The Episcopal bishops of both dioceses in Massachusetts have authorized for public use a new liturgical resource that may be used during the Season of Creation 2022. Curated by the Creation Care Leadership Circle of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, this 128-page PDF was made available in both dioceses on August 2nd to give liturgical planners time to peruse the many options for the five Sundays that fall between September 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and October 4, Francis of Assisi.
“Season of Creation: An Ecumenical Celebration” begins with the bishops’ authorization and an introduction to the Season of Creation. In 1989, September 1 was proclaimed an Orthodox day of prayer for God’s creation. Thanks to the World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church, September 1 now also marks the start of a month-long ecumenical season. New themes and symbols enrich each year and inspire congregations to use the power of communal prayer to lament, repent, and rise up for the good of God’s creation.
“Season of Creation” also includes A Creation Care Theology Primer written by the Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas. These four pages might be used for small group reflection and discussion. Bullitt-Jonas gives us the “why” and draws a clear line between the Gospel of Jesus and working for climate justice. In their introduction, the bishops state, “This anthology not only provides special liturgies for the season, but also suggests ways to expand our familiar Sunday liturgies and prayers so that they more accurately reflect the whole Gospel for the whole world. We commend it to you for both congregational worship and personal prayer. Simply reading this resource will be an education in eco-justice, but praying it will move mountains!”
The Rev. John Elliot Lein, a former graphic designer, provided a lot of the material and took on the technical aspect of creating an elegant, user-friendly layout. For each Sunday the resource supplies a unique collect, draws attention to creation care elements in the Lectionary readings for both Track 1 and Track 2, and refers to supplementary texts that may be used in place of the second lesson. It also offers ideas for the sermon. Subsequent sections contain litanies, confessions, intercessions, a creation-based assessment of all nine authorized Eucharistic Prayers, and a “Eucharistic Prayer for Creation” adapted by the Rev. Dr. Nina Ranadive Pooley.
The cover of “Season of Creation: An Ecumenical Celebration” features Earth Icon, an original design based on Andrei Rublev’s “The Trinity.” Iconographer Edith Adams Allison places the three visitors around a table that is the planet Earth. This profound image invites the reader to contemplate an undeniable truth: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Psalm 24:1).”