The Season of Creation is a new liturgical season beginning September 1 and ending October 4, the Feast of St. Francis. In 2019, General Synod passed a resolution to adopt the Season of Creation as part of the Anglican Church of Canada's calendar. In this time the church celebrates and gives special focus to our life within God’s creation. But reverence for creation is not new to Christians. Throughout the history of the church, Christians have called creation “God’s second book” alongside the Scriptures. So here are some resources to help us “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the wonder in this season.
Kerry Baisley, Missioner of Indigenous Justice, has collaboratively created a beautiful companion for parishes, small groups, and households to use during the Season of Creation. It draws on wisdom and reflections from Indigenous, Inuit, and Métis voices. Each week follows a theme from the lectionary and follows a pattern of gathering prayer, four directions/medicine wheel meditation, scripture reading and reflection, suggested actions for the week, and music.
To the People of the Diocese of New Westminster
I write to highly commend to you this resource that has been created to help all of us engage more fully with the Season of Creation, which spans September 1 to October 4 of this year. You will also find more resources for the Sundays and different ways of exploring how to live more intently in the Season of Creation.
At our Synod last May, our diocese affirmed that we desire to put in place a number of actions related to the Climate Emergency. There is a need to bring urgency to how we seek to heal and protect our planet. There is a need to not simply affirm the need to change how we walk on this earth but to engage more fully in the changes we need to make. There is a need to learn more about the science of climate change and the build up of greenhouse gases and where our faith is calling us to seek God’s guidance for us to be protectors and carers of all places, peoples and life in this world. The Season of Creation is an opportunity to grow our relationship with Earth, so that all the effort we put into this work is grounded in respect, reciprocity, and renewal.
In the baptismal covenant from the Book of Alternative Services, we are asked, “Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth?” The hope filled response is, “I will, with God’s help.” Those are the words we aim to guide us and lead us in this Season of Creation.
In the list of resources available for the Season of Creation, you will see the Eucharistic Prayer linked to Salal and Cedar. Please know that I give my permission for this to be used in this Season of Creation and going forward in the diocese.
May God guide all of us as we discern where God’s Holy Spirit is leading us and inviting us.
If we are worshipping indoors, these liturgical resources could help bring the outside in.
Salal and Cedar, the diocesan watershed discipleship ministry, shares a locally rooted eucharistic prayer on their webpage here: http://salalandcedar.com/resources/liturgical-resources/eucharistic-prayer/
The Anglican Alliance and Anglican Communion Environmental Network offers this worship resource with collect, intercessions, and eucharistic prayer for the Season of Creation.
If you’re looking for a whole liturgy, here are two options from PWRDF (the relief and development agency of Canadian Anglicans):
Textweek.com has the approved Sunday lectionary readings for the Season of Creation in the diocese of New Westminster as well as commentary and resources for preachers on all the lectionary readings for the Season of Creation.
Rev. Ken Gray has prepared sermon notes for the liturgy he designed for PWRDF during the Season of Creation. You can view them here: https://pwrdf.org/sermon-notes. The resource also includes short videos which can be played during worship or another time.
Here are examples of creation-centred Prayers of the People from Anglican dioceses. The document also includes options for confession and blessing. https://www.anglican.ca/wp-content/uploads/SOC-Additional-Resources.pdf. Both of the PWRDF resources have texts for the Prayers of the People as well.
A list of creation themed hymns compiled by a Canadian Anglican drawing on Common Praise, Songs for a Gospel People, and Voices United
The diocesan companion guide could be used as a devotional guide for individuals or small groups to follow.
PODCAST: SACRED TEACHINGS
This is a podcast from the Anglican Church of Canada. The podcast gathers indigenous elders from across the land to share their insights, wisdom, traditions, and stories about the sacredness of creation. Speakers include Archbishop Mark MacDonald, Dr. Martha Many Grey Horses, and Canon Ginny Doctor. You can listen here: https://podcasts.anglican.ca/
The diocesan companion guide could be used by families and households with children and youth.
This is a toolkit for children and youth to address climate change from the World Council of Churches. It’s quite broad in scope but a little unwieldy. One highlight includes a free, printable children’s book called Ryan the Rhino which comes with 10 weeks of Sunday School lessons for children aged 5-9.
Salal and Cedar has also designed lesson plans and “Wonder Boxes” which may be assembled or borrowed. These outlines could be used in a children’s time in worship, or an outdoors Sunday School gathering, or shared via Zoom. They explore three themes: Water, Birds, and Trees. http://salalandcedar.com/resources/childrens-curriculum-boxes/
This is a free 6 session course for teens that is made for small groups of less than 15. It could be adapted to do outside and/or online. It grounds creation care in Christian theology and gives youth an alternate vision for a rich and flourishing life.
ADVOCACY & ACTION
The diocesan companion guide has suggested actions to take each week during the season, including a special focus on observing, learning, and caring about the plants that are indigenous to this region.
PWRDF, national churches and other Christian agencies have formed a new faith-based coalition called “For the Love of Creation”. For 2021 they have created faith-based conversation and action guides for small groups at different stages of climate change awareness. Their first act was an e-petition calling on the Canadian government to rebuild after the pandemic with commitments to GHG reduction, indigenous rights, and the global South. They are holding an online symposium on Oct.30. You can see more about the effort here: https://fortheloveofcreation.ca/.
This is a simple, yet profound way to start building a practice of love and attention in creation. All ages can practice it. Introduced by Gkisedtanamoogk, an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, for the Love of Creation coalition.