As we gathered last Sunday, I was visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd in Mobile, Alabama. Before our worship began, the senior warden brought me a prayer from Episcopal Relief and Development addressing the fires in Hawaii. We also added those who are recovering from massive floods and other natural disasters.
Before COVID-19 reared and challenged us all, a diocesan Creation Care Team was formed and began to do some work. However, like many ministries, it was shelved during the time we buckled down to take care of ourselves and our neighbors.
We have reconvened the team and have named it the Commission on the Integrity of Creation. With support from Bishop Kendrick, we have begun to name our mission and vision for providing resources and encouragement to congregations who may be interested in forming Green Teams or using other environmental best practices. We recently shared an approved liturgical resource that can be found here: https://seasonofcreation.org/
Our mission is below and we invite anyone who would like to join us to please email me at email@example.com
Current commission members include: Lella Lowe, Rev. Bob Donnell, Rev. Lydia Johnson, Sonja Crawford, Dr. Frank Gilliam, Dr. Salem Saloom, Michelle Bende, Lisa Ihns, and Carrie Stevenson
The Commission on the Integrity of Creation (CIC) recognizes that humans, being an embodiment of the divine image, are interconnected with all of creation. Our mission is to help churches in the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast celebrate and heal all of creation in ways that fit their own congregation. As environmental crises accelerate and threaten all life along the Gulf Coast, especially those on the margins who bear the brunt of rising seas, extreme heat, more severe storms, and biodiversity loss, this mission could not be more urgent.
What the CIC does:
Educate and encourage the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast and individual parishes to make choices and take actions that are congruent with our mission statement.
Provide help getting an Environmental Stewardship/Green Team started at each parish.
Serve as a resource hub to promote creation-focused worship and prayer.
Celebrate congregational successes and provide networking opportunities among parishes to learn and grow their creation care ministries.
Offer spiritual formation opportunities as vehicles for lament, confession, supplication, healing, and hope.
Network with other faith and environmental groups to share information and learn of community needs and advocacy opportunities.
The CIC will create task forces to accomplish these goals, including Green Teams, Spiritual Practices, and Community Advocacy.
Joy H. Blaylock, PhD
Dean, School for Ministry
Missioner for Discipleship