…and five other major churches in the next five years
Last spring Matthew was invited to speak from the pulpit of the National Cathedral, the Nations Church, in Washington, DC. His talk and forum were the centerpiece of their Earth Day celebration. As a school child, Matthew had taken yearly field trips to visit with stonemasons and watch the Cathedral being built, so this was an especially meaningful moment for him.
The Cathedral, which seats 3,000, was packed. As Matthew climbed the stairs to the pulpit, I said a prayer for the Holy Spirit to be with him. My prayers were answered as Matthews words echoed throughout the Cathedrals lofty naves and sacred spaces.
But God had even bigger plans. Matthews sermon was well receivedso well, that the Cathedral approached Blessed Earth about doing a year-long program on creation care. With 500,000 visitors and the ability to draw anybody from around the globe to its pulpit, the Cathedral is an ideal platform for sharing the scriptural call to care for Gods creation.
The Cathedral asked us to sketch out what a year of creation care learning could look like. First, we came up with monthly themes:
- God is Green (September)
- Animals (October)
- Food (November)
- Trees (December)
- Sabbath (January)
- Conservation (February)
- Creation Care and the Poor (March)
- Make Earth Day a Church Day 2013/Psalms and Music (April)
- Soil (May)
- Hospitality (June)
These themes springboard off existing seasonal activities. For example, September marks the start of new learning (God is Green), October the Feast of St. Francis (patron saint of animals), November Thanksgiving meals (food), December Christmas (trees), January new resolutions (Sabbath keeping), February Lent (conservation), March sacrifice (creation care and the poor), April Earth Day and a Make Earth Day a Church Day concert/celebration, May Mothers Day and the Cathedrals annual Flower Festival with 10,000 visitors (soil), and June the beginning of travel and vacationing (hospitality).
Once we had the themes, we fleshed out each month. Starting with a sermon, we also hoped to include public forums with international speakers, movie nights with filmmakers, book readings with authors, school and small group curriculaplus ample opportunities for putting all this learning into action.
Matthew is a big thinker. Once we got the National Cathedral rolling, he asked, Why not use the same model at five other influential churches, in five additional cities around the country?
Apparently, God likes big plans. Within two months of initiating the idea, start up money for the Blessed Earth Church Stewardship Alliance is in place. And now, the work begins!
None of this would have been possible without you, our friends and faithful supporters. Your faith in our mission has led to the enormous gates that now stand open before us. As we cross these new thresholds, we envision a world where Christians are fluent in the language of creation care, where churches model good stewardship practices, and where there is a place at the creation care table for all who believe.
Nancy Sleeth serves as the Program Director for Blessed Earth and is the author of Go Green, Save Green: A Simple guide to saving time, money, and Gods green earth, the first-ever practical guide for going green from a faith perspective.