The Season of Creation
“Climate change is real, and it is happening now."
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu
At the 2019 Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, St. Columba’s co-sponsored a resolution titled “On Creation Care.” This resolution calls on people throughout the diocese to “serve as a moral example in loving God’s creation and responding to the call to protect, conserve, and preserve this fragile earth, our island home.” It also asked churches to adopt a "Season of Creation," which St. Columba’s will observe from September 8th, when our program year begins, through October 6th, 2019 when we will conclude the season with our observance of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Each Sunday during the season will have a particular thematic focus:
Sun., Sept. 8: Creation
Sun., Sept. 15: Land
Sun., Sept. 22: Water
Sun., Sept. 29: Stewardship
Sun., Oct. 6: Action
Our readings and prayers on these Sundays draw heavily on Season of Creation, a resource created in 2008 by leaders in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. In the foreword to this resource, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu writes: “Climate change is real, and it is happening now. In large parts of sub-Saharan Africa, this is a reality. The poor, the vulnerable and the hungry are exposed to the harsh edge of climate change every day of their lives ... It is time to stop this cycle of destruction.”
The final words of the resolution (“this fragile earth, our island home”) borrow language from Eucharistic Prayer C in the Book of Common Prayer, which we will use throughout the season. This revolutionary, participatory eucharistic prayer was written by Howard Galley, a lay person and leader of the liturgical movement who served as Assistant to the Coordinator for Prayer Book Revision — a role which gave Galley a great deal of influence on the final version of the prayer book that was adopted in 1979.
Late one night in 1974, he was in his office at 815 Second Avenue in New York, Episcopal Church headquarters. The following remembrance is from one of Galley’s students, Josh Thomas: “He looked out the window and saw a big, beautiful moon over the city. Five years earlier, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had first set foot on that moon — an epochal event in human history. In 1969, in living rooms across America and around the world, we watched live television coverage from the moon, and everyone saw for themselves that we live on ‘this fragile Earth, our island home.’ Howard consecrated that moment five years later and claimed it for God.” [emphasis original]