Christ Episcopal Church
The Mother Church of The Dakotas
Earth Day Sunday at Christ Church April 19
The following article on one written by Chuck Berry at St. Paul’s Church in Brookings. I have modified it to be relative to Christ Church:
Earth Day is always on April 22 to commemorate the first Earth Day in 1970 when millions of Americans expressed concern about the condition of the land, water, and air. Recently, the secular Earth Day has been joined by a religious event called Earth Day Sunday.
Christ Church is part of a loose affiliation of a dozen Parishes and Missions in the Diocese that will have a “communion” of Earth Day Sunday events. Each church will celebrate according to their own style, from sermons to prayers, from walks to talks to remind members to save energy, recycle, change light bulbs, becoming educated about climate change, and think about “Creation Care.”
At Christ Church, we will also be celebrating Earth Day Sunday on April 19. I will be providing the homily and after the service, I will be down in the undercroft for a coffee talk about Creation Care. Growing and consuming food is an important part of Creation Care. We can adopt personal actions to tread more lightly on the Earth and to ensure a vibrant, flourishing Creation for future generations.
We’ll follow the theme and information provided by Creation Justice Ministries (http://www.creationjustice.org/.) about the climate and food production. And, we’ll also use information provided by the National Association of Conservation Districts (http://www.nacdnet.org/stewardship.) One of their concerns are pollinating bees (bees, wasps etc.). The two topics (food and pollinators) go well together since every third bite of food that we take comes from the actions of a pollinator.
One of the tangible outcomes of Earth Day Sunday activities has been a general movement called “the greening of religion.” All of God’s creation – nature, animals, humanity, etc. are linked to one another. We cannot love our own dimension without caring for the others. We must return Creation’s service to us with service of our own. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis I:31
Also from St Paul’s Messenger….
Eco-Palms on Palm Sunday (by Natural Cathedral Committee)
We waved palm branches on Palm Sunday symbolically reenacting the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem. He was welcomed as a king, with the people throwing palm branches down in front of the donkey he was riding. The symbolism of the palm tree is one of the more interesting facts about Christianity, but at St Paul’s the palms remind us of another mission – eco-justice.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, palm branches had long been a symbol of triumph, eternal life and peace. In Egypt, the palm represented eternal life; in Jewish tradition, the palm was connected to a time to give thanks for the bounty of the earth; in Greek tradition, a palm branch was presented to winning athletes; in Rome, the palm tree was associated with victory. Because victory means an end of conflict, some cultures (e.g., Islam), associate the palm with peace.
After the death and resurrection of Jesus, later Christian leaders presented the palm as a symbol of the victory that martyrs won over their oppressors and of the victory of the spirit over the desires of the flesh.
What is the additional symbolism of Eco-palms at St Paul’s? Eco-palms (http://ecopalms.org/) are fair-trade palm fronds that are harvested in Guatemala and Mexico. The palms symbolize social and environmental justice because they are harvested by sustainable forestry practices by small businesses in impoverished communities where the fair-trade proceeds are recycled into the local economy.
Sustainable forestry means using principles of conservation so that the palm harvest will last over the long term. Some of the millions of palm branches used on Palm Sunday will be obtained by industrial-scale clear cutting and packed by under-paid workers in cities who waste and damage the product. Other palms, called eco-palms, will be selectively harvested so that the forest will continue to provide (sustainable harvest) and the palms are packed and shipped with care for a quality product. Which palm should we purchase? Purchasing eco-palms is a Parish action to tread more lightly on the Earth. St. Paul’s pay a little more for eco-palms – its our ecological tithe. In a small way, we are helping people and the land, while reminding ourselves that sustainability applies to South Dakota’s landscapes as well.
(Maybe we at Christ Church should think about using eco-palms next year.)
When the land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land—when both end up better by reason of their partnership—then we have conservation. - Aldo Leopold
If you are interested in learning more about Creation Care or how you could participate, please contact Carol Smith at: 605- 661-5001 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Christ Episcopal Church 517 Douglas Avenue Yankton, SD 57078 605.665.2456