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Happy Orthodox Environment Day and start of Creationtide

September 1, 2013:

Celebrating nature in all its variety and beauty. PHOTO: Creative Commons Mysza831

Today is the first day of the Christian season of the natural environment today, in a tradition created in 1989 by the late Patriarch Demetrios I.

Since then, September 1 (chosen because it is first day of the Orthodox ecclesiastical year) has been adopted by Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics as the start of the Creation Time or "Creationtide". This is the season, running to St Francis day on October 4, when churches and congregations are called to pay special attention to the responsibility of humanity for the Earth and for all that lives upon it.

It builds on the theme of harvest festivals, which for the past century have become unofficial dates in most church diaries.

The Christian fellowship, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, has put together a programme of excellent resources for Creationtide. This year the theme is water justice (or perhaps more accurately water injustice), corresponding with the United Nation's International Year of Water Cooperation.

Churches around the world are preparing to give thanks for the Harvest and for the gifts of nature
Sermon ideas include the New Testament story of the woman at the well, to explore sharing water, and prizing it, in order to looks at how many people live in an environment where springs have stopped flowing.

ARC has created a popular resource of ideas for creating Harvest festivals on environment themes here. It includes readings, prayers and hymns for four different themes your church could choose to explore: God the Creator, Are We Stewards or Tyrants? Offerings at the Altar, and the New Heaven and the New Earth.

Time for Creation

As well as Orthodox Christians, churches from a broad range of countries and traditions will participate with prayers and other activities in the Time for Creation or Creationtide over the next month, until the feast day of the Patron Saint of Animals, St Francis on October 4, which is the day Catholic parishes often choose to celebrate Creation and the environment.

Inspiring words from the Green Patriarch, Bartholomew

“Everything that lives and breathes is sacred and beautiful in the eyes of God. The whole world is a sacrament. The entire created cosmos is a burning bush of God’s uncreated energies. And humankind stands as a priest before the altar of creation, as microcosm and mediator. Such is the true nature of things; or, as an Orthodox hymn describes it, ‘the truth of things’, if only we have the eyes of faith to see it.”

Links

Churches Together Resources for 2013

Patriarch’s Creation Day speech from 2010

Harvest Festival



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July 30, 2013:
Pope Francis urges Brazilian Catholics to protect God's creation in the Amazon
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September 1, 2013:
Happy Orthodox Environment Day and start of Creationtide
This is the first day of Creationtide, which runs until October 4. Link here for resources and quotes for an inspiring Harvest Festival
Harvest Festival
The Harvest Festival is one of the most popular services in the Christian church calendar. But it has no place in the Book of Common Prayer. Here are some suggestions for services to celebrate Nature and the Harvest.