Care for the Earth, Our Island Home

Care for the Earth, Our Island Home

But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.Who among all these does not know, that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing.
Job 12:7–10a

This week world leaders, scientists, and non-governmental organizations are gathered in Glasgow for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26. Each day we hear impassioned calls for a global strategy to avert the catastrophic consequences of a warming planet.

The effects of climate change are not in some far-off future or distant lands. In the United States, we are experiencing historic floods, heat waves, fires, and droughts. In our region we are experiencing hotter summers, cooler winters, and damaging coastal flooding. This summer one in three Americans experienced a weather disaster.

In my last article, I wrote of our diocesan strategic goal for 2022 to cultivate the soil of our diocese so that we might establish up to three new worshipping communities with a primary focus on rising generations. I write here of our second new initiative for 2022, part of our original strategic plan but one we have not yet devoted collective effort to: We will promote Creation Care practices in all our faith communities.

Our first task will be to gather our most passionate leaders to help us form a diocesan-wide Creation Care network. Guided by these leaders, we will establish yearly goals for both our congregations and households along with implementation strategies to accomplish them.

I have great confidence in our capacity to reach this goal in 2022, given the number of congregations actively committed to reducing their global footprint and other creation care practices. By example, here’s what two of our congregations are already doing: St. James’, Potomac has a dedicated ministry to promote home-based Creation Care practices and reduce their overall carbon footprint. San Mateo in Hyattsville, our largest Spanish-speaking congregation has begun an initiative to stop serving water in single-use bottles.

EDOW Missioner for Equity and Justice Hazel Monae reminds us that Creation Care initiatives are an integral part of our primary commitment to racial justice, given how people of color bear the disproportionate impact of climate change and other environmental disasters. Moreover, it is a way for us to work in solidarity with the indiginous people of our lands, for whom care of the creation is a primary value.

It is also part of our legacy to our children and grandchildren, those for whom we are dedicating our efforts for church revitalization and the establishment of new worshipping communities. For what value will our churches be to rising generations if we do not care for the earth, our island home?

Many in our diocese are already engaged in the work of Creation Care. If you are among them and feel called to help us expand and amplify your efforts, please email me. We want to convene leaders before the end of 2021 in order to officially launch our collective initiative at Diocesan Convention in January 2022.

* We can be proud that the Episcopal Church is well-represented at COP26, as well as the broader Anglican Communion. You can follow our leaders on Twitter and the Anglican News Service

Care for the Earth, Our Island Home

Cuidado de la Tierra, Nuestro Hogar en la Isla

An image of the earth from space

Pero interroga a los animales, y ellos te darán una lección; pregunta a las aves del cielo, y ellas te lo contarán; habla con la tierra, y ella te enseñará; con los peces del mar, y te lo harán saber. ¿Quién de todos ellos no sabe que la mano del Señor ha hecho todo esto? En sus manos está la vida de todo ser vivo, y el hálito que anima a todo ser humano.
Job 12:7-10a

Esta semana, líderes mundiales, científicos y organizaciones no gubernamentales se reúnen en Glasgow para la 26ª Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático, o COP26. Cada día escuchamos apasionados llamados a una estrategia global para evitar las consecuencias catastróficas de un planeta en calentamiento.

Los efectos del cambio climático no están en el futuro lejano ni en tierras lejanas. En los Estados Unidos, estamos experimentando inundaciones históricas, olas de calor, incendios y sequías. En nuestra región estamos experimentando veranos más calurosos, inviernos más fríos y daños en las inundaciones costeras. Este verano uno de cada tres estadounidenses experimentó un desastre climático.

En mi último artículo, escribí acerca de nuestra meta estratégica diocesana para 2022 de cultivar la tierra de nuestra diócesis para que podamos establecer por lo menos tres nuevas comunidades de adoración con un enfoque primario en las generaciones crecientes. Escribo aquí de nuestra segunda nueva iniciativa para el 2022, parte de nuestro plan estratégico original, pero uno que aún no le hemos dedicado un esfuerzo colectivo: Promoveremos las prácticas de cuidado de la creación en todas las comunidades de fe.

Nuestra primera tarea será reunir a nuestros líderes más apasionados para ayudarnos a formar una red diocesana de Cuidado de la Creación. Guiados por estos líderes, estableceremos metas anuales para nuestras congregaciones y hogares junto con estrategias de implementación para lograrlas.

Tengo gran confianza en nuestra capacidad para alcanzar esta meta en 2022, dado el número de congregaciones activamente comprometidas a reducir su huella global y otras prácticas de cuidado de la creación. Por ejemplo, esto es lo que dos de nuestras congregaciones ya están haciendo: St. James’, Potomac tiene un ministerio dedicado para promover prácticas de cuidado de la creación basadas en el hogar y reducir su huella de carbono en general. San Mateo en Hyattsville, nuestra congregación de habla hispana más grande ha comenzado una iniciativa para dejar de servir agua en botellas de un solo uso.

Hazel Monae, Misionera de EDOW para la Equidad y la Justicia, nos recuerda que las iniciativas de Cuidado de la Creación son una parte integral de nuestro compromiso principal con la justicia racial, dada la forma en que las personas de color soportan el impacto desproporcionado del cambio climático y otros desastres ambientales. Además, es una forma de trabajar solidariamente con los pueblos indígenas de nuestras tierras, para quienes el cuidado de la creación es un valor primordial.

También es parte de nuestro legado a nuestros hijos y nietos, aquellos a quienes estamos dedicando nuestros esfuerzos para la revitalización de la iglesia y el establecimiento de nuevas comunidades de adoración. ¿Qué valor tendrán nuestras iglesias para las nuevas generaciones si no nos preocupamos por la tierra, nuestro hogar en la isla?

Muchos en nuestra diócesis ya están comprometidos en el trabajo del Cuidado de la Creación. Si usted está entre ellos y siente un llamado para ayudarnos a expandir y amplificar sus esfuerzos, por favor envíeme un correo electrónico. Queremos convocar a líderes antes que termine el 2021 para lanzar oficialmente nuestra iniciativa colectiva en la Convención Diocesana en enero de 2022.

* Podemos estar orgullosos de que la Iglesia Episcopal esté bien representada en COP26, así como en la Comunión Anglicana más amplia. Puede seguir a nuestros líderes en Twitter y en el Servicio de Noticias Anglicana

 

Introducing the Path of Discipleship App, Sharing Cards, and Posters

Introducing the Path of Discipleship App, Sharing Cards, and Posters

The Path of Discipleship App for iPhone Picture

The Path of Discipleship App for iPhone

Come, follow me.
Matthew 4:19

From the start of his ministry, and throughout the four gospels, Jesus invites the people he meets to follow him. Turn from what you are doing, Jesus says, come and follow me.

As Christians we have committed to living a Jesus-shaped life. But how do we do that? More than a year ago a group of more than 20 individuals from diverse contexts across the Diocese of Washington gathered to share stories of growing as followers of Jesus to discern practices that we could offer others seeking to grow in faith. Running through our stories, we discovered five core practices along a path of discipleship:

Pray 
Learn 
Serve 
Give 
Share

Pray: We begin with prayer–talking, listening, and responding to God, the ground of our being and source of transformation. Finding a prayer practice that draws us close to God can take any number of forms, including worshipping with our faith community, listening to reflections on Scripture, or remaining in silence.

Learn: Learning is a commitment to discovering the story of God and God’s people through ongoing study of Scripture, tradition, science, ourselves and our neighbors so that we can discern how to join God in reconciling all people and creation.

Serve: By serving we take part in God’s mission by using our gifts in service to others and creation. Serving is a matter of relationships marked by vulnerability, courage, creativity and wholeness that honors the dignity of every member of the community.

Give: God has blessed us abundantly. It is out of those gifts we share generously with others, knowing that all we have been given is a gift from God meant for the fullness of creation.

Share: Finally, we grow in faith by sharing the good news of Christ, inviting others to come on the journey with God.

Over the past year, we have been on a journey to create resources to help our congregations and its members to grow in discipleship. Today we share three:

A Path of Discipleship App: An interactive app for iPhone and Android devices offering over 100 activities to pray, learn, serve, give, and share with discussion prompts. Share your practice on social media and watch your progress along a deepening faith path. The app includes a “find a church” feature that shows users Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Washington close to you with links to connect. Download the app from Apple | from Google (coming soon!)

Path of Discipleship faith sharing cards: A set of 54 cards with question prompts in both Spanish and English inviting players to share stories about prayer, learning, serving, giving, and sharing. Great as conversation starters at home, church, or any gathering of a faith community. Use them to begin your small group gathering or to prompt conversation at a community dinner. Three decks available–child, youth, and adult. $8.15 a deck. Order a deck.

Path of Discipleship posters: A set of 6 posters for congregations to display in their churches, highlighting each practice plus a poster that introduces the path of discipleship. Download the posters.

We invite you to go deeper in your faith life through these five essential Christian practices. These five practices, over time, hold the promise of transforming hearts, hands and heads, helping us live more like Jesus along an ever-deepening path of discipleship.

These resources are intended to get you started wherever you are, whether you are new to faith or a longtime follower of Jesus. No matter where you are, you can continue to grow your capacities, commitments, and understandings of God, yourself, and your neighbors.

Related articles, EDOW’s Path of Discipleship 8/19/21

The Rev. Jenifer Gamber
Director of the School for Christian Faith and Leadership and Tending Our Soil Thriving Congregations Initiative