|Climate change is one of the great moral challenges of our time. To meet that challenge, Trinity Church launched Reclaiming Eden, which aims to:
- Show people how to reduce their carbon footprint through fun, hands-on events
- Empower people to act through worship and reflection
- Measure progress using a carbon tracking tool developed for the national Episcopal Church
Reclaiming Eden: Stopping climate change one household at a time
A Way of Love for the Earth
All around us, the ramifications of climate change are becoming more real: the wildfires that have ravaged our state, the increasing severity of hurricanes, the severe winter in many parts of our country this year while Australia burns in the midst of record heat. Rising sea levels have already displaced arctic villages, and the number of climate refugees in the world is on the rise. The Earth is under pressure, and she is not doing well. And when the Earth, described in our Prayer Book as our fragile island home, does not do well, we do not do well.
We invite you to consider what it means to be a follower of Jesus in this time of ecological crisis. The Episcopal Church, whom our Presiding Bishop likes to call a branch of the Jesus Movement, has said that “as the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement and as people who live the Way of Love, we long to grow in loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with God’s Creation.”
Please come with us as we share this journey together. Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to see important dates for this initiative.
The Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett
Why Reclaiming Eden?
The biblical story of the Garden of Eden is a kind of collective human memory, shared in sacred scripture, of a time when human beings lived in greater harmony with creation and, indeed, with one another. The scriptural Eden is a metaphor meant to remind us of God’s intention that we live on the earth in peace with the natural world and other people.
That same biblical story also speaks of the rupture of these rhythms of harmony, resulting ultimately in an “exile” from Eden. While the Christian tradition has often seen this exile as a punishment from God for human sin, the story can just as easily be seen as a description of what happens when we do not live a life that respects the earth and all its creatures.
In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul seems to have this biblical Eden in mind when he says that “all creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God” (Romans 8:19). Paul seemed to feel that the suffering of human beings and the suffering of the earth were intimately related, and so the salvation of human beings would have positive consequences for the natural world, as well.
As people of faith, it is always incumbent upon us -- in every generation -- to discern what the ancient words of scripture have to teach us in our own time and place. We believe that the Spirit breaths new life into these ancient stories, guiding us toward new insight and new wisdom. Today, we face environmental challenges never before faced by human beings, as the effects of climate change make themselves felt. It seems that in our time and place, to be revealed as the children of God means to be revealed as those who care for the earth, and take whatever actions we can to contribute to the healing of our planet. To speak of reclaiming Eden is to speak of our desire to cultivate a life that is lived in harmony with the planet, and with all its inhabitants.
|Pledge for the Care of Creation
The Episcopal Church has made certain commitments to the Care of Creation, recognizing how we, as a community of faith, can nurture a loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with God’s Creation. We as a church have recognized that we find ourselves in an urgent moment, and in response, have pledged ourselves to protect and renew the Earth and all who call it home.
As people of faith, we are asked to reflect on a more individual level as to how we can respond, within the context of our own lives, to live Jesus’ Way of Love in relation to the Earth. Just as The Episcopal Church as a whole has pledged itself to the work of Creation Care, so we are called to pledge ourselves to that work in whatever ways make sense in our particular circumstances.
The Pledge for the Care of Creation gives some suggestions from The Episcopal Church about some specific actions one might take. On the next page of this brochure, we suggest adopting the Carbon Tracker as a tool for your own Care of Creation Pledge and list the 6 Big Actions that we will be focusing on during the Lenten season and beyond in our efforts and presentations here at Trinity.
Our hope and invitation is that by Earth Sunday on April 28 (the Sunday right after Easter Day), each of us might have discerned what our personal Pledge for the Care of Creation will be.
Overcoming Being Overcome
As we contemplate the unfolding crisis of climate change, it is easy to get overwhelmed. The issue seems so big that it feels as though we are adrift in the midst of a very big storm trying to paddle our small boats.
In Mark’s Gospel, there are many stories about Jesus crossing stormy seas with his disciples. The disciples always get scared, Jesus calms the storm, and then he asks them uncomfortable questions about how much faith they have. One lesson to draw from these stories is that, as people of faith, we are called to face the storm with confidence that, somehow, God is in the midst of it. To find our center in God is one way of maintaining our inner serenity so that we are not overwhelmed by what is happening around us.
In addition to employing the spiritual tools available to us to remain centered in the storm, there are also practical things we can do: educate ourselves about solutions and options; come together to support one another; look for the things that inspire hope in us; have fun in the midst of taking action; avoid guilt and shame, which can lead to paralysis; and invite others in to enlarge our community of support.
No one of us can stop climate change by ourselves, but together, we can do amazing things. One of the essential examples that Jesus set for us was to call together a community of people to bring the Gospel to life. Jesus always emphasized the importance of community. While the Spirit moves powerfully in each of us, the Spirit’s movement in all of us together can truly move mountains.
MARCH 10: FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
We will be introducing our Reclaiming Eden theme at both the 8 am and 10 am services.
MARCH 17: LOW-CARBON LUNCH IN TRINITY HALL, 11:30 AM WITH TOM KABAT
Stay after church on Sunday, March 17th to learn about an exciting new initiative at Trinity called Reclaiming Eden, aimed at stopping climate change. After a delicious planet-friendly lunch, we will hear from Rev. Matthew and then local expert Tom Kabat, who will tell us about the Six Big Things we can do today to combat climate change. This is the first in what promises to be a fun (guilt-free) 7-part series on concrete steps we can all take to fight climate change together. You are not alone and there are solutions!
APRIL 17: HOLY WEDNESDAY -- SUPPER, 6:30 PM; TENEBRAE FOR THE EARTH SERVICE, 7:30 PM
The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, will be our special guest for this event that brings together the ancient tradition of Tenebrae with our contemporary climate change concerns. St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Palo Alto, is a partner with us for this event. Please join us for a simple supper and fellowship followed by this special service allowing us space to reflect on our climate challenges and commitments during Holy Week.
APRIL 28: EARTH SUNDAY, 10 AM & GREEN YOUR TRANSPORTATION FAIR
While April 28 falls outside of Lent, and is the Second Sunday of Easter, we wanted to include this date here. We will a special observance and celebration of the earth Sunday at our 10 am service, as we celebrate the Risen Christ in Creation. Following the service, we will have a fair focused on ways to green your transportation.
MAY 19: GREEN YOUR AIR TRAVEL
Flying a few times a year generates so much CO2 that it can easily wipe out heroic reductions we make doing things like driving an EV or installing solar. But don’t despair. For those who must fly, there are offsets. What is a carbon offset? How much do they cost and where do I buy them? These are the questions that will be answered by carbon offset expert, Erin Craig of 3 Degrees, who will speak at Trinity on Sunday, May 19th. Join us in Angus Hall, following the 10 am service for this expert talk and discussion.
More events are being planned as part of our Reclaiming Eden initiative outside of the Lenten season.
Stay tuned for more details!