Invitation to contribute: Season of Creation 2023

view the video first

Hello: I’m Rev David Coleman, EcoChaplain for EcoCongregation Scotland:

it’s that time of year when we’re looking to you to be part of the Season of Creation Resources for 2023:  covering the Sundays  of September and the first Sunday in October,   both with  prayers and reflections for every passage in the Lectionary AND thematic items.  Something  that caught your attention in the Bible or the environment, which would help churches with their life and work.   This is offered by EcoCongregation Scotland  to any and all churches in Scotland and beyond

We’re delighted to include  excellent guidance from Church of Scotland’s Weekly Worship,  on written prayers and comments; but also encouraging you to be creative in other media: video, poetry, sculpture – whatever allows you to share your inspiration with others.  Stuff from young people, older people,  and from those in training for Christian leadership is especially welcome, and I’ll go out of my way to enable your  own original work to be presented as beautifully  as possible. 

Yes,  “Houston, we have a deadline: “ in the can by the middle of June at the latest   would be wonderful, but we can stretch it just a bit: you know we always do!

Finally: I’m not looking for the content of your bookshelf.  The climate crisis pushes us up and over into different insights: you know more  than the big old names do about the state of the world: so do’t just go up the hill and back down again: push on a bit further and share what shakes, delights  and surprises you about following Christ in Climate Crisis.

Please get in touch straight away via


Church of Scotland  Guidance  for written material ( adapted for EcoCongregation Scotland)

Weekly Worship, based on the Revised Common Lectionary, is offered to those who are creating and leading worship – in any capacity – and provides resources that can be used in worship in all settings or adapted to a particular context, equipping and encouraging worship leaders to become more creative. 

Choose any one,  or even all of these categories

Scripture Passages: 250 – 500 words for each lectionary reading 

Provide thoughts or a brief exegesis on the background of each of the scripture passages and the ways you approached the texts. This is an opportunity to demonstrate different ways of engaging with the passage(s) and themes. For example: 

What in the text really piqued your interest or curiosity? 

Where did your curiosity lead you? 

What questions arose that helped you to shape your material? 

3. Sermon Ideas: 250 – 500 words
NOT a full sermon, but  suggested themes reflection on how the passages resonate today. 

Include a few sentences on your approach to writing this section and any useful experiences of delivering your ‘sermon’ ideas in a worship gathering.
Not all gatherings include a sermon; people engage with scripture in different ways so you are encouraged to include alternative approaches that might be used, e.g. Q&As, conversations in groups, or other ways to approach scripture and share learning.

4: Prayers

Please provide the prayers indicated below, introduced by a few sentences describing your approach (e.g., using  news media, or IPCC reports to guide your thoughts around environmentally significant world events and situations). Comment on any specific language used in the prayers or how a worship leader might frame these prayers to maximise participation for the whole church community . 

Gathering prayer /Prayer of Approach/ Call to worship /Opening responses

Confession / Repentance

Thanksgiving / Gratitude

Prayer for others / Intercession

Blessing / Closing prayer

 5. Musical Suggestions
We’ll be linking to the superb project at Trinity College, though any new material, or something relating directly to the lectionary readings may also be featured.


Please use gender-neutral, expansive and creative language, especially when referring to God and the Holy Spirit, to make the material more accessible and inclusive.  Avoid ‘stewardship’- we’ve moved on from that!

The NRSVC is the starting point for  Bible quotes: so please specify if you use a different translation.

As far as possible  make sure that this is completely your own work, and avoid footnotes.  It’s a great discipline and builds confidence in yourself  and your readers. 

If you are using quotations, please take responsibility yourself to ensure  that all sources are clearly identified and references given. Material published on the website is subject to the laws of copyright.

Please save your file in the a format which helps us keep track of it e.g., your name and the Lectionary reference, e.g., 1 December_Jane Smith_1 of Advent.

We reserve the right to edit all materials submitted, and to use them during and beyond Season of Creation 2023 without further permission.

Lent 2023 Resources:

From the Tree to the Tree: 5 major reflections

(Sermon-slot length: expect to be challenged)A tree was planted to acknowledge the footprint of each.

All 5 now online and downloadable ,

Easter Sunday material here [Filmed at Rosslyn Chapel]

Watch this space for something for Palm Sunday

Lent Week 1: Thoughts on Beauty, Angels, Temptation and Climate Crisis, filmed under Ormiston Yew, where John Knox preached 500 years ago

OT reading Week 1


LENT WEEK 2: The convergence of wind and power, farming and conservation at Whitelee Windfarm provide an environment to think about how good things can coincide rather than be exclusive alternatives.

Reading [OT only ] for week 2



Our thirst for water and for energy



NB For those who need Mothering Sunday: try :

For Lent 4: A necessary questioning of the shocking stories underlying what seem to be straightforward Scriptures .


LENT WEEK 5 : Beyond “Too Late!”

NOTE: Contains skeletons and other bones. (Because it’s based on the greatest creepy story in the Bible ) COPYRIGHT: Uses Public Domain Mark 1.0 music: completely safe to use).

Holy Week Suite

(new and old from the treasury)

.Here is a selection of downloadable devotional material from several years of the EcoChaplaincy to see you through this inspiring and thoughtful time.


NEW: -A devotional talk for a Christian college service, on EcoCongregation Scotland, in the days before Palm Sunday

From Edinburgh Episcopal Cathedral



( A presentation of the deep moving ancient epic poem, from the point of view of the tree/cross on which Jesus was crucified)

EASTER SUNDAY SUNRISE (filmed: Rosslyn Chapel)

Easter Sunday Sunrise Stilling video

Coronation Tree Dedication

A draft – for you to adapt. Adapted from words used at the planting of a sapling oak to mark the Jubilee, with the church of Colonsay in 2022

Tree dedication  

‘As the days of a tree, shall the days of my people be’ [Is 65:22], says the prophet, but planting this wee tree, we’re looking -God willing – way beyond the life of anyone here. To do so implies a wee partnership of mutual care between the people who plant and tend and the trees who give life in so many ways. 

Indeed, when God gave King Solomon wisdom the King spoke of animals, birds, creeping things, fish, and of course trees.

And of all the ways in which to mark a milestone of our own nations and cultures, the dedication of a tree is now, more than ever amongst the most appropriate 

I think that I shall never see a carbon capture technology as lovely as a tree, though we’ve learned from the scientists of COP and elsewhere that what matters is the right tree in the right place.  It might be more difficult to dedicate a bog or a grove of seagrass, so trees it is!

If an oak  [research may fill in if a different tree is chosen, e.g. rowan, apple etc ]

An oak has a very special pedigree: it was a species of Oak that hosted the meeting of Abraham and Sarah with God. Isaiah and other prophets cried out against the blasphemous desecration of the self-evident holiness of Oak trees in the abusive cults of Israel’s neighbours; It’s the right trees and as for the right place: Columba, a friend of these islands, learned much from the legacy of his Celtic ancestors about the sanctity of the Oak, which is throughly born out by the environmental science of our day. 

Dedicating this very long-lived tree is a sign of hope which, in their lifetime connects as we are connected with ancestors of our faith in Scotland, just the lifetime of an oak ago. Thus it is very much in faith, looking into a future we can’t know, that we mark the beginning of King Charles’ reign in this way, remembering also how, together with the late Queen, over the seventy years of her reign, the planting of trees has been a joy, a delight, and a sign of hope.


Dear God who shapes the trees from the same stuff as your people, we dedicate and ask you blessing on the planting and the continuing care of this young oak .[or other tree as applicable ]

As a young sapling, may they be a sign of hope and inspiration, and the gratitude we feel today.  

As a mature tree, and perhaps within our own lifetime, a  fruitful habitat and refuge for the birds of the heavens and the many other creatures on whom, unbeknown, we so crucially. May every creature with breath praise God – as we breathe in what trees breathe out, in all our work and worship.

And if, by your grace, some centuries hence this [Oak] tree reaches that venerable final stage of their life, giving back to the Earth, playing their part in the web of life whilst still offering their rich hospitality, then by that wonder may God’s name be praised. 

But for us today, as we dedicate this Oak tree on the occasion of the Coronation, in the words of Isaiah 

“May your heart and the heart of your people be moved as the trees of the forest are moved by the wind.” and by the Spirit of God, to the care of Creation

Book Review : Cherishing Creation – Nourishing the Spirit.

A train journey to meet with churches in Caithness provided the opportunity to look through the new anthology from the Unitarian tradition, Cherishing the Earth – Nourishing the Spirit, Edited by Maria Curtis and published by the Lindsey Press: here’s how it turned out.

Cherishing the Earth – Nourishing the Spirit – the Unitarian Laudato Si?

The title connects what should never have been seen as apart:  that mutually-blessing way of world-care as self-care. But maybe it needs to be stated and re-stated in an intimidatingly objectifying  global north culture.  And in religious cultures where the need for ‘self-denial’ brownie-points leads us into spiritually unsustainable actions and commitments. Because we’re not in control, and our individual actions won’t  ‘save the planet’  the ones we do choose need to nourish us too.  Cherishing the Earth doesn’t happen on flat spiritual batteries. This is a power-pack.

At a time when some spiritual writers are still trawling the Big Name authorities of the late century on creation topics, Climate Crisis debunks the medieval conceit  of “midgets on the shoulders of giants”,  grassroots worshippers, poets pastors and activists  really are better informed -and can easily become so  – than those who by definition, could not take into account the urgency of the crises we’re now in the middle of. We honour them by recycling, but not by restricting  ourselves to their insights.  

This project is both an expression of and encouragement to that rebellion, with a very mixed bag of modes of writing,  each ‘essay’  adorned with a postscript of  more overtly creative writing, and section introductions  which tell you want to look out for before you trip over it. There are aspects of  ‘primer’, but also of  manifesto here.

Don’t be daunted by a preface, a foreword AND an introduction before things seem to get going. These are part of the value of this book, and not incidental reading.

I understand why our friend Alastair McIntosh’s foreword, which is a delight in itself, doesn’t waste time picking up highlights of the book elsewhere , but contributes his own scientifically and spiritually literate perspective, with the anecdote of his being sternly warned at a Unitarian Conference :“‘Don’t give them too much Christianity”. So I gave them lots!”This collection is rightly bold in giving readers “lots of Unitarianism”, looking for their distinctive gifts, and arriving, blessedly, at what  – because I’m seeing them in so many spiritual traditions  – need to be recognised as Public Domain conclusions,: taking science seriously,  seeking kinship with the non-human, resisting both despair and (permanent) lament, and delighting in the creative recycling of spiritual resources we might hitherto have shelved or even despised. 

 Thus it’s good to be able to endorse the assertiveness of some of the writers -and indeed the project as a whole – in sticking their necks out to present  something  which recognises for the first time in any book I’ve yet come across, that our challenge is no longer “what if” and “it might…” but rather, by the standards we’ve heard in our own lifetimes “too late”! 

Tipping points have tumbled, the crisis is now! Thus the book is a welcome contrast to the Grand-old-Duke-of Yorkism [to the top of the hill and down again]  of British mainstream churches as they struggle to find an appropriately urgent  response to a pile-up of crises in which even Unitarians begin to see the point and purpose of apocalyptic modes of speech and thought as a spiritual response to threat, seeking a balance of blessing.  

‘Stewardship’ –  that comfortable shibboleth of liberal Christians who didn’t like ‘dominon’ but just haven’t grasped the need for kinship and friendship of a Creation on whom we depend – makes only two appearances, and those do no harm.

Thus this compendium of densely-written  pamphlets, or perhaps ‘season of lectures’ bound together in one volume bears fair comparison to that other less transparently  group effort under the  umbrella of a particular tradition, Pope Francis’s  ‘Laudato Si’. 

The writers are recycling reassessing  repurposing the treasures of their tradition, and therefore affirming its value both to them and the kinship of the Earth. Maybe the purpose of faith is to equip us in response to crisis, and here, a liberal faith, priding itself on a relative absence of dogmatic clutter –  though here noting with honesty the traditional shackles of individualism – is offered both to Unitarians and others of goodwill.

Despite occasional lapses into bibliography in the body of the text, ( prompting the reader to wonder why they didn’t just go straight to Joanna Macy or Henry David Thoreau ) the struggles insights ands solidarity of these Unitarian writers of the Now, shines through, Like the multiple inventors of television and telephone, shared  inspired ideas need to be shared and widely owned, rather than encouraging a copyright mentality of hesitation to express them  and own them yourself in your own terms. As a reader who’s a practitioner rather than a student, I’m far more interested in what the writers have to say than in what books they have read.

Don’t swallow it all at once. It’s a menu, and the ingredients  are fresh. But  read it now. Don’t leave it too long. 

Kinross Parish Church – Silver Award Winners.

Kinross Parish Church have been awarded their Silver Eco-Congregation Scotland Award in recognition of all their work and commitment to care for creation. Achieving a Silver Award shows a commitment to address environmental concerns as part of their faith, as can be seen in their spiritual living, practical living and global living.

The congregation is active in the community promoting several environmental initiatives such as regular litter picks. The litter pickers work closely Perth & Kinross Council. There is a very successful scheme for collecting blister packs which is used by people throughout Kinross and the surrounding area. (This has been so successful that a larger bin is now needed!) None of the congregation’s initiatives stand alone. An example of this would be the produce from the allotment at the Church Centre which is then cooked and used in outreach activities.

It was notable for this congregation the spiritual and practical approaches to being an Eco Congregation intertwine with neither being a dominant partner. Care for creation forms an important part of worship and is a topic for Bible studies too. The congregation made use of their weekly Transform Trade as part of their Spiritual life.  They have addressed issues of energy use in their buildings and are encouraging the wider community to make use of the premises.

Kinross Parish Church is involved with a number of community groups including the Kinross-Shire Climate Café, Kinross Estate, Kinross Rotary, Kinross Youth Enterprise (KYTHE), and Kinross Community Council. From these links they have been involved in planting trees with the Queen’s Green Canopy project, litter picking and growing produce in starter plots and raised beds with the Milnathort and Kinross Allotment Association.

The congregation has active links to Malawi and also a close relationship with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Transform Trade forms an important part of the lives of this congregation, and the assessors found that the ethos of Fair Trade was well understood by all at Kinross Parish Church.

The Eco-Congregation Scotland award assessors commended the work of Kinross Parish Church in the following areas:

The effectiveness of their programme of eco related activities.

The way in which their environmental activities are interlinked.

The great work done by the eco team and team leader, Jim Smith, was commended. The support given by the Kirk Session and the wider congregation were noted to be important in the success of this work. The support from the Minister, Rev Alan Reid and the Transform Trade Coordinator was also praised.

Congratulations to all at Kinross Parish Church for a well deserved Eco Congregation Scotland Silver Award.

A well deserved coffee after litter picking.