Churches across Britain and Ireland will observe a ‘Time for Creation’ between 1 September and 4 October 2009, in the run-up to the next United Nations climate change summit which is due to take place in Copenhagen at the end of the year.
This is the second consecutive year in which Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) – the official ecumenical body – is providing resources to help churches observe a time for environmentally-focused reflection and engagement.
The theme for the 2009 event is “Creation in Crisis - a time for prayer and action”.
The forthcoming UN conference, to be held in Copenhagen in December, will seek to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it runs out in 2012; some are describing the meeting as the “last chance for the planet”.
The ‘Time for Creation’ resources will include materials to help churches, groups and individuals focus on issues relating to the crucial decisions which will need to be taken in Copenhagen.
In launching 'Time for Creation' 2009, a Churches Together in Britain and Ireland spokesperson declared: “An international treaty is needed that will bind governments to drastic and immediate cuts in carbon emissions. However, this will require courageous and far-sighted political leadership to transform our economy and many aspects of our culture.”
CTBI added: “More than ever, Christians are called to demonstrate their commitment to care for creation by living simply and sustainably themselves and by pressing politicians to take the measures necessary at national and international level.”
Central to the ‘Time for Creation’ 2009 resources will be sermon notes with a choice of two five-week frameworks. One is based on the lectionary (set Scripture readings), and the other linked more specifically to the Creation in Crisis theme including global poverty, wildlife, our responsibility to our children’s children, and the Christian grounds for hope beyond the current crisis.
The materials are wide-ranging and flexible. It will be possible either to follow the whole five weeks or to dip into the resources and use them as required. In addition to the sermon notes, there is also a five-week discussion group resource aimed particularly at young adults, further Bible-based group study notes, a ‘LOAF’ service devised by the Christian Ecology Link's food campaign and suitable for local Churches Together events, prayers and various liturgical materials, plus ideas for action.
These action ideas include joining campaigns, getting involved with local conservation projects, planting trees and organising a harvest meal – since ‘Time for Creation’ coincides with the harvest festival season.
It is being suggested that churches could invite local politicians along for locally sourced and fairly traded harvest food and also share with them the concerns of the church and community about climate change, poverty and the environment.
In traditional Christian understanding, to speak of the world as God’s creation is to understand the whole natural process as being given and being good. It is not the same as ‘creationism’, the modern anti-scientific idea propagated by fundamentalist groups and others who see God’s action as competing or conflicting with what we have come to understand of the unfolding of the world through evolutionary processes.
‘Time for Creation’ materials are available as free downloads from the CTBI website (www.ctbi.org.uk/creationtime) and will be available in Welsh and Irish language versions, as well as in English.