Worship and Teaching

God of creation, who loves all he has made and all that has evolved,
open the eyes of your people, that your love might be reflected in our care for the planet.
Through Jesus Christ, who walked this earth and calls us by name: Amen.
Bishop Nick Baines, World Environment Day prayer

On this page, you will find a wide range of resources to enable you and your church to incorporate worshipping our Creator God more effectively into the normal rhythm of your worship. The resource section here are: 

  • Creation Care through the Church Year
  • Outdoor Worship
  • Teaching
  • Intersessions
  • Bible Study
  • Forest Church

Care for Creation through the Church Year

Special services giving time to focus on worship with creation or care for God’s earth can help the whole congregation widen their experience of our faith. A Sunday near World Environment Day at the start of June, Creation Time in September, Harvest or Lent are all good times to focus on God's and our relationship with the earth.

Any time of year

You can hold an environmentally focused service at any time of year, or week by week incorporate: 

A wide range of other resources are available from:  

Lent

The season of Lent gives us time to reflect on our relationship with the rest of God’s creation and to lament the damage that humanity has done. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lent Book Saying Yes to Life by Ruth Valerio, provides a reflective and challenging exploration into God’s relationship with His creation and our interconnectedness with nature. 
Saying Yes to Life - Accompanying Resources
Saying Yes to Life Lent 2020 - Elements of Worship

Rogation

Rogation takes place in the springtime, when there is a renewing of the earth. It follows Easter, the season or resurrection. Renewal and resurrection are therefore themes of this occasion whether in a rural or urban setting. Rogationtide is one of  the ancient agricultural festivals, when processions take place to bless the crops and walk around the parish boundaries including  asking (Latin ‘rogare’ – to ask) God’s blessings on the fields, the crops and the parish, that all for the ‘fruits of the field’ will flourish in the coming months.
Rogation Sunday
Rogation Procession and Litany 
Children's Rogation

Environment Sunday - June

Environment Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday nearest World Environment Day (5th June). It is an opportunity to pick up a variety of environmental themes, invite a guest speaker from either a Christian environmental organisation or a local politician or business person to talk about how your church can bless the local community in caring for the local environment. Some churches like to make this a “walk to church” Sunday. 
The World Environment Day theme for 2020 is Time for Nature and this has been woven into these worship materials prepared by Christine Jack. 

Creationtide: 1st Sept - 4th October

The Season of Creation or Creationtide is a season running between the World Day of Prayer on 1st September and St Francis’ Day on 4th October. Churches and congregations are called to pay special attention to the responsibility of humanity for the earth and for all that lives upon it. It’s start and end dates reflect that it is an ecumenical season, a shared idea between Eastern and Western Christianity.

Creationtide is driven not only by the complex environmental crisis creation faces, it also draws on much deeper roots in  scripture and in older Christian traditions of the relationship  between God, humanity and the created order. The timing of Creationtide means it is an excellent way of rooting traditional harvest festivals in wider issues and in firm theological ground.It is season in the church calendar like Advent or Lent, with a focus on celebrating Christ’s creation, remembering our dependence on God’s gift of the natural world, praying for the restoration of creation and taking action to bring this about. 

Resources for your Creationtide Services Apples in an orchard

2020 Creationtide reflections for the 5 weeks of Lectionary readings by Christine Jack

Ready to print service sheets:
Service of the Word Urban
Service of the Word Rural
Parish Eucharist

Full service for Service Leader:
Service of the Word Urban
Service of the Word Rural
Parish Eucharist

Resources for other services from the Church of England Creationtide website here

Daily actions and reflections here

An example of a six-week service programme from one parish in the Diocese here

Outdoor Worship

Many people feel closest to God and have spiritual experiences while in nature. Taking our corporate or personal worship outside, to worship alongside the rest of God’s creation can be uplifting and inclusive. 

Here are a range of resources that you may like to try out in your local park, churchyard, or if you are fortunate enough to be able to go for a walk in the countryside. However, you may be able to find joy and wonder from your armchair looking out the window, viewing nature photos or videos or in your garden. 

All of nature is always worshiping Christ, its creator and redeemer. As humanity, we get to choose to join in!

Outdoor Worship Resources here
Outdoor Worship Guidance and Resources form the Church of England
Eco Church Scotland Family Outdoor Resources

Teaching

Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. Mark 16:15

There is a growing concern about environmental issues, both among church members and the general public and an increase in people for whom eco issues actively shape their moral and spiritual views. For the Christian Gospel to be relevant, it needs to speak into the context of the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, which is jeopardising lives, livelihoods and exacerbating injustice. 

There is a wealth of scripture which points to Christ’s relationship with His creation and humanities place within this. It can challenge our views of being Jesus shaped people and has much to offer the environmentally concerned, the anxious, the heartbroken and the climate victims of today. 

Greening the Lectionary offers a theological response to the ecological crisis. There are weekly sermon pointers for the lectionary readings, liturgy, reviews and comment.

Biblical References gives a list of some of the scriptures that explore environmental issues. 

Intersessions 

There are so many pressing environmental issues it can sometimes be hard to know where to start to pray for God’s earth and all of us who depended upon it. 

Set prayers for intersessions can be found in this Prayer for Creation Care resource bank. 

Monthly prayer updates with detailed suggestions for intersessions are published by Pray & Fast for the Climate

Bible Study

God’s relationship with creation and our interrelationship with the natural world runs through scripture. A range of small group studies that explore this, can be found here.

Forest Church

Forest ChurchMany people can describe transcendent moments in nature where they feel deeply connected to something bigger than themselves and Forest Church is a way to explore that connection within community

Forest Church is a fresh expression of church drawing on much older traditions when sacred places and practices were outside – but it is also drawing on contemporary research that highlights the benefits of spending time with nature in wild places. Forest Church isn't just normal church happening outside; rather it attempts to participate with creation.

Find out more about Forest Church including local groups.
Forest Church Development within the Dicoese - a paper by Andy Ryland, Karin Shaw & Jemima Parker

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