In the calendars of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, September 1 is the Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Looking for news about it this morning, I discovered a liturgical season of which I was not aware: the “Season of Creation” or “Creation Time.” It runs from September 1 to the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4.
As Pope Francis highlighted in his 2015 encyclical Laudito Si “On the Care for Our Common Home” the lack of ecological stewardship and sustainability is the greatest crisis facing the human race. It is interconnected with other problems including poverty, many wars, and the spread of disease.
Observance of the Season of Creation is promoted by the Catholic Global Climate Movement, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development in England and Wales, and at least officially by a number of other groups including the Lausanne / World Evangelical Alliance Creation Care Newtwork. A large array of resources, including a celebration guide with texts for an ecumenical prayer service are available at seasonofcreation.org
The observance of the season seems more popular outside of the United States than with in it. For example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops does provide a collection of prayers for the Care of Creation and a bulletin insert, but the bulletin insert was developed two years ago and has not been updated. A detail from a map of local events for Creation Season online shows many observances in parts of the northeastern U.S., but a much higher density in Europe.
There is more I could write about the choosing of September 1 as the Day of Prayer for Creation Care (it goes back to it being the first day in the Eastern Orthodox liturgical year) and of the history of such special seasons in American Christianity. But of course the key question for all of us is what we can do locally. Samford’s major annual environmental activity–participation in the Friends of Shades Creek clean-up of our creek–is coming up at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 28. Perhaps ministries at Samford and churches in Homewood can build upon that.