“As we live into a post-COVID-19 world, can we imagine new, just and sustainable ways of living that give the Earth the rest it requires, that satisfy everyone with enough, that restore habitats and renew biological diversity?”
September 1st marks the beginning of the Season of Creation, a period in the church year set aside for special and specific focus on the natural world and our relationship, as Christians, with it. It is a time for prayer and action – a global, ecumenical celebration, which has grown in uptake and impact year on year. It runs until October 4th, St Francis’ Day.
Season of Creation 2020
This year, the theme of the season is “Jubilee for the Earth”.
In their letter of invitation to join the Season of Creation, faith leaders write, “the Law of Moses included provisions for the Sabbath. On the seventh day of the week, God’s people were free from the need to produce or consume. The rest was extended to animals, and the land itself, honoring the Creator by allowing creation to rest. Following the seventh, seventh (49th) year, God’s people were to dedicate a year to this ecological, social and economic restorative justice. A Jubilee for the Earth.”
Obviously, this year’s celebration is being held in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is reflected in the Season of Creation materials and resources. The pandemic might also give us cause to pause and reflect. Amidst the enormous hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, many people have also reported some unexpected blessings: during lockdown – an enforced time of inactivity – skies cleared in places that were accustomed to the fog of pollution; community bonds and cohesion increased for a time. We have all been forced to find new ways of doing things and have seen how rapid societal adaptation and change are possible when there is good leadership, inspiring vision and a sense of common purpose. As we journey through the Season of Creation, perhaps we can take courage and hope from these experiences as we recommit to caring for our common home, which faces twin ecological and climate crises.
The faith leaders conclude, “As we live into a post-COVID-19 world, can we imagine new, just and sustainable ways of living that give the Earth the rest it requires, that satisfy everyone with enough, that restore habitats and renew biological diversity? May Holy Wisdom inspire our imagination.”
During the Season of Creation, we will be sharing stories of how Anglicans across the Communion are caring for creation on our Facebook page, and Twitter and Instagram accounts. We will also be signposting resources and providing images and words for reflection and prayer.
There is a host of resources for inspiration and information for our shared journey through the Season of Creation:
- The Season of Creation celebration guide includes the faith leaders’ letter of invitation, ideas and ecumenical service liturgy suggestions. The Season of Creation website has news, details of events and links to denominational resources.
- Specifically Anglican resources can be found here, including materials in Spanish.
- On our own website are some visual reflections that are particularly suited to this time: here. We also have a new area on our website about the climate emergency and how Anglicans across the Communion are impacted by the twin environmental and climate crises and how they are responding to it.
Creation Care and the Anglican Communion
For Anglicans, creation care is an integral part of our understanding of mission, expressed in the fifth Anglican Mark of Mission: “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. Since 2009, the Anglican Consultative Council has called on provinces to include the Season of Creation in their yearly pattern of worship. ACC17, which met last year in Hong Kong, reaffirmed the Anglican Communion’s commitment to marking the Season of Creation, adding a call to member churches to “promote a day during the Season of Creation as a day of public repentance” and “incorporate creation care into liturgical practice” (ACC resolution A17:05)
The Anglican Alliance exists to connect, equip and inspire the worldwide Anglican family to work for a world free of poverty and injustice and to safeguard creation. Environmental degradation and climate change are major factors driving poverty and migration and are therefore cross-cutting issues that are part of each of our three pillars of relief, development and advocacy.
The Anglican Alliance also provides a convening platform for Anglican churches and agencies to work together in the aftermath of disasters, many of which are climate related. Helping build resilience to disasters and building partnerships for response and resilience is an increasingly important part of our work. See here.