Each September, churches across the world give special focus to tackling the climate crisis by celebrating the Season of Creation. Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to care for and nurture God’s creation and to be stewards of the earth. Of course, these lessons are, as Christians, ones which we aim to follow year-round, but they take particular significance during this time of Creationtide.

Churches around the diocese are marking this season in a variety of creative and insightful ways; here’s a selection of just some of what’s going on, and information about how you and your church can get involved!

St John’s, Edinburgh

Together with a couple of other city-centre churches, St John’s are launching the Big Green Recipe Book with a special choral evensong on Sunday 25th September. Our diet can have a huge impact on our carbon footprint, with recent studies showing that cutting down on the amount of meat and dairy we consume can help make a positive change. They’ve said:

“The Big Green Recipe Book began with a group of people from three Edinburgh churches asking, “What can we say to our members and friends that will give them hope, that will inspire them to believe that we can make a difference in the face of the climate crisis.” All three of our churches are members of Eco-congregation Scotland. As Christians we believe that we are called to care for our beautiful planet. Global warming is impacting most severely many poorer countries that have contributed very little to global carbon emissions. Christ’s command to love our neighbours compels us to do what we can to fight climate change, not to sit on the side-lines.

The crisis is complex and the problems can be overwhelming. None of us is an environmental specialist, but we have been impressed to learn that over a third of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK come from the production, transport, and distribution of food and drink, and the vast amounts of food waste. (Up to a third of the average UK food shop ends in the bin.) We all have to eat, and we can make choices as to how we shop and what we eat, and how much we throw away. This is why we decided to focus on food, and to gather a book of recipes that might help us all develop some new, sustainable eating habits.”

 You can check out some of their recipes in advance of the launch here – we’d love to see you share some of your culinary creations!

St Anne’s, Dunbar

St Anne’s Episcopal and Methodist church in Dunbar is holding an event on Sunday 18th September – a talk on Faith, Hope and the Climate Crisis – with the Reverend David Mumford and Mark Huxham, Professor of Environmental Biology, Napier University.

Faith, Hope and the Climate Crisis is an event for people of faith to reflect on the current state of play in respect of the climate crisis and to ponder about how they are called to respond. The earth may already have irreversibly reached a number of tipping points, including the melting of the Greenland ice cap, the weakening and possible collapse of a key current in the north Atlantic and the melting of much carbon rich permafrost. It is currently heading towards 2C-3C of global warming which will be a crisis for people across the world.

Faith calls us to be good stewards of God’s creation which we hold in trust under God and for future generations.

Action is needed at many levels. As individuals we can turn down the thermostat, fly a lot less, eat less meat and use public transport. As a church we can work towards being net zero and not invest in fossil fuel extraction to demonstrate our commitment to safeguarding the environment.

But these will only be token gestures unless effective action is taken at the national and international level and so our response as citizens and as churches at provincial/national level is crucial. The Scottish government could do much more in promoting adequate insulation for all buildings, in reducing agricultural emissions and in encouraging greater afforestation and active travel. The Westminster government can discourage air travel – especially within Europe – stop further fossil fuel extraction and adopt a rational energy policy. Both governments can lead by example in carrying through the commitments made at COP26 and in recognising that the richer countries bear a large share of responsibility for climate change.

Faith challenges us to seek transitional proposals for action guided by kingdom values. Faith also underpins the endurance needed for it will be a long drawn out struggle to combat climate change effectively. But our hope is in the Lord.

The talk takes place between 2pm and 5pm at St Anne’s Church, Dunbar. All welcome. For further information please contact: ecogroup@stannesdunbar.org.uk 

Georgina the Giraffe at St Martin of Tours

St Martin of Tours, Edinburgh

St Martin’s is celebrating Creationtide with a papier-mâché pal – Georgina the Giraffe (a rare short necked variety!). Following on from Edinburgh’s Giraffe About Town campaign, St Martin’s congregation made the model from recycled materials and decorated her with ecological themes to remind visitors of the precious nature of God’s creation and the need for an effective partnership with our threatened world.

Georgina became the star exhibit of their annual art exhibition, featuring alongside paintings from local artists, many of which were on the theme of creation.

Throughout the year, St Martin’s supported a number of environmental projects. Some of our younger members cycled from Edinburgh to Glasgow to participate in COP 26 and we welcomed Anne Blair-Vincent from Christian Climate Action who spoke in our sermon slot about her experience in Glasgow and CCA’s work to bring about a renewed world.

Lent heralded a fundraising event to plant trees as part of the ‘Trees for Life’ and ‘Tree Aid’ campaigns; the response from our church members resulted in 60 trees being planted in Scotland and Africa. Other events this year included the Diocesan ‘Walk to Net Zero’ and wild flower planting in our garden.

Looking ahead to October, On 08 October, members of the congregation of St Martin’s of Tours will be going on a ‘nurdle’ hunt: nurdles are small plastic pellets about the size of a lentil that are washed up on our beaches. They are often mistaken for fish roe by marine creatures resulting in injury and death and damage shoreline ecosystems. If anyone would like to join us, it would be great to see you; please get in touch for more details: johnvincent@stmartinsedinburgh.org.uk or can find more about the project at The Great Nurdle Hunt, Reducing plastic pellet pollution at sea.

St Mary’s, Grangemouth; St Catherine’s, Bo’ness; Christ Church, Falkirk.

Over to the west of our diocese, St Mary’s, Grangemouth, St Catherine’s, Bo’ness and Christ Church Falkirk are participating in Green Christian’s Joy in Enough course – small, weekly discussions about how, as Christians, to live and act in ways which nurture the earth. There will also be a prayer walk, led by Rev Willie Shaw, around the refinery in Grangemouth. The Refinery Prayer Walk is on Thursday 22nd September at 1.30pm, and will take about two hours. It is not designed as a protest; rather a time to pray for blessings: for the world, for those who work in the refinery, and to focus our attention on the climate issues facing us all.  We are asking God for safety, healing, justice, and peace.

For more information and to sign up, please e-mail Willie Shaw well in advance on stmarysandstcatharines@virginmedia.com

St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh

Next month, on 22nd October, St Mary’s Cathedral will host the Green Christian Roadshow, A day of workshops, discussion and worship to encourage our communities, build common cause for creation & inspire ambitious change. Stay tuned for more information!