The environmental crisis is at heart a spiritual issue. This Study Guide is designed to assist each parish in forming a Discussion Circle, through which each participant can examine the roots of his or her connectedness with God’s creation, both in scripture and in our Christian tradition. The core content explores some of the issues of greatest concern for New Englanders and for people of faith everywhere, for whom the degradation of the environment is an issue of justice for all.
This Study Guide explores ways to live out the promise of our baptism and participate in God’s mission to restore all people and all creation to unity with God and each other in Christ. In support of the Pastoral Letter issued by the bishops of New England, it seeks to:
- Increase awareness and acknowledgement of the urgency of the planetary crisis in which we now live
- Develop cohesive groups that celebrate the gifts of creation and honor the sacredness of all of creation.
- Help these groups take action in ways that meaningfully demonstrate gratitude for the gifts of creation.
THE DISCUSSION CIRCLE
The Discussion Circle approach aims at engaging people of faith in conversation around their core values and spiritual connections with God’s creation. The process used to conduct the group seeks to model the same values we need in caring for creation: Respect, care, and affirming the value of each creature. The objective is NOT for each group to come to agreement or consensus on the issues raised in the Pastoral Letter. It is rather to create a fun, engaging, informative and empowering setting for congregants of our churches to deepen their personal understanding of what it means to “Serve Christ In All Creation.” Through a shared dialogue, they will gain insights into how their fellow participants may interpret the same ideas in different ways. The Discussion Circle process also seeks to motivate participants to take action in ways that have the most positive impacts in their spheres of influence: within their church community, their personal lives, neighborhoods and workplaces. The hope is that a core group of interested and willing people will form within each church, and that this group will continue to seek ways to celebrate the gifts of creation and honor the sacredness of all creation as integral to the work of the church.
73 page guide for congregations and dioceses