Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Season of Creation Resources

Here are some resources to help celebrate the Season of Creation (September 1 - October 4). These resources include a Season of Creation resolution that passed at General Synod this year, resources from the Anglican Church of Canada and Ecumenical sources.  There are also links to a toolkit, study program and events.

The Season of Creation  Resolution 

Resolution A202 passed at General Synod 2019.  It was moved by: The Very Rev. Ken Gray and seconded by the Rt. Rev. Lynne McNaughton). Be it resolved that this General Synod:
  • Adopt The Season of Creation in the Anglican Church of Canada as an annual time of prayer, education and action from September 1 – October 4;
  • Encourage dioceses to engage with the Season of Creation, and to develop initiatives, resources and suitably authorized liturgies for use during the season; and
  • Direct the Creation Matters Working Group to monitor, network and share Season of Creation initiatives through the General Synod website and in other ways.
Anglican Church of Canada resources

Lectionary Notes — Updated for 2019
Hymn Recommendations
Sample Liturgy
Additional Resources for Creation Care liturgies

Ecumenical resources

Season of Creation website includes ecumenical and Anglican prayer resources and suggestions for action.

Tookit

The Green Churches Network Season of Creation toolkit including prayers, posters, reflections, and resources for action and education.

Study Program

A Season of Creation Study Program written by Rev Chris Brouillard-Coyle from the Diocese of Huron. This fall study program can help you and your parish learn more about our baptismal call to strive to safeguard the integrity of God's creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth.

Events

If you are celebrating the Season of Creation in your community go to seasonofcreation.org to register your event. Your location will show up on the map with others around the globe. Watch for resources to be shared under "resources from communities from CMWG members".

Special thanks to Nancy Harvey, Creation Matters Working Group (CMWG), members of the Creation Matters Network and Justice League of Huron for providing these Season of Creation resources.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Religious Faiths Advocate for Environmental Protection

Here is a World Environment Day article published by the UN Environment reviewing the environmental calling of faith based communities. This includes the following 11 traditions: Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shintoism, Sikhism, and Taoism.
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Science and religion are often thought of as being at odds on many issues. On the question of the environment, however, there's widespread agreement.

From Buddhism to Christianity to Hinduism to Islam, various faiths acknowledge the need for environmental stewardship and their holy texts urge adherents to be caretakers of the Earth and its biodiversity.

On 31 May, the United Religions Initiative, Africa and the All African Conference of Churches in collaboration with UN Environment organized an Interfaith World Environment Day celebration in Nairobi, Kenya.

The celebration called for action on the theme “Faiths for Earth—We stand together to save Mother Earth and Together we can Beat Air Pollution”. It also promoted the Green Rule (treat nature as you would like to be treated).

“Without air there is no life and polluted air has become an invisible killer. Annually, about 7 million people die as a direct result of poor air quality. We need to act, and communicate, about the environmental challenges we face and how we can fix them in order to meet our Sustainable Development Goals,” said Gary Lewis, Director of Policy and Programme Division at UN Environment.

“About half of the schools on our planet are owned by faith-based institutions, therefore they play a crucial role in arming the society with knowledge about the damage we are doing to our environment and how we can turn things around,” Lewis said.

In November 2017, following a series of initiatives and conventions organized in partnership with faith-based organizations, UN Environment launched the Faith for Earth Initiative. The initiative engages with faith-based organizations and partners with them to collectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfill the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

As part of the 2019 celebrations, members of various faiths will plant trees and hold an inter-faith forum for youth on 8 June at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi.

“We are putting the planet under enormous pressure by depleting scarce natural resources and polluting the air and water. Faith-based organizations play a significant role at the global, regional and local level in addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” said Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Director of Global Partnership, United Religions Initiative.

As the world marks the 45th World Environment Day, the following are eleven quotes from different religious texts which remind us how faith is connected to the environment:

Baha’i: “Nature is God's Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world.” (Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 142)

Buddhism: “Our ancestors viewed the earth as rich and bountiful, which it is. Many people in the past also saw nature as inexhaustibly sustainable, which we now know is the case only if we care for it.” (Dalai Lama, 1990a)

Christianity: “We must treat nature with the same awe and wonder that we reserve for human beings. And we do not need this insight in order to believe in God or to prove his existence. We need it to breathe; we need it for us simply to be.” (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, 2010)

Confucianism: “… sustainable harmonious relationship between the human species and nature is not merely an abstract ideal, but a concrete guide for practical living.” (International Confucian Ecological Alliance, 2015)

Hinduism: “There is an inseparable bond between man and nature. For man, there cannot be an existence removed from nature.” (Amma, 2011)

Islam: “Devote thyself single-mindedly to the Faith, and thus follow the nature designed by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah.” (Qur’an 30:30)

Jainism: "Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being." (Mahavira)

Judaism: “And God said: 'Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed—to you it shall be for food.” (Gen 1:29)

Shintoism: “I will give over to my child the rice-ears of the sacred garden, of which I partake in the Plain of High Heaven.” (Nihongi II.23)

Sikhism: “You, yourself created the Universe, and You are pleased… You, Yourself the bumblebee, flower, fruit and the tree.” (Guru Granth Sahib, Maru Sohele, page 1020)

Taoism: “This original nature is the eternal law. To know the nature’s law is to be enlightened. He who is ignorant of the nature’s law shall act recklessly, and thus will invite misfortune. To know the constant law of nature is to be generous. Being generous, one is impartial. Being impartial, one is the sovereign. Sovereign is the nature itself.” (Lao-Tzu,Tao Te Ching, Chapter 16)

Source: UN Environment

Thursday, June 13, 2019

WCC represented at G20 Interfaith forum in Tokyo

Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Water Network, spoke at the G20 Interfaith Forum, held 7-9 June in Tokyo. This year’s theme was “Peace, People, Planet: Pathways Forward.” About 2,000 participants attend the gathering, which precedes the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The interfaith forum submitted recommendations for G20 leaders.

The G20 Interfaith Forum offers an annual platform through which a network of religiously linked institutions and initiatives engage on global agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
The G20 Interfaith Forum builds on the vital roles that religious institutions and beliefs play in world affairs, reflecting their rich diversity of institutions, ideas, and values.

Beginning in Australia in 2014, the G20 Interfaith Forum has convened annually in the G20 host country. The forums have considered wide-ranging agendas, including economic models and systems, the environment, women, families, children, work, humanitarian aid, health, education, freedom of religion or belief, global security, governance, human rights, and the rule of law.

Suna spoke as part of a panel on “Food and Water: Resources of Life.” He emphasised two good practices of the Ecumenical Water Network: promoting the concept of Blue Communities and the “10 Commandments of Food.”

Suna attributed the loss of forests the size of 30 football fields every minute, to meat industries, encouraging participants to eat locally-sourced food to reduce the water footprint. “Given that 70% of fresh water is used for agriculture and food production and only 10% for drinking and sanitation, we can save a lot of water by choosing our food wisely,” he said.

He urged participants to become “Blue Communities” by respecting the human right to water and saying no to the privatisation of water and to the bottled water industries.

Learn more about the WCC's Ecumenical Water Network

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 350 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 550 million Christians in over 120 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is the Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway.

Media contact: +41 79 507 6363; www.oikoumene.org/press

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Announcing the SEC's Short Film on World Environment Day

As part of faith based actions for World Environment Day on June 5th, the Stewardship of the Environment Committee (SEC) in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal formally announced the making of a short environmentally themed film. This film tells the tale of Aya as she embarks on a fantastical cross-generational quest to redeem the sanctity and memory of her grandmother’s garden.

The SEC has chosen to make a film because we are looking to broaden our reach but even more importantly we aspire to reach people in a way that resonates and augurs action. We know that facts alone are not getting through to everyone and as we reviewed in the SEC's fifth quarterly report for Bishop Mary we believe that faith communities are in a unique position to address the environmental crises we face.
"I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that."

 - Gus Speth, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
This film has been in the works for years and thanks to the involvement of Ashley Gilmour and her talented team we are pleased to announce that the project is finally coming to fruition. Ashley is a film editor and writer who has worked with the Anglican Diocese of Montreal.

Ashley has also written the documentary Daughters of the Voice which chronicles women from various religious traditions who overcome gender barriers to rediscover universal connection and harmony as they re-imagine the role of ancient sacred music in the modern world. She co-wrote A People's Soundtrack (PBS, 2019) the story of Montreal's Jewish cantors as they fight to preserve their beloved artform and she edited the short nature themed film Hannah & the Wolf.

As explained on Ashley's website:
"Our stories are delicate, and they ought to be told as such. The pace at which I work upholds steadiness, slowness, and mindfulness to help create films that reveal deeper and quieter truths, rather than hurried and loud generalities. The atmosphere of my creative process is just as important as the mood of my films. I aim to work alongside other artists who appreciate the fragility of the human spirit, the sanctity of life, and the sway of beauty. Kindled by a fascination with the human experience, the art of conversation, and rhythmic emotional landscapes, I edit and write documentaries, films, and client videos."
Ashley's creations have been screened on television and at film festivals and we are blessed to have her and her team working on our project. Over the coming months we will provide ongoing behind the scenes updates on the making of the film. Please stay tuned!

SEC's 5th Quarterly Report - Why Faith Leaders Must Lead




Four times a year the Stewardship of the Environment Committee (SEC) in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal compiles quarterly reports for Bishop Mary. The SEC's fifth quarterly report was prepared by the SEC at the end of March 2019. In addition to reviewing the SEC's first quarter 2019 efforts, this edition focuses on the unique competencies that faith organizations bring to efforts to address the climate crises.

Click here to read the 5th quarterly report: Why Faith Organizations Need to Lead
Click here to read the 4th quarterly report: Climate Leadership from Faith Leaders at COP24
Click here to read the 3rd quarterly report: The Season of Creation

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Faith Based Actions for World Environment Day

On 5 June 2019, World Environment Day will be on the theme of air pollution— a call to action to combat one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Together we can #BeatAirPollution and faith based organizations around the world are invited to take part. Learn about the different types of air pollution and why they matter to you using this infographic. World Environment Day can be a platform for faith-based organizations to lead the fight for cleaner air and a better environment in ways that tie back to their belief systems. Discover how your faith-based organization can celebrate:

Here are some examples of actions faith-based organizations and faith leaders and followers can take:
  • Houses of worship such as Mosques, Churches, Synagogues and Temples can use solar energy for electricity and to supply local communities with the surplus energy produced.
  • Faith Leaders can use Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and other holy days to pray and preach on the individual actions worshippers can take to beat air pollution. Leaders can extract appropriate faith messages from sacred scripts connecting actions to pollution.
  • Around 50 percent of schools are owned by faith-based organizations. Therefore, schools’ administrations could include air pollution and environmental literature within their curriculum, adopt renewable energy on campuses, install energy saving devices and motion-detected lights. Schools could also shift to using electric buses.
  • Faith-based organizations own 5 percent of commercial forests on earth, which contribute to clean air for our planet.
  • Faith leaders can encourage followers to plant more trees for every religious celebration they participate in or organize.
  • Faith-based organizations can consider working with food suppliers with an ecological supply chain or who could distribute food to those in need that would otherwise be wasted.
  • Faith practices such as the Lent, Ramadan and others, could be a time for faith-organizations to promote all yearlong sustainable practices and consumption.
In 2019, the end of the holy month of Ramadan is expected to fall on 5 June, coinciding with World Environment Day. The Quran tells us not only that we are the stewards of this Earth, but that we should not waste. This World Environment Day, let us all be faithful to the teachings of the Quran and do what we can to fight air pollution. Click here for suggestions on what you can do for Ramadan and Eid-Al-Fitr this World Environment Day.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Climate Emergency Declaration: Unanimous Motion Passes in the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI

Congratulations to the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for unanimously passing a resolution declaring a climate emergency at their 148th Synod this past weekend (May 23 - May 24, 2019). This is the first Anglican Diocese in Canada to do so.