What is Creation Time?
In 1989 the Ecumenical Patriarch suggested that 1 September, the first day of the Eastern Orthodox Church 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 and 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”.
Since 2008 Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) has compiled a programme of resources to encourage and assist churches to observe Creation Time. These include suggestions on a variety of ways in which churches, groups and individuals could choose to focus on a creation theme at this particular time of the year. Pope Francis made the Catholic Church’s warm welcoming of the season official in 2015, using powerful words last year to encourage participation in the ecumenical Season of Creation:
“This is the season for letting our prayer be inspired anew by closeness to nature…to reflect on our lifestyles…for undertaking prophetic actions…directing the planet towards life, not death.”
Creation Time 2020
We have known for decades that this time will come. We have been made aware of the rapid extinction of beautiful and unique creatures. Thanks to the honest and disciplined work of climate scientists, we know (unless we fall victim to fake news) right now, that our lifestyle is unsustainable, and our dominant philosophy of ‘permanent growth at all cost’ carries the seeds of the destruction of the life that God called good.
Over and above the foolish stewardship of land and resources, yet closely allied to it, is the crisis of values, and of spirituality; a twisted and self-deceptive view of ‘profit’. The whole Christian family now has an unprecedented opportunity and calling: to bring together mission, justice, stewardship, and study: to bring out of our ‘treasure’ the determinative priorities and values that are so different from those piloting Creation towards catastrophe. And above all, to take note of, and act on, and trust in, the worth we are given (each and all of us) in Christ. The worth and encouragement we may give to our neighbour, and our fellow creature, in partnership, rather than exploitation. May we cherish and be empowered by the knowledge of our enduring and transforming worth in the sight of God. Even if, until now, we have indeed pursued ‘worthless things’.
You can download all the resources as individual weeks or as a complete set.
Our writers are drawn from a variety of church backgrounds and pastoral contexts, so do not expect that they all speak with one voice or perspective. We all share, as Pope Francis as said, a ‘Common Home’, and offer this work in trust that there is no one whose contribution is not vital to the healing partnership of Christ with God’s Creation. The God of the Bible’s tendency, observable in these readings, to ‘bring the baddies on board’ should steer us to a conciliatory approach, rather than a blame-game, fruitless denial of the crisis, or a complacent acceptance of the principles, whilst reserving exceptions for ourselves. The bottom line, is the love for your neighbour, as yourself.