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You may not know that the Season of Creation is a highly ecumenical endeavour. 

September 1, the first day of a new church year in the Eastern Orthodox Church, was proclaimed, in 1989, as a day of prayer for the environment, by the late ecumenical patriarch Dimitrios I. During the 2007 European Ecumenical Assembly, it was proposed that a time of prayer and action for creation be held between September 1 and the feast day (western church) of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4. Since that time, many diverse church denominations have taken up this important season.

While this is a newer season in the church, its necessity is evident and palpable due to the climate weirding that we have been experiencing in recent years. The effects of an unbalanced human lifestyle are becoming much more tangible than the theories we have debated these last decades.

The church is challenged to dig deep and become conversant in how our faith provides a sure foundation for care of creation and ecological conversion. The foundation is there, but we have not always given it heed. Jesus’ parable reminds us that yeast can take many years to be worked through the dough. If the ecological crisis is a major (the major?) faith challenge of living out the gospel in the 21st century, how is Christ leavening us to live faithfully in our time? What voice does our church speak into the world on these collective realities?

A new diocesan Social Justice subcommittee was created last year to steward this conversation and collective action in our Edmonton diocese. Remembering the 5 Marks of Mission, this subcommittee is called “The 5th Mark in Action” (we should have all 5 Marks on the tips of our tongues, no?). We are small but represent a fair breadth of personal and professional experience on the committee. If you are keen on joining us, we are also looking to grow our membership. 

While our long-term vision is looking towards our next synod and what we can do all together as a diocese, we are providing, in the meantime, some simple resources for this 2023 Season of Creation. 

Resources designed as a kind of ‘grab bag’ for parishes to use to help shape their Sundays between September 1 and the feast day of St. Francis, can be found on the diocesan website

We provide a theme, prayer resources, resource links, hymn suggestions, challenge ideas, and a small video that could be used on Sunday or in a small group setting.

Care of creation is a team effort, so lay members who are passionate about this, could offer to lead these portions, or to support their priest’s lead in this regard.

And, while this work can seem crushing and hopeless, be sure to celebrate what you are doing already – we don’t encourage one another on the way often enough. Every small action is worth celebrating, as we seek to not only change a light bulb but to step boldly into a whole new way of thinking and being as ecologically alert Christians. 

We should also remember that we are not alone in our work, but the whole Christian world is being united through this collective action. Perhaps, other denominations near you are doing similar work. Our churches together can let the Land teach us the good and common life. Submitted by the Rev. Jonathan Crane and the Rev. Clare Stewart, the 5th Mark in Action Sub-committee