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Monday, 31 August 2015

1 September - Day of Prayer for All Creation

A united voice has emerged across the Christian Church in calling the faithful to observe a "World Day of Prayer for all Creation" on 1 September. The initiative was that of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew back in 1989. He was followed by His Holiness Pope Francis after the publication of the papal encyclical Laudato Si' earlier this year.

Then Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa called on Anglicans everywhere to join Orthodox, Roman Catholic  and other Christians in observing a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September. (Archbishop Makgoba is chair of the international Anglican Communion Environmental Network).

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
The Church of England has now followed these Church leaders and last week our “lead bishop” for the environment, Nicholas Holtam of Salisbury, called on congregations to fast and pray for the care of creation on September 1. (Actually, in this Diocese in Europe, at our former Environmental Officer’s urging, we have followed the Orthodox lead for several years in observing this day).

So most Christians around the world are now witnessing together on 1 September, through prayer and fasting, that we face a most urgent challenge, to protect the creation which is God’s handiwork, and which is entrusted to our care as stewards.

Already around the world millions are suffering from the consequences of climate change and environmental degradation. In our diocese we have many sisters and brothers in our Moroccan parishes who have fled their sub-saharan homelands, not only due to violence and persecution which is a major factor, but also because regions in their countries are drying out.

On the 1st day of September this and every year, let us join in this global Christian observance, and let out prayer, fasting, and personal reflection lead to action and the shaping of lifestyles which enable us to walk lightly on “this fragile earth, our island home”, as an Anglican eucharistic prayer describes our planet.

Let us also pray earnestly for governments around the world to reach a just, bold and far-reaching agreement when they gather from 30 November to 11 December in Paris for the Climate Change summit.

From the Papal Encyclical Laudato Si' comes this prayer for our earth:
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

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