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Ecumenical focus on prayer for creation

Posted on: August 17, 2016 10:47 AM

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians are being asked to join in the World Day of Prayer for Creation on 1 September and to use the following month, leading up to the feast of St Francis of Assisi on 4 October, as a Season of Creation.

The late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios introduced the Season of Creation into the Orthodox Churches in 1989. Last year Pope Francis designated the 1 September as an annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation; and this year he has called on Catholics to join “together with all Christians” in the Season of Creation.

The Pope’s request echoes a call from the Anglican Consultative Council in 2009 for provinces to “celebrate a liturgical ‘Season of Creation’ as an integral part of the church’s yearly pattern of worship and teaching” and again in 2012, when it asked provinces to “consider the inclusion of a season of Creation in the liturgical calendar.”

Now, the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) has partnered with the Global Catholic Climate Movement and other agencies to promote the day of prayer and gather resources “to assist all faithful people to take part in the Season.”

The environmental co-ordinator of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa, the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, is a member of the ACEN steering committee. She said: “God’s garden planet is being broken and devastated. After decades of pumping carbon pollution into the atmosphere, we are reaping the whirlwind,” she said in an allusion to Hosea 8:7.

“The most vulnerable societies on earth are facing devastating storms, droughts and flooding as a result of our misuse of God’s wonderful world.”

The US advisor on climate change, Gus Speth, had said that the top environmental problems are not biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change; but “selfishness, greed and apathy.” He said that “to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

Dr Mash added: “What is God calling us to do? He is calling us to lead a spiritual transformation and this includes breaking down the barriers that divide us as brothers and sisters in the family of God.”

The timing of the Season of Creation means that it falls during Harvest-tide in the northern hemisphere and in the Spring season of rebirth in the southern hemisphere.

ACEN, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, and their partners have created a website with resources to help churches take part in the World Day of Prayer for Creation and the Season of Creation. This can be found at seasonofcreation.org.