The world is changing. The climate is changing. We are changing.
Those of us in the East End and East Suburbs of Pittsburgh know well the effects of climate change as checking the air quality along with the weather has become routine. Our neighbors in the Mon Valley suffer from higher concentrations of asthma, cancer, and other health conditions caused by air pollution.
Prophet Amos cries out: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5: 24) and so we are called to join the river of justice and peace, to take up climate and ecological justice, and to speak out, with, and for communities most impacted by climate injustice and the loss of biodiversity.
In 1989, September 1st was proclaimed as a Day of Prayer for Creation for the Eastern Orthodox Church by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I. From there, it was embraced by other major Christian European churches in 2001, and by Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church in 2015. Now, many churches celebrate the “Season of Creation” (or Creation Time) between Sept. 1 and Oct. 4, the Feast of St. Francis.
This new addition to our church calendar unites the Christian family worldwide in celebration of prayer and action to protect our common home. As people who seek to follow Christ, we share a common call to care for Creation and each other.
“Our wellbeing is interwoven with the wellbeing of the Earth.”
– Season of Creation Ecumenical Steering Committee
This year, we will dip our toes into the river and start celebrating Creation Time as a faith community in a few ways. At Sunday Worship, will draw upon various elements from Creation, drawing us closer to God, God’s Creation, and God’s call upon our lives to be faithful stewards of Creation.
Our next Community Dinner is on Sept. 6th on the Side Lawn.
We will gather for two Spiritual Hikes (6:30 PM on Thursday, September 14th and 10 AM on Saturday, September 30th. On these, we will participate in earth-based spiritual practices and meditations. Kid-friendly! Both will be at the Frick Park Environmental Center.
We will end the Season of Creation with the Blessing of the Animals on Oct. 4 at 6 PM. We invite all those in our community who have a pet to join us on the side lawn for prayer. We’ve dubbed this event “Dogs and Dogs,” as we will have hot dogs for folks to munch on!
As we step outdoors, remember that we are not distinct from God’s Creation. We are God’s Creation. In creation time, we return to where we belong and remember God’s mandate to steward the earth together.