In September Christian churches across Europe including the UK will celebrate the gift of the Earth. Known as “Time for Creation” or “Creation Time” this modern religious season stretches from 1st September until 4th October, the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. It was endorsed officially by the European Ecumenical Assembly in 2007 as a time ” to be dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change”.
More and more churches in Britain and Ireland have taken up the season and included it in their annual programmes. My church in Wokingham, All Saints Parish Church, began observing it in 2006 as a regular season when the main Sunday service worship and prayers were themed for this topic. Last year the new set of priest’s robes for the church included one to be worn at services in Creation Time. This year the Creation Time programme at All Saints Parish Church will be headed “Cherishing the Earth”. The focus will be on celebrating the beauty and wonder of the earth and also highlight the need to respond urgently in the face of climate change. Prayers will be said for the UN Climate Summit on 23rd September. A series of sermons will consider week by week the topics of Earth, Fire (energy), Air (climate), Food and Life.
All Saints Church Wokingham will also host a public lecture “Neighbour Love in a Changing Climate” by Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics in the University of Edinburgh and author of A Political Theology of Climate Change (2013)
The majority of 21st century Christians in Europe have moved on from a literalistic belief in the creation of the world in 7 days whilst continuing to value the earth and all its life as a God-given gift to be celebrated and cared for rather than exploited and destroyed.