Creation Care Task Force

“When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon
it and remember
the everlasting covenant
between God and every living creature of all
flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:16

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. 

Creating a Green Team      Environmental Justice 

Eco-Anxiety      News You Can Use 

Creation Care Calendar     Resources   

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

Please tell us about creation care resources that have inspired you at DioceseOfVaCreationCare@gmail.com.

United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26)

Photo from The Times UK Youth Art Contest

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.

Diocese of Virginia


Creating a Green Team in Your Church

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.

Environmental Justice

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.

Additional resources: 

Eco-Grief

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 Gods creation. They are also vehicles for lament, confession, supplication, healing and hope. Read here to learn more about climate anxiety:

The Episcopal Church and other faith-based organizations offer excellent resources:

From “Worship in the Woods,” St. James’, Warrenton

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


News You Can Use: Resources and ideas to spark creation care ministry in your congregation.

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?

The Episcopal Church has a new site to help parishes track their carbon footprint. Set up an account for your parish, find new ways to reduce carbon emissions and track your progress.

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:


Creation Care Calendar: Worship, Learn, Act

October

November

  • 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, 2022

Resources

Episcopal & Interfaith Resources

Resources Outside of the Faith Network


Contact the Diocese of Virginia's Creation Care Task Force

Painting by 12- year-old Tyndall Ellis