A month focusing on environmental theology and action

Over the past month I have spent many hours at St John's Episcopal Church in Edinburgh, which has been the lead venue for the 2012 Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

Indeed, the Church, and not least the Rev Donald Reid, played a crucial role in setting up the Festival twelve years ago. Over that time it has grown into a major event, with 400 events across 21 venues this year - including many conversations about social justice and peacemaking.

Ekklesia has been delighted to be a sponsor and media partner for the Festival of Spirituality and Peace this year, and I have been honoured to be its media coordinator.

Tomorrow, I will be at St John's in a different capacity, to preach at the first service in September for Creationtide. (Update: the sermon can be read here - http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17007 ).

Many Christian churches, inspired in part by contemporary concerns for the whole environment, and moved by thinking that no longer places humankind at the centre of the universe, celebrate several weeks of Creationtide.

It begins on 1 September, which is Creation Day in the Orthodox Church. It incorporates St Francis’ Day on 4 October, a saint closely associated with the theology of nature. It is the time when many religions are celebrating a Harvest Festival. It finishes on 10 October, a focus date for global climate change campaigning.

'Creation' is a way of saying that all that unfolds within the natural world and through evolutionary development is seen by Christians as the gifting of the world by God.

The environmental crisis is the biggest challenge facing humanity today and poses a huge challenge to our faith, theology and lifestyles. St John's is engaging with this challenge in a number of exemplary ways, set out here: http://www.stjohns-edinburgh.org.uk/mission/environment.html

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(c) Simon Barrow is co-director of Ekklesia.

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