Photo by DFID - UK Department for International Development
The fact of global climate change has been much in evidence this summer: record heat and widespread fires in Russia; floods covering a third of Pakistan; landslides in China; and an ice island broken off a Greenland glacier, four times the size of Manhattan.
Among the actions that the Church of England and our Diocese in Europe have endorsed concerning climate change is the observance of a "Time for Creation", from 1 September (the first day of the church year for the Orthodox Churches) to 4 October (the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi). During this season, our congregations are encouraged to give particular focus to environmental issues. Prayers for the environment and for the created order are often missing from the intercessions on a Sunday morning. Perhaps during this years "Time for Creation", they can begin to be part of our regular Sunday prayer.
Our Diocesan Environmental Officer, Madeleine Holmes, has pointed out some helpful resources for the celebration of Creationtide. They include material to help preachers with sermon preparation for the 5 Sundays that fall between 1 September and 4 October, all based on the lectionary readings. Click here to access the range of resources.
Here are some prayers that can be used. The first is a prayer for biodiversity. (2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity).
God of wisdom, showing us your love in the rising sun and waning tide,The World Council of Churches has asked that we might focus our prayer for and with the people of Africa where biodiversity and human welfare are threatened alike by climate change. So here is a prayer from Nigeria:
you grace Earth with life in all its variety.
Every thing has meaning, is blessing;
every one is charged with care for the smallest creature to the ocean’s depth.
Grant us wisdom to know your ways of love and gentle kindness.
Give us the mind to learn what we do not know but long to understand
so that we may honour and nurture all that makes us one with you.
God of Heaven and earth,These and other prayers in French, German and Spanish as well as English are available here.
you have blessed us with the works of your hands,
The tall mountains and deep blue seas
Even wonderful creatures to adorn it
And have given us dominion over all of them
Help us to preserve and appreciate this gifts that others may benefit
Even generations to come, this we pray
through Jesus Christ, our Lord and the Holy Spirit
one God now and for ever.