The Season of Creation, a recently-evolved observance meant to encourage prayer and care for the Earth, begins today, September 1, and the Anglican Church of Canada has prepared a special web page of links to liturgical resources and other materials related to the event.
The page includes a link to an online prayer service featuring National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald and other spiritual leaders from around the world.
The prayer service, which began at 3 p.m. GMT in London, U.K., was expected at press time to be available after it concluded on the Season of Creation website.
In a news release issued by the Anglican Church of Canada, MacDonald said he was excited to be part of the online prayer service. He called the establishment of the Season of Creation “timely and prophetic action on the part of the churches” and said he hoped it would “capture minds and hearts around the globe.”
The Season of Creation, which runs from September 1 to October 4 every year, is a time during which Christians around the world are invited to pray and care for creation. It originated with a World Day of Prayer for Creation for Orthodox Christians proclaimed by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I for September 1, 1989. An Ecumenical Day of Prayer for the Preservation of Creation was recommended by the Conference of European Churches in 2001, and in 2015, Pope Francis I called for a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, both to be observed September 1.
Meanwhile, a number of Christian churches began to extend the day over more than a month, until October 4, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The Rev. Ken Gray, secretary of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network and co-chair of the Anglican Church of Canada’s Creation Matters working group, said there has been a push to observe a Season of Creation within the Anglican Communion for a number of years. Representatives of different provinces were encouraged to create Season of Creation lections and liturgies, and incorporate the Season of Creation into their calendars at the 2009 and 2012 meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council, Gray said. And interest in the season continues to increase, he added.
“Folks are digging in deeper, learning more about science and theology and spirituality and activism…and spending more time and energy on producing events and resources,” said Gray.
The Anglican Church of Canada’s new web page includes links to the global Season of Creation website, which includes liturgical resources for Anglican and other spiritual traditions, and information about Season of Creation-related events. Also featured are links to a “Season of Creation tool kit” put together by the Green Churches Network, a Canadian organization for creation-minded churches; and to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s Season of Creation web page.
Ryan Weston, the Anglican Church of Canada’s lead animator of public witness for social and ecological justice, said the season provides time for Anglicans to thoughtfully reflect on the effect human activity is having on the environment, and on what role they can play.
The resources now available, Ryan said, are helpful both to parishes that have observed the season before and to those that haven’t. “The resources are really accessible…so I think it’s easy to find what works in your own context and to have the flexibility to develop a local response to it.”