Creation Care Task Force
Our mission is to be a sustainable and inclusive network of Episcopalians in the Diocese of Virginia committed to faithfully uplifting, stewarding and protecting God's Creation.
Please share your own sermons, ideas and experiences for this web page at DioceseOfVaCreationCare@gmail.com.
Invitation to Conversation with Creation Care Task Force
The Creation Care Task Force (CCTF) invites you to help us form our vision and set our goals. The only requirement is that you are interested in engaging in the conversation. What does Creation Care mean to you? Does your parish have a Green Team? What are your hopes for our planet? What are your challenges? How can CCTF help? Join in the zoom conversation:
- October 21,7 p.m.
- October 23, 10 a.m.
- October 23, 1 p.m.
- October 24, 1 p.m.
Choose a date and register.
All Saints' Day
What is a saint? The old story, of course, is that a child was asked this question in Sunday School. Thinking of the stained glass windows in the sanctuary, the child answered “a saint is the person the light shines through.” So true.
Many of our parishes and churches are named for saints. Each these saints kept their faith strong and inspired others during very difficult times. For whom is your parish named? Who are your personal saints, through whom the light shines? This is a year to consider these very real people and the example they have given us as we face our own creation care challenges.
Joint statement on climate change by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch
On September 27, three of the world’s top Christian leaders – Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – issued a joint statement on climate change. This is the first time that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and Anglican Communion have joined in such an urgent statement for the need for environmental sustainability and the importance of global cooperation. They ask each Christian for prayer, individual sacrifice and responsible leadership. The joint statement is also available in Spanish.
John Philip Newell offers “The School of Earth & Soul” at Shrine Mont
This event has been delayed until October 2022.
Inspiration from Our Parishes
- "God’s Second Book" by the Rev. Deacon Courtenay Evans, Christ Episcopal Church, Charlottesville.
- "Celebration of Creation Care" by the Rev. Susan Hartzell, St. Peter's in the Woods, Fairfax Station.
- “Hope beyond the Heat” Creation Season 2021 reflection from Bishop Gayle E. Harris (Diocese of Mass.)
- "Rosh Hashana in the Year of Shmita" by Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Congregation Beth Elohim, Brooklyn.
- "Encountering Christ in Nature" by Richard Rohr includes a meditative presence in nature.
- "For the Beauty of the Earth: Daily Devotions Exploring Creation" (Forward Movement, 2018) has thoughtful daily devotions that celebrate the wonder of our planet. The book features original watercolors by Kathrin Burleson.
- "Poems of Hope & Resilience" from the Poetry Foundation.
- Sir John Houghton’s deeply held Christian faith fueled his commitment to solving the climate emergency. “Why the UN’s Dire Climate Change Report Is Dedicated to an Evangelical Christian.”
- The Diocese of Mass. offers resources for climate-crisis.
Please tell us about creation care resources that have inspired you at DioceseOfVaCreationCare@gmail.com.
United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26)
The U.K. will host the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1-12, 2021, the most important international climate talks since the Paris Agreement.
Here is a special way that everyone can bring their voice to COP26. A virtual performance of A Passion for the Planet, a stunning, one hour climate oratorio for chorus and orchestra, will be presented at COP26. Individual singers and congregational choirs of the Diocese of Virginia are invited to record themselves singing the final chorale, “Holy Earth, Ancient Home.” Join in singing for the U.N. climate summit!
The recording must be submitted by October 11. Information about recording yourself can be found at the hyperlink. Questions? Contact Geoffrey Hudson (the composer) or Alisa Pearson (Artistic Director).
The Rev. Jon Swales, Church of England, has written prayers for the climate crisis in preparation for the U.N. gathering. Consider committing to this prayer practice before this important event. Another prayer community is offered at Global Prayer & Action Chain.
Episcopal Creation Care Resolutions and Resources
The Episcopal Church, on all levels, has made Creation Care one of its top priorities.
The Episcopal Church
The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ, in 111 dioceses and regional areas in 17 nations; 100 of which are in the United States. The Episcopal Church’s Covenant for the Care of Creation is a commitment to practice loving formation, liberating advocacy and life-giving conversation as individuals, congregations, ministries and dioceses. To ensure our future and that of our planet, learn, get involved and take advantage of resources offered through the links below.
- The Episcopal Church’s vision for creation care.
- The Episcopal Church offers resources in the work for God’s creation.
- Sustain Our Island Home offers ways to track and reduce an individual parish’s carbon emissions. Scroll down to “Virginia Diocese” and click on “Join the Challenge.” Explore new ways to reduce your footprint and find local resources to help.
- Presiding Bishop Curry’s “Finding Hope in God’s Creation” address on the 50th commemoration of Earth Day (2020)
- The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations & Creation Care supports policies that protect Earth’s life-sustaining resources.
- Episcopal Covenant to Care of Creation: Putting It into Practice
- Episcopal Creation Care Facebook page
- Subscribe to the monthly Episcopal Church Creation Care newsletter.
- Agrarian Ministries of the Episcopal Church Facebook group
- Cultivate Episcopal Food Movement Facebook page
- Episcopal Beekeepers Facebook page
- The Center for Religion and Environment at Sewanee: University of the South. Subscribe to their newsletter.
Diocese of Virginia
- 2017 R-7a Support for the 2015 Paris Climate Accord & Energy Efficiency Improvements
- 2018 R-1 Adoption of the “Way of Love” named Care of Creation as one of three diocesan priorities.
- 2019 Creation Care Task Force annual report
- 2019 Resolution on Plastics
- 2021 Creation Care Task Force Strategic Goals
Each congregation in the Diocese of Virginia is unique. Having a Green Team within your church means creation care worship, education and action goals can be made meaningful to your own congregation. Environmental justice issues can be addressed at the local level. Even the smallest steps help. The diocesan Creation Care Task Force is here and ready to help. Send us an email at DioceseOfVaCreationCare@gmail.com. Below is a list of additional resources for use by green teams in local congregations.
- The Episcopal Church’s vision for creation care.
- Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake’s Faithful Green Leaders Training Program.
- The Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts has good resources.
- Blessed Tomorrow offers this Moving Forward Guide to help congregations plan action steps
- Interfaith Power and Light
- Virginia Interfaith Power and Light
- Greening Congregations Handbook: Stories, Ideas, and Resources for Cultivating Creation Awareness and Care in Your Congregation is an excellent resource and includes tools for worship, education, forming mission statements and moving into community outreach.
- How do I begin to help my Planet? Ideas to help you get started.
Climate Change is already happening with unequal impact. Past decisions have been made that place minority populations in harm’s way. How should we respond? To learn about The Episcopal Church’s position, watch, Let’s Talk Faith and Climate, a co-production between The Episcopal Church and ecoAmerica’s Blessed Tomorrow program.
- ecoAmerica’s Webcast Series: Let’s Talk Climate
- Creation Justice Ministries offer ways to work toward climate justice and resilience.
- Download a Creation Justice Resilience Guide.
- Local Action, National Purpose: Five Ways to Take Action Now on Climate: a webinar from Blessed Tomorrow.
Many people feel overwhelmed by the enormity of our environmental challenges. This is a place where the Church is called to be present. Worship and prayer are pathways for celebrating God’s creation. They are also vehicles for lament, confession, supplication, healing and hope. Read here to learn more about climate anxiety:
- The Rev. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas offers insight in “Climate Change, Addiction, and Spiritual Liberation.”
- Young people are experiencing distress from climate anxiety (Sept. 2021)
- Dr. Rowen Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, calls for action.
- Hope and Mourning in the Anthropocene: Understanding Ecological Grief
- Public Perception: How Americans See Climate Change
The Episcopal Church and other faith-based organizations offer excellent resources:
- James’, Warrenton, provided 1-hour Listening Sessions on climate change. Participants were led in prayer and a time of quiet. Then, each was asked to share their feelings about climate change as they were able. Prayer ended the session. St. James’ also offered “Worship in the Woods” with meditative walks and celebration of the Eucharist in local natural settings. Both the Listening Sessions and “Worship in the Woods" received positive feedback. For more information, contact Father Randolph Charles.
- Katharine Hayhoe offers a 9-part film series for small groups, “Christianity and climate change.”
- Reviving Creation: The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Diocese of Western Massachusetts, has helpful resources including “Preaching Hope.” Four recorded webinars on how to respond to the climate emergency are available: Pray, Learn, Act and Advocate. Her monthly newsletter is also available.
- Blessed Tomorrow: Blessed Tomorrow is a coalition of diverse religious partners working to advance climate solutions in faithful service to God.
- Read this booklet: Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications and Guidance.
- Watch this webinar: My Neighbor is Hurting: How to Serve Those Experiencing Climate Stress and Grief
- Eco-grief peer groups: Creation Care Alliance offers eco-grief circles for safe conversation and support. The Good Grief Network offers an online peer group or training as a facilitator in your own community. An eco-grief group may choose to use the arts as a springboard for discussion. St. Mary’s, Anchorage, offered “Poems of Hope and Resilience,” led by poet Ann L. Lovejoy.
- Expression through art provides an important way to connect with others. Richard Rohr offers “Finding God in the Arts.” John Luther Adams grieves over climate change in his music. Watch this video or read this article to learn more. Author Wendell Berry reminds us of what is important in his poetry.
- Daily meditation and prayer using Crisis Contemplations from the Center for Action and Contemplation. Read more.
- Reading Suggestions:
- Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village by the Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes
- The study book Active Hope by Joanna Macy and “Active Hope Training” are interfaith resources that groups including Virginia Interfaith Power & Light have found helpful.
- Climate Church, Climate World by Jim Antal considers the new vocation of the church in this time of climate crisis.
- Rooted and Rising: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis, edited by Leah Schade and Margaret Bullitt-Jonas offers ways to maintain courage and hope by inter-faith leaders.
- The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief by Francis Weller
- Mystical Hope: Trusting in the Mercy of God by Cynthia Bourgeault
- Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, ed.
- Laudato si’: On Care for Our Common Home by Pope Francis
- “The Search for Environmental Hope”
- “Beyond Acedia and Wrath: Voices of Courage in a Time of Climate Crisis” by Bishop Hirschfeld (Diocese of NH) and the Rev. Steve Blackmer.
- For Children and Youth: The Hopeful Family: Building Resilient Children in Uncertain Times by Amelia Richardson Dress has helpful points and good questions for group discussion. This article also provides more ideas on how to talk about climate anxiety with youth and children.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea. Psalm 46
Infrastructure Bill Includes Energy Efficiency Grants for Houses of Worship
The infrastructure bill recently approved by the U.S. Senate would fund $50 million in grants to nonprofits and houses of worship to provide more energy-efficient heating and cooling systems. If passed by the House, the first grants could be awarded in 2022.
How can we reduce our carbon footprint?
DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency) is an excellent resource for policies and incentives specific to your zip code.
Supporting Virginia's Birds
Urbanization has transformed much productive land into pavement and sterile lawns with non-native ornamental plants. Birds need native plants, food, shelter, and safe places to nest. Both St. Peter’s in the Woods, Fairfax Station, and St. Christopher’s, Springfield, were recently certified as Audubon Sanctuaries. Stacey Remick-Simkins is completing her Audubon Ambassador training so that she can work with other churches interested in becoming a bird friendly community.
Reporting bird sightings is another critical way to help. Documentation of the numbers and health of various species is an activity in which people of all ages and abilities can participate. Both St. Peter’s (Stacey) and St. Christopher’s (Janet Quinn) conduct bird surveys monthly during migration season. Any church or individual can report bird sightings at any time to ebird. This adds to very important data collection.
Contact Stacey to learn more about becoming a bird-friendly community.
12 Things You Can Do to Clean Up the Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is an extraordinary place, and most of the Diocese of Virginia lies in its watershed. What each of us does in our own home and church directly affects the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation offers 12 ways you can take real action.
Gleaning Crops for Food Banks with St. James’s, Richmond
Harvest of Hope/Society of St. Andrew has worked with farmers, volunteers and faith groups since 1979 to reduce food waste and end hunger. Through June 2021, the organization has gleaned, gathered and distributed 33,133,079 pounds of fresh produce in 2,552 events with 7,488 volunteers. Food donated by 473 farmers has been distributed to hungry people through 1,156 feeding agencies.
St. James’s, Richmond, has done their part. Their 5th through 8th graders went on a mini-mission trip in July harvesting crops, including blackberries. The food they gleaned was donated to local food banks, and, with hunger up 40% in Central Virginia, the mission couldn’t have been more timely. (From St. James’s eChimes.)
Climate Emergency Declared by the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts
On March 23, 2021, the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Western Massachusetts issued a declaration of a climate emergency, with suggested resources and actions.
A monthly message of current opportunities to learn, pray, act and advocate is available.
All Saints' Church, Henrico, Creates Effective Rain Garden
Heavy rain storms make good water management even more important. All Saints' Church in Henrico County recently completed an exciting environmental stewardship project. The nearly 70-year-old facility had experienced drainage problems and interior flooding due to blocked and damaged downspouts outside. The congregation decided to fix the drainage issue in a sustainable way. They contracted with Ecosystem Services of Charlottesville to design a bioretention garden which collects runoff from the roof and infiltrates it to the ground. The construction was completed by C.T. Purcell Excavating of Montpelier. The new bioretention garden alleviates the drainage issue while reducing polluted runoff. The garden uses sandy soils to infiltrate stormwater and native plants to absorb pollutants. The practice protects nearby waterways by treating stormwater on-site. The congregation received financial support from the Creation Care Task Force to help pay for engineering designs and the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program to help pay for construction. Questions about the project can be addressed to Lorne Field.
Photos courtesy of the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program.
Community Garden at All Souls’, Mechanicsville
The Community Garden at All Souls’, Mechanicsville, produced spring, summer, and fall crops last year. Over 18 thousand pounds of fresh, beautiful vegetables were grown and distributed to people in need in the Mechanicsville area. Guests are always welcome! If you’d like to learn more about the All Souls garden, contact Lee Hanchey, Senior Warden.
Browse resources from The Episcopal Church on community gardens:
- Good News Gardens: Join the movement – Plant, Pray & Proclaim! Sign up for their monthly newsletter.
- How to Host a Community Garden: A webinar explaining how to pull together community members to plan, build and manage a garden.
- Harvesting Abundance: Local Initiatives of Food and Faith by Brian Sellers-Petersen: Engaging stories of the church in action.
- Food and Faith Podcast: Conversations from the soil and across the table, distributed weekly.
- Agrarian Ministries Facebook group
- Episcopal Beekeepers Facebook group
- Cultivate: Episcopal Food Movement Facebook group
- October 4 |The Feast Day of St. Francis with Blessing of the Animals. If your parish does not offer this, Good News Gardens offers a virtual opportunity.
- October 6 | Did you know that each gallon of gas burned puts over 18 pounds of CO2 into the air? National Walk Safely to School Day is a good time to skip driving and walk to school or work and to evaluate changes that may need to be made to support such travel in your town.
- October 7, 7 p.m. | The New Yorker Festival offers (free) “How to Accelerate Climate Action.” Panelists include Katharine Hayhoe and young activists.
- October 11 | Deadline for submission of “Holy Earth, Ancient Home” for COP26 virtual performance of A Passion for the Planet, Questions may be addressed to Geoffrey Hudson (the composer) or Alisa Pearson (Artistic Director).
- October 21, 7 p.m. | Diocesan Creation Care Task Force Zoom listening session.
- October 21, 7 p.m. | Network nation-wide with other Episcopal gardeners at “Good News Gardens.” Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
- October 23, 10 a.m. | Diocesan Creation Care Task Force Zoom listening session.
- October 23, 1 p.m. | Diocesan Creation Care Task Force Zoom listening session.
- October 24, 1 p.m. | Diocesan Creation Care Task Force Zoom listening session.
- October 24-31 | International Bat Week 2021 is an annual, international celebration of the role of bats in nature.
- October 31-November 12 | COP26 The 2021 U.N. climate change conference, Glasgow, Scotland.
- November 12-13 | 227th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, will be held via Zoom.
- November 15 | America Recycles Day 2021 is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and educating about proper recycling in the U. S.
- November 16, 7 p.m. | Network nation-wide with other Episcopal gardeners at “Good News Gardens.” Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
- October 19-21, 2022 | John Philip Newell offers Earth & Soul (Celtic Wisdom 2) at Shrine Mont, Orkney Springs, VA.
- October 25-27, 2022 | John Philip Newell offers Earth & Soul (Celtic Wisdom 3) at Shrine Mont, Orkney Springs, VA.
Episcopal & Interfaith Resources
- Agrarian Ministries of the Episcopal Church (Facebook) is a place for all interested in agrarian ministries to exchange ideas.
- Blessed Tomorrow (a program of ecoAmerica) is an Episcopal-supported faith network with webinars, information and support groups.
- Brugmansia Ministries is an interfaith organization helping communities and religious organizations prepare for climate change and climate migration through resilience-building practices.
- Communities Responding to Extreme Weather (CREW) is a Massachusetts-based group which helps communities plan for weather resilience with environmental Justice a priority.
- Creation Care Alliance has excellent resources and provides eco-grief circles for individual support in climate grief.
- Creation Justice Ministries offers information on climate resilience and has many other educational resources on other creation care topics.
- Dayenu is a Jewish community devoted to climate concerns.
- Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts celebrates God’s abundance and offers many resources.
- Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN)
- Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions (FAC) is an interfaith network working with over 70 places of worship in Northern Virginia. Tree of Life is their signature program.
- Greenfaith The Rev. Fletcher Harper is Executive Director.
- Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake
- Interfaith Power & Light
- Parliament of the World’s Religions is one of the world’s premier interfaith organizations with a mission of cultivating harmony among the world’s religions and fostering their engagement in critical issues of our time.
- Reviving Creation Read past newsletters or sign up to receive the Reviving Creation newsletter monthly.
- Sacred Earth Community
- Society of Ordained Scientists has the ministry of bringing faith to the scientific community, science to the church, and both to the general public.
- The Society of St. Andrew is a leader in preventing food waste. It brings people together to glean and share healthy farm produce that would otherwise be wasted.
- Southeast Climate & Energy Network works for a just, equitable and sustainable South. It works toward environmental justice, clean energy and includes a network of faith leaders.
- Southeast Faith Leaders Network is a collaborative effort building sustainable grassroots power by lifting up the principles and values of a just transition throughout the southeast United States.
- Virginia Interfaith Power and Light
Resources Outside of the Faith Network
- Broken Ground podcast by the Southern Environmental Law Center centering on Southerners living along the coast, navigating sea level rises.
- Caucus on Climate Change and Mental Health (American Psychology Association)
- Chesapeake Bay Trust works for and provides grants to other nonprofits for a healthy Bay and its tributaries.
- Citizens' Climate Lobby focuses specifically on climate change. There are numerous chapters around Virginia and the U.S. View recordings of past guest speakers on their website or Facebook page.
- Climate Psychology Alliance has excellent resources including “toolkits” for dealing with extreme heat.
- Earth911 Provides good advice on recycling including where and how.
- Friends of the Rappahannock works toward the health of the Rappahannock River and its tributaries.
- Good Grief Network offers eco-grief discussion groups online as well as training to run your own group.
- Mothers & Others for Clean Air
- National Resources Defense Council is a national level organization confronting our planet’s most pressing problems.
- Piedmont Environmental Council provides a weekly email digest of environmental issues in Piedmont Virginia.
- Science Moms is a group formed by Katharine Hayhoe to educate and motivate mothers for a healthy planet.
- Sierra Club works to protect wildlife, wild places, and working for environmental justice.
- Third Act includes people over 60 working for a fair and stable planet.
- Virginia Conservation Network focuses and reports on specific legislation and related events within the Virginia General Assembly.
- Virginia Green Initiative encourages communities to take innovative steps to reduce energy usage and promote sustainability.
- Virginia Outdoors Foundation works toward protecting open and farm land.
- Virginia Youth Climate Cooperative is a youth-led grassroots organization fighting for climate justice.
- Zero Waste Food Management
Contact the Diocese of Virginia's Creation Care Task Force