Added on 12/08/2013
Christians throughout the world will consider the issue of water justice as they observe Creation Time from September 1 to October 4. This year’s theme was chosen to tie in with the UN International Year of Water Cooperation.
Many people in developing countries today are suffering from malnutrition and starvation as a result of droughts caused by climate change. Other parts of God’s Creation, including animals, birds, fish and plants, are deeply affected too.
Excellent Creation Time resources are available on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) website – www.ctbi.org.uk/653 – including sermon notes, prayers, a service outline and water justice facts.
Rev Andrew Orr, Rector of Tullow and the Church of Ireland representative on Eco–Congregation Ireland (ECI), says we can no longer continue to live as if there is an infinite supply of clean, usable water. “It is within this context that this year’s Creation Time service invites us to worship the God of justice with the hope that water justice will flow like a river and eco–righteousness will permeate our hearts and minds like an overflowing stream,” he says, referencing Amos 5:24.
He describes the material on the CTBI website as “a fantastic collection of resources” which everyone can use to encourage parishes to take their environmental responsibilities seriously: “Creation Time works very well with our long standing Harvest Festival and Bishops’ Appeal traditions. The Church of Ireland has often fallen behind other churches in this area and Creation Time gives us a chance to put our care for God’s World at the centre of our worship.”
How did Creation Time come about?
In 1989 the Ecumenical Patriarch suggested that 1 September, the first day of the Orthodox Church’s year, should be observed as a day “of protection of the natural environment”. Ten years later the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) widened this proposal, urging churches to adopt a Time for Creation stretching from 1 September to the feast of St Francis on 4 October. This was endorsed by the 3rd European Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu, Romania in 2007, which recommended that the period “be dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change”.
A good starting point for parishes to become more eco–friendly, as well as celebrating Creation Time on at least one Sunday, is to include a prayer for the environment in services throughout the year and to work through the ECI church check–list, which can be found in the first section of Resources on the ECI website – www.ecocongregationireland.com/modules. This need not take more than an hour and you might be pleasantly surprised to see what steps your parish is already taking as well as picking up ideas for new initiatives.
ECI is an inter–church project of the Irish Inter–Church Meeting that encourages churches in Ireland to join in the global celebration of God’s Creation and to consider ways in which they can ‘green’ their parishes – through worship, lifestyle, property and finance management, children’s and youth work, community outreach and contact with the developing world.
For further information see www.ecocongregationireland.com.
There’s no need to be stuck as to how to celebrate Creation Time! Excellent resources are available on the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) website. These sermon notes, service outline and background information on the theme will be helpful in preparing services. A selection of prayers will be added to the website soon.
‘Justice should flow down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream’ ~ Amos 5.24. Today many people live in an environment where water has stopped rolling and the ever flowing streams have dried up and become ‘never flowing’.
In this context of water injustice, the CTBI service for Creation Time 2013 invites us to worship the God of justice with the hope that water justice will flow like a river and eco–righteousness will permeate our hearts and minds like an overflowing stream.
Bible notes are also provided that use Amos 5.24 and John 4.15 as a starting point, as well as pointing to other biblical resources.
The virtual water cube activity demonstrates how much water it takes to produce many of the foods we eat regularly. People could be invited to explore it during a Creation Time service, or it could be used for a separate occasion or used by youth workers and Sunday School teachers.
For further information please contact: