help elected folks to feel good about what they did, and encourages them to do more of the same!

As a reminder about how egregious this sale would have been, here is a map of the 87,000 acres that were originally proposed for lease: 



Demand Congressional Oversight of BLM’s Vegetation Removal Program  
The BLM is casting aside public and independent scientific scrutiny of massive vegetation clear cuts across the Interior West. Under the guise of watershed or habitat enhancement up to 10,000 acres of Pinion-Juniper forests can be turned to mulch using chaining and bull hog masticators.  SUWA provided a webinar on this issue that you can view here Contact your Member of Congress and demand Congressional oversight on the devastating Bureau of Land Management practice of vegetation removal: wildutah.info/VGFB! Learn how Trump’s rollbacks of the National Environmental Policy Act have help to expand the BLM vegetation removal program here: https://suwa.org/wild-utah-podcast-episode-16-defanging-nepa/


Write a Letter to the Editor on BLM’s Vegetation Removal Program 

It is important to get visibility in the media for this critical, underreported issue.  If you willing to write a letter to the editor, here are  Messaging Points. Send your draft to dave@suwa.org or terri@suwa.org and they will review it for accuracy.

Ask Your Members of Congress to Cosponsor America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, or Thank them for Doing So 

Although Congress is winding down before the election, you can thank your members of Congress for being a cosponsor of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act or ask them to cosponsor if they haven’t yet. See if your Member of Congress has cosponsored here. Use this link to ask them to cosponsor https://secure2.convio.net/suwa/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=753&_ga=2.120712584.1489378489.1599025977-207731736.1590644208

Even more important will be encouraging newly elected members to cosponsor in 2021 after the bill has been reintroduced. 

 Join the Utah Wilderness Coalition as a Congregation – Congregations and faith organizations are welcome to become members of the Utah Wilderness Coalition. There is no expense involved and your involvement as a faith community helps underline the vital moral and spiritual dimension of protecting public lands. Fill out the form at www.protectwildutah.org and an organizer will follow up with you. 


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Season of Creation Sept 1 - Oct 4



Jubilee for the Earth 

In Leviticus 25:8-12 we learn about “jubilee”, a year that came every 50 years. During the Jubilee year, property that had been taken for unpaid debts would be returned to the families who originally owned it. In addition, the land would rest and there would be no reaping, planting or harvesting; the fields would be open to everyone to eat whatever grew.

“Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope” is the theme of this year’s Season of Creation, September 1 – October 4. This is a very fitting theme for a year when COVID-19 social distancing and travel restrictions have upended our lives and lessened our impact on the earth. As we look forward to a time beyond COVID-19, “New Rhythms, New Hope” helps to center our thoughts on the direction in which we should be headed.

September 1 is chosen as the first day of the Season because it is the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. The Season ends on October 4, the Feast of St. Francis and the traditional day for the blessing of the animals.

The World Council of Churches offers a celebration guide for the 2020 Season of Creation. The guide is intended for you to learn about the Season and to help your church celebrate it. There are several resources for prayer, practice, action and advocacy, some that can be used virtually this Season. More can be accessed through their website.

Another website, Let All Creation Praise, offers scripture readings for years A, B, and C, liturgies, sermons and commentaries. The Season of Creation is an optional season for the church and an opportunity to emphasize God as Creator and our human obligation to care for the earth and all that is in it. Ideally, we would intentionally include elements of honoring God’s creation in every worship service and not just a few times during the year.
 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Trainings for Presbyterians to divest from fossil fuels

Learn How to Divest from Fossil Fuels

In this time of global uncertainty, it is still clear that God calls us to love God, each other, and all creation with our whole selves -- acknowledging that where our treasure is, there our hearts are also. Join us for two trainings on how to do that work through divestment from fossil fuels at a presbytery level and through individual pensions.
 
For the last seven years, we have focused on asking the General Assembly to vote in support of divesting the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation from fossil fuels. 
 
This year commissioners would have had a choice between divesting from three fossil fuel companies (Exxon, Marathon, and Valero) or from the industry as a whole. But, General Assembly did not take up this vote. Instead, commissioners were faced with the impossible task of meeting online to attempt to do the bare bones of the work of the church. The votes on divestment at the General Assembly level were postponed. 
 
We are taking the ask to divest from fossil fuels to presbyteries and hosting two trainings in the next month:
 
The first --on August 19-- will be an opportunity to join us for a conversation and training about how to work with your presbytery or congregation to divest from fossil fuels. Register here.
 
The second -- on September 2-- will be a time to organize to ask the BOP to offer a truly socially responsible fund. Register here.
 
Join us. Together we are for creation.
 
The rev. abby mohaupt is the moderator of Fossil Free PCUSA, a project of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship. With the steadfast support and collaboration of Presbyterians for Earth Care, FFPCUSA has spent the last 7 years organizing as part of the movement to divest from fossil fuels.