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From Alaska to Zululand, Anglicans act ecumenically in the Season of Creation

Posted on: October 19, 2017 1:13 PM

Anglicans around the world have taken part in a wide variety of events to mark this year’s Season of Creation, an ecumenical focus on the environment that runs from 1 September to 4 October. The Season of Creation was originally proposed by the Ecumenical Patriarch to run from the Orthodox Church’s World Day of Prayer for Creation and ending on the Feast of St Francis. The idea was endorsed by the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2012; and backed by Pope Francis in 2015.

This year, Anglicans have marked the season in a number of different ways.

In the Anglican Church of Congo, Bishop Bertin Subi of the Diocese of Katanga joined members of Anglican and Reformed churches to identify areas where they went to pray “and to hear the cry of the earth.” They planted trees to “heal the area” and committed to working with the national environmental group to see how to preserve and to protect the area.

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Members of Anglican and Reformed churches plant trees in response to “hearing the cry of the Earth”.
Photo: Green Anglicans

The Church of South India’s Eden Eco Spirituality Centre in Othara, Kerala, was the venue for a united service on 1 September to mark the World Day of Prayer for Creation. The Revd Viji Varghese Eapen, director of ecumenical relations and ecological concern for the CSI, dressed as a farmer to deliver the sermon. A number of Church leaders took part in the service, including the Moderator of the CSI, Thomas K Oommen, Joshua Mar Ignathiose of the Roman Catholic Church, Yuhanon Christomos Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church, and Dr Chilkuri Vasanth Rao , the principal designate of the United Theological College in Bangalore.

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An ecumenical service on the World Day of Prayer for Creation at the Church of South India’s Eden Eco Spirituality Centre in Othara, Kerala.
Photo: Green Anglicans

In the Church of Southern Africa, the diocese of Swaziland joined with the local Lutheran Church to hold a river clean-up on the Mbabane River. They were joined by visitors from the US-based Episcopal Church’s diocese of Iowa and the Scottish Episcopal Church’s diocese of Brechin and supported by the Municipality Council of Mbabane and the Swaziland Environment Authority.

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A service is held after young Anglicans from the diocese of Swaziland join local lutherans to clean up the Mbabane River.
Photo: Green Anglicans

It was one of a number of examples of Anglicans taking part in the International Coastal Clean-up Day. Young Christians from the diocese of Saldanha Bay in South Africa collected rubbish from Milnerton beach – a popular surfing spot which is well known for its view of Table Mountain; while young Anglicans from the diocese of Lebombo in Mozambique joined with the Municipality of Maputo collected bottles from Costa do Sol Beach.

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Young Anglicans from the diocese of Lebombo clean up Costa do Sol beach.
Photo: Green Anglicans

In Canada, Anglicans from St Paul’s Cathedral in Kamloops, part of the Territory of the People, took part in a guided walk around Lac du bois Park and Isabel Lake, hearing about how the waters are impacted by soil conditions and the rivers that flow into them. They then held a watershed eucharist on the shore of Lac du bois.

The Revd Dr Rachel Mash, environmental co-ordinator of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa and a member of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, welcomed the range of activities taking place to mark the Season of Creation.

“The Season of Creation offers churches a change to connect with the spirituality of care for creation, as well as to take part in practical creative actions,” she said. “From Alaska to Zululand churches are getting involved. It is inspiring to see how different denominations are coming together with a commitment to heal the Earth, our common home.”

The Anglican Communion Environmental Network is encouraging churches to share their activities during the Season of Creation on the Green Anglicans’ Facebook page.

Separately, a water justice conference has been taking place at St George’s Cathedral in Capetown. In this video, young Anglicans use music and dance to send their message: “We must save the water”: