The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it—the world and those who live in it.
Psalm 24:1, NRSV
People of faith have a long tradition of joining together to promote health care, education, social service and to advocate for peace and the common good. Through religious institutions we aspire to model and teach faithful living in response to a divine imperative of love and care for all.
On Promoting Climate Justice and Ending Poverty in Canada—Faith Communities in Canada Speak Out, September 2015

Creation Time in the Season of Pentecost begins the Sunday after Labour Day (September 10) and ends on Thanksgiving Sunday (October 8). It is a period in which congregations bring the earth and all its bounty to our attention as an integral part of the Christian year. We acknowledge our responsibility to care for the earth and all the inhabitants, we confess our exploitation of the earth’s resources, and we seek to reduce our consumption.

During Creation Time, you and your community are encouraged to participate in celebrating September 24 as Car Free Sunday. World Car Free Day (Friday, September 22) is an international event celebrated every year when people ride trains, subways, buses, bicycles, carpool, vanpool or walk, rather than drive alone in cars. The Green Churches Network invites us to extend the spirit of this global event on September 22 into our Sunday worship.

You and your faith community are also invited to endorse an Active Transportation Strategy. This is a bold strategy that envisions a nation in which

  • alternative means of transportation—such as walking and cycling—are practical, convenient, safe, and enjoyable
  • active transportation is supported for everyone of all ages, genders, and abilities
  • these actions help reduce its carbon footprint

Canada's federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has signalled her enthusiasm for developing an active transportation strategy. An alliance of walking, cycling, and active school travel organizations has submitted a joint proposal to undertake strategy development. This alliance needs the support of Canadians to take their ideas to the next step.

Take Action

  1. Plan Car Free Sunday worship and activities for children and youth.
  2. Work for an Active Transportation Strategy by endorsing the campaign and asking people in your faith community to do the same. Use and adapt the sample letter (under Downloads, below) to communicate with federal government ministers.
  3. Celebrate the 3rd Sunday of the Season of Creation with these United Church resources or use these ecumenical Season of Creation resources anytime in the season
  4. Email Beth Baskin ( bbaskin [at] united-church.ca ) to let her know about your plans and actions. We would love pictures too!

Background

The United Church of Canada has been engaged in creation care for decades. A New Creed calls us “to live with respect in Creation.” Creation is a gift of God, and caring for Creation is a spiritual commitment. We cherish Creation’s rich diversity and respect its inherent value and right to protection.

In 2009, we incorporated this care for creation more directly into our liturgical practices by introducing Creation Time during the liturgical season of Pentecost in the fall of our calendar year.

In December 2015, The United Church of Canada added its voice to those celebrating the global climate deal reached in Paris where nearly 200 countries agreed on new measures to limit global warming as a source of hope and action.

“We welcome this agreement, and look forward to working with other faith groups and governments on ensuring its ambitious goals of striving to limit global warming to 1.5° and reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century are met,” said the Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell, the church’s Moderator.

We are partners with Citizens for Public Justice, Climate Action Network, and Greening Sacred Spaces all working together for climate justice and concrete changes in individual and collective treatment of our natural resources.

The United Church once again affirmed its work on climate justice at its General Council meeting in 2015, directing that the work on climate justice be a priority in our denomination and in our work with partners. In that spirit we invite you and your communities of faith to mark this Season of Creation with worship and action! General Council 42 also passed a range of climate justice resolutions including regarding the carbon tax and divestment from fossil fuels. For more information use the search function on the United Church Commons.

Send your letters and e-mails to the following leaders, at House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 or the e-mails listed below:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister and Minister of Youth
E-mail: Justin.Trudeau [at] parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
E-mail: Catherine.McKenna [at] parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
E-mail: Ginette.PetitpasTaylor [at] parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Amarjeet Sohi
Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
E-mail: Amarjeet.Sohi [at] parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Mark Garneau
Minister of Transport
E-mail: Mark.Garneau [at] parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Kent Hehr
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
E-mail: Kent.Hehr [at] parl.gc.ca

The Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (with responsibility for seniors)
E-mail: Jean-Yves.Duclos [at] parl.gc.ca

Send a separate letter to your member of Parliament asking them to support you by encouraging the ministers to take the next steps on a strategy. You can find your MP’s e-mail or postal address by entering your postal code on the Parliament of Canada website.

Send copies of your letters and e-mails to:

Christie NeufeldtProgram Coordinator, Public Witness416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt [at] united-church.ca

For more information contact:

Beth BaskinProgram Coordinator, Social Analysis & Congregational Engagement416-231-7680 ext. 4196
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4196
bbaskin [at] united-church.ca