Season of Creation is a liturgical movement that began over 10 years ago. I keep hoping that more Protestant traditions in the United States will put some emphasis on this idea. Genesis names humankind as the stewards of God’s creation. In fact, there was a resolution at General Synod addressing space junk as a creation stewardship issue. I encourage you to go to the website at seasonofcreation.com to read more about the history of this movement and to look at resources for the liturgical calendar. Given the renewed attention to environmental concerns including Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, I think we need to pay attention to what scripture tells us about our responsibilities as children of God and of the earth and to honor all creatures and the world around us as co-inhabitants of the cosmos.
Part of that honoring of co-inhabitants is renewed attention to how we welcome and are in relationship with our neighbors. The African Methodist Episcopal Council of Bishops has declared September 6 as a Day of Confession, Repentance, Prayer, and Commitment to End Racism. Please see a larger article in this newsletter.
We are focusing renewed attention on the issue of racism in the United Church of Christ. Last month the Conference newsletter lifted up August 9 as a day of prayer for racial justice. There are two resource sites I encourage you to look at on the UCC website: ucc.org/sacred-conversation and ucc.org/justice_racism.
The Friday night speaker at the Alabama-Tennessee-Mississippi Association Meeting on October 2-3 will be Traci Blackmon, pastor of Christ the King UCC in Florisant, Missouri. Rev. Blackmon serves on the Ferguson Commission and has been a key leader in the Black Lives Matter movement. I think it is important for us all to educate ourselves and to engage in deep and meaningful dialogue about the realities of racism in our culture, our communities, and our churches. None of us is immune to the effects of this deep rooted aspect of our lives together. This needs to be part of our life together as a Conference as we look to who God is calling us to be as we witness to our neighbors and our communities.