How Your Community Can Get Involved in Creationtide This Year

How Your Community Can Get Involved in Creationtide This Year

Is your community doing anything for Creationtide this autumn? Many churches across the country choose to hold special services during the Season of Creation. These services are an opportunity to give thanks for God’s gift of creation, and for Christians to renew their commitment to caring for planet earth.

What is Creationtide?

Creationtide, sometimes referred to as the Season of Creation, is a period in the annual church calendar, where we think about God as Creator, and Sustainer of all life. Creationtide takes place between 1 September and 4 October, and therefore tends to be in the period leading up to Harvest Thanksgiving.

Last year, the burning bush was the the symbol for the Season of Creation 2022. Although wild fires are one of the devastating impacts of climate change, the fire that called to Moses did not consume or destroy the bush. The flame revealed God’s presence. Alongside this, the theme was ‘Listen to the Voice of Creation’.

The theme this year is ‘Let Justice and Peace Flow’, and the symbol is a mighty river. This comes from Isaiah 43:19 – ‘Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.’ When we join the river of justice and peace with others, hope is created instead of despair.

At LOVECHURCH Bournemouth we celebrate Creationtide because the number one concern of unchurched younger generations is the climate emergency. 

Young people’s fear about our planet’s future is well founded in hard science but lacks good theology bringing hope. Often they perceive Christianity as part of the problem, having preached the heresy of destructive dominion. Creationtide is an opportunity to repent and reset truth and action.

Firstly, we can celebrate God’s nature and work displayed in creation.

Secondly, we can reframe impersonal “environmental” issues as a crisis in creation, the treasured personal expression of our Creator. The present crisis is the result of self-evident, self-destructive human sin. We are saved by faith in the Creator’s incarnation, salvation and resurrection. We are invited to join the Creator in working for the renewal of all things.

Thirdly, we can take practical action. Like many others, our church family has a vision for “Net Zero by 2030”. For us, that means not just every site, service and ministry, but also every household.

Tim Matthews, Vicar of LOVECHURCH Bournemouth

What Resources are Available for Creationtide?

There are many online resources churches or Sunday schools can use when celebrating the Creationtide. One of the easiest things to do is to join the Season of Creation mailing list, which means you’ll receive the latest resources and news to help you celebrate the season.

The People’s Plan for Nature

The People’s Plan for Nature is exactly what it sounds like – a plan created for the people, by the people of the UK. It’s a vision for the future of nature, and the actions we must urgently take to protect and renew it. 

The Church of England fully support the People’s Plan for Nature, and encourage others to back it too. Much of our wildlife is at risk from climate change and biodiversity loss. In fact, the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with 97% of our wildflower meadows having been lost since the 1930s, and 492 animal and plant species being lost since the 1800s.

Part of our Christian discipleship is to notice what we’re interconnected with, so that we can wonder at God’s creation and then take action to safeguard it.

Graham Usher, the Church of England’s Lead Bishop for Environmental Affairs

We should welcome the People’s Plan for Nature, as it alerts us to the irreplaceable value of nature, the threats which it faces and the need for immediate action. We all have to acknowledge that it’s time to start approaching solutions that meet the seriousness of the situation.

You can find plenty of helpful information on the People’s Plan for Nature website, such as the Summary of the plan, as well as the Full Report.

Eco Church

Eco Church is A Rocha UK’s award scheme for churches in England and Wales who want to demonstrate that the gospel is good news for God’s earth. Not only does the website have loads of useful information and resources, you can also sign up to one of their free online webinars:

  • Getting Started With Eco Church – Thursday 14 September, 12-1pm book here
  • Working Towards an Award and Maintaining Momentum – Tuesday 19 September, 12-1pm, book here
  • Working Towards Net Zero Carbon – Tuesday 26 September, 4-5pm, book here

Christian Aid – Creative for Climate Justice

Get Creative For Climate Justice asks young people to use their creativity to create individual artwork and exhibitions, and then use these to send a loud and clear climate justice message to MPs and Government Ministers.

After registering for the project, young people are encouraged to learn more about the climate crisis and how it affects people and communities. They can then create artwork that will hopefully be displayed in schools, where an elected representative is invited to view the pieces. The artwork can finally be shared with Christian Aid, who aim to feature as many pieces of young people’s climate justice artwork in the exhibition in the Houses of Parliament as possible.

You can download the Creative for Climate Justice Project Pack here.

Ripple Effect

There are lots of free downloadable resources for Creationtide and Harvest on the Ripple Effect website. The idea is that whilst you celebrate the abundance God has given us, you can support our global neighbours to fight hunger and the climate crisis.

The resources include things like posters, leaflets, services, and youth activities. There are plenty of other ways you can get involved too, such as joining Ripple Effect’s free virtual Harvest event, meeting with Mele from their team in Zambia. This virtual event will provide the opportunity to hear about the challenges farmers are facing across the world, and how Ripple Effect is standing with them this harvest. 

Church of England Creationtide Resources

The Church of England website has a page dedicated to Creationtide resources that you can download. As we move closer to the season of Creationtide, more resources will also be added.

You can also find the routemap for the Church of England’s plans to reach net zero by 2030 on the Church of England website, as well as a new Land and Nature page. Also available is a guide on reducing embodied carbon.

For anyone looking for liturgical resources for creation and the environment, you can also find these on the Church of England website.

Celebrating the Season of Creation

Churches across the diocese have already started rejoicing in the wonders of creation. St Lawrence Church in Alton, for instance, celebrated Creation Sunday in their churchyard, which included praise, crafts, and reflection activities. Those who braved the cold, windy weather were asked to think about things they should ‘Refuse and Reuse’.

For example, we should refuse to buy more things than we need, despite bargain buy offers, as this leads to waste, particularly of food. In terms of reusing, we should repair what we can, and donate items we no longer need to charity shops and community centres, where they can be reused and appreciated.

On a wider scale, we’re thrilled that lots of local churches in our diocese participated in Churches Count on Nature this year, as part of Love Your Burial Ground Week. Over 400 counting events took place nationally, recording their findings using the iNaturalist app. These results are combined with others and then collated on the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), a nationwide database of wildlife in the UK.

Work is now going on to analyse the findings about the species that were recorded. So far, the results show that a lot of bumblebees were spotted this year!