Special Earth Day Celebration with the Piscataway Singers and Dancers

Special Earth Day Celebration with the Piscataway Singers and Dancers

Recognizing the reverence held by indigenous peoples for creation and the earth, St. John’s Norwood invites you to celebrate Earth Day with the Piscataway Nation. Enjoy the Piscataway Singers and Dancers, meet Chief Tayac, and learn more about the Piscataway Nation and their cultural heritage.

If you cannot attend in person at St. John’s Norwood, please join us via Zoom.

At the time of Columbus, as many as 10 million Native Americans lived in North America. A succession of Algonquian peoples ultimately coalesced into the
Piscataway Nation of the Chesapeake & Tidewater regions of Maryland. The Piscataway were the first Native Americans to encounter Captain John Smith along the banks of the Potomac River in 1608. Today, Mark Tayac and the Piscataway Nation Singers & Dancers carry on the long standing traditions, culture and heritage of their indigenous ancestors and welcome the opportunity to educate and entertain audiences who want to learn more about American Indian history, culture and traditions.ge

Organized as part of St. John’s 150th anniversary-year celebration, this special event is brought to you in part by St. John’s Opportunity Shop, serving the Bethesda Community for over 75 years.

Water and Wilderness Church

Water and Wilderness Church

An outdoor walking service in the wilderness of God’s creation, WWC is for seekers, believers, and all who find connection to God through nature. We join our worship with the ongoing worship of God and presence of Christ made manifest in the natural world. We sing songs, listen to the gospel, pray for the world, walk and reflect together, and share Eucharist in communion with the body of Christ that includes all natural wonders. Birds, trees, water, sky, and the setting sun are all part of our worship.

Resources for the Stewardship of Creation

Resources for the Stewardship of Creation

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. It is a time to take stock of our lives: Are we acting as good stewards of God’s creation? What more can we do, with God’s help?

A resolution at General Convention in 2022 committed The Episcopal Church to a goal of net carbon neutrality in its operations by 2030, and encouraged parishes and dioceses to do the same, “through reducing emissions from travel, energy use, increasing energy efficiency in buildings, and purchasing offsets from investigated, responsible and ethical partners.”

The phrase “net carbon neutrality” may be unfamiliar. It means eliminating or offsetting all of our emissions from fossil fuel use – to stop contributing to climate change. Please consider forming a team to discern the next steps for your parish.

Here are some resources for discernment and engagement on that journey:

Read: Living in an Icon, by Robert Gottfried & Frederick W. Krueger, shows how contemplation of God’s Creation inspires and empowers us to be better stewards. Braiding Sweetgrass, by the Native American biologist Robin Wall Kimmerer, will help you see the beauty of ecology and how every act is potentially sacred. Finding the Mother Tree, by forester and scientist Suzanne Simard, will help you understand how trees communicate and how much about Creation we human beings are just now beginning to perceive.

Watch: Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and gifted communicator, explains in a TED talk why it is so important to wean ourselves off fossil fuels as soon as possible, moving to clean energy, and how important it is to talk about why climate change matters to us as human beings and as Christians. Look up Prof. Hayhoe’s books and articles to learn more!

Learn: Did you know the Diocese has a web page devoted to creation care? We also have a monthly newsletter on ways to engage and events to attend – just send an email to sign up. Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation offers daily messages that include healthy doses of why Creation Care matters. A “zine” from Sojourners presents Creation Care information in a fun format that’s easy to read, with important discussion questions that let you and your group dig deeper. Katharine Hayhoe’s weekly newsletter also includes the good news along with the not so good.

Partner: Join with others in taking action. Interfaith Power & Light will help you reduce and clean up your energy use – become one of their Cool Congregations! (EPA’s ENERGY STAR for Congregations website is amazingly helpful.) Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake can help with tree planting and water runoff.

Do: Get your energy from the sun and save money – either from panels on your roof or community solar. Replace your gas stove with an electric cooktop, or just add and use an induction burner. Get fresh food from a community-supported agriculture source like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Clagett Farm. Drive less and walk more! Don’t forget to plant and care for native trees in our area!

And pray every day, not just on Earth Day, that God will do miraculous work in helping us care for the world we live in – the world we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

Water and Wilderness Church

Water and Wilderness Church

Water and Wilderness Church is a liturgical response to the climate crisis and a worship designed for seekers, believers, and anyone who finds connection to God in nature. It is a relational service with prayer, singing, walking, and Eucharist.

Bring your friends and your dogs and walk in the wilderness with us!

WWC is in development to become a weekly worshiping church plant in the Diocese of Washington in 2025, and occasional services will be held throughout 2024.

Diocesan Creation Care Progress in 2023

Diocesan Creation Care Progress in 2023

One year ago, our diocese passed a resolution encouraging us to plant trees in celebration of special occasions, as part of the Communion Forest initiative of the World Anglican Communion. Deacon Mary Sebold, at St. Dunstan’s, Bethesda, named this effort “Saplings for Sacraments,” an idea she’s presented to worldwide audiences several times over the past year.

Our diocese runs the gamut from parishes that may find it difficult to plant a tree on their grounds to those that host flourishing forests—but wherever our home parishes reside, we can all get involved in caring for our local environment, leaving a legacy for those who follow us. Caring for trees and local green spaces gives us mental, spiritual and physical benefits of cleaner air, cooler temperatures in summer, and the joyful presence of God’s beloved creatures. Find native tree planting resources and more at our Creation Care page of the diocesan website.

At the Episcopal Youth Conference last summer held in College Park, Maryland, our Diocesan Creation Care Committee promoted increased parish engagement in Creation Care projects throughout the U.S., including tree planting and prayers for Creation. A few weeks later, our members heard from Creation Care leaders from across The Episcopal Church at the “It’s All About Love: Festival for the Jesus Movement” in Baltimore in July.

Creation Care, of course, is not simply about planting trees.

The ravages of climate change are inextricably linked to racial and societal inequities. When we work to combat climate change, we are striving for justice. The Episcopal Church passed a resolution that all parishes should be carbon neutral by 2030. Is your parish on track?

One big step toward going carbon neutral is to begin using solar power. Early adopters of rooftop solar in DC were St. Alban’s, St. Columba’s, St. Mark’s Capitol Hill, and Christ Church Washington Parish. Joining them in Montgomery County in 2023 were St. Mark’s Fairland, St. Nicholas Darnestown, and St. Peter’s Poolesville; and moving forward in the process now are St. James’ Potomac, St. John’s Olney, and Washington Episcopal School in Bethesda. Other congregations have signed up with community solar providers such as Neighborhood Sun or with renewable energy providers for their electricity, and many more have reduced their consumption and saved money with energy-efficient lighting and equipment.

Prayerful thanks to all who have made Creation Care a priority in their planning.

What radical actions can each of us take to show our love for every created being in the coming year?

The Rev. Melissa J. Sites
Deacon, St. Christopher’s New Carrollton
Creation Care Committee Co Chair