We are in month four of the EDSD 2023 Year of Service, and there is much to celebrate! Many of you have participated in webinars focused on a theology of service and specific areas of focus for service. Your church may be reading the book The New Parish: How Neighborhood Churches Are Transforming Mission Discipleship and Community (written by Paul Sparks, Tim Soerens, Dwight J. Friesen), have begun the EDSD Community Engagement training, Being Neighbors, or hosted a tree planting event.
With Spring, blooming flowers, singing birds, and dormant life awakening mirror resurrection and call us to delight in nature. In April, celebrations like Earth Day, Creation Care Sunday, Arbor Day, and Easter urge us to turn our attention to adopting practices that care for our fragile home and reduce our climate impact for the sake of creation and for our sake.
Bishop Susan Brown Snook said, “As followers of Jesus, we are called to continue his ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). On Earth Day, we remember that our call to reconciliation includes the beautiful creation that surrounds us and supports our life.” The natural world is God’s creation. It is a beautiful gift to be cared for and enjoyed, and our health and well-being are dependent on having a healthy planet.
During the month of April, your church has been encouraged to continue living into God’s call to us to love God and allow God’s love to flow through us to our neighbors and all of creation. To become a neighborhood church that is present in the geographic location where you gather and worship. To partner with a group in your community and engage in an activity or project focused on care for and service to the earth.
Eighteen churches have creation care-focused service activities planned for this month, and many of them involve community partnerships. Join us in celebrating both these projects in service to God, our neighbors, and creation, as well as the partnerships being formed to work with our neighbors for the flourishing of our communities and our world.
Please email us here if your church has a project planned and you are not on the list below, so we can add you to the list!
Creation Care Projects within the EDSD Diocese
All Souls’, Point Loma is joining the I Love a Clean San Diego Creek to Bay Cleanup on April 22, 2023. This is a multi-generational, multi-community ecology support event.
Christ Church, Coronado is improving the recycling programs at their church and school during April and May, distributing EDCO pamphlets to their church and school communities, and installing drought tolerant landscaping on their church property.
Grace, San Marcos is partnering with The Lions Club who is having a 2nd annual butterfly festival at Grace on May 13. This event was a great success last year!
St. Andrew’s, La Mesa has purchased some native plants and installed them in their garden. They have also committed to Growing Trees in Community, the Diocese’s tree planting project, and are hoping the trees for the project will come this month.
St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea, Pacific Beach is joining forces with the Pacific Beach Public Library to plan a beach clean up on April 16th at noon. Parishioners and neighbors will be provided with bags, gloves, and trash “grabbers” to pick up trash on the beach.
St. Andrew’s by-the-Lake, Lake Elsinore registered to say they would like help identifying a project. Deann Rios and the EDSD Creation Care Community (CCC) are working to help them find one that would be a good fit.
St. Bartholomew’s, Poway is planning “Chaparral Chapel”, a reflective nature walk on Saturday, April 15, 1pm at Blue Sky Ecological Reserve. They are also planning a Clean-up Hike on April 16 from 1-3pm. St. Bart’s and guests will hike for an hour on the Pomerado Trail connected to their church campus to clean up trash. Volunteers can also skip the hike and join them at 2pm to do some planting as part of Earth Month. Dress for the weather and bring a reusable water bottle. St. Bart’s will provide vests, gloves, trash bags, and plants for all participants.
St. David’s, Clairemont has reached out to the Diocese for help and ideas. The Diocese is always happy to help and is working to help them find a project that is a good fit.
St. Dunstan’s, San Carlos is joining Patrick Henry High School’s Environmental Club to pick up trash at Lake Murray on April 22, 9-11am. This is an ongoing partnership, which is exciting! .
St. Hugh of Lincoln, Idyllwild has partnered with Cam Compassion after-school program to teach shelter, food, and conservation. St. Hugh’s will begin the week after Easter and welcomes all the children in their community at no cost.
St. John’s, Chula Vista is partnering with the ECS Head Start program on their church campus for their annual Sow and Grow program. They will help the preschool children plant seeds in clear plastic cups, and after the seeds sprout, the seedlings will be planted in their garden beds at the school. St. Johns will maintain the gardens over the summer, and in the fall, the children will pick flowers and vegetables to take home and enjoy with their families.
St. Margaret’s, Palm Desert is planning a community event on their church campus on Creation Care Sunday, April 23 which will highlight their ongoing work with community partners to care for the earth and provide education and care for their neighbors. Their partners include Desert Compost, The City of Palm Desert, Palm Desert High School Ecology Club, Desert ARC, Palm Desert Rotary Club, and Burrtec of Palm Desert. They will serve fair trade and local, healthy food and have demonstrations focused on pesticide alternatives, garden journaling, and backyard composting; tours of their native plants garden and pollinator sanctuary; share information about a local composting facility; and sell shredding bags and local produce.
St. Mark’s, City Heights is interested in the Diocesan Growing Trees in Community project and is talking with the Project Coordinator Rachel Ambasing about the process.
St. Mary’s in-the-Valley, Ramona will host an Earth Day event on April 22. It is being planned and executed by the non-profit Sustainable Ramona and will take place in the Ramona Community Garden on St. Mary’s church property. Other events such as readings in the garden, the planting of their children’s garden, and a meal together will be part of the day.
St. Michael’s by-the-Sea, Carlsbad is partnering with the Carlsbad Village Association for their monthly Carlsbad Village Cleanups and is also participating in the water distribution at the Carlsbad Village Street Faire on May 7.
St. Paul in the Desert, Palm Springs has a clean up day planned for Friday, April 21, 8-10am with the Oswit Land Trust in Palm Springs. The Trust purchases open land for preservation of natural habitat, and the properties require maintenance. Church members will volunteer and help with basic maintenance of this natural habitat.
St. Paul’s Cathedral has planned a Balboa Park Clean Up and Picnic at the Redwood Trail on Saturday, 4/22 from 9am-12pm. Simpler Living, the Cathedral’s Creation Care Ministry Team, is partnering with the Family Youth ministry for this event. To accommodate additional volunteers, there will also be a Hillcrest Clean Up through I Love A Clean San Diego. St. Paul’s is also collecting used, but clean socks for a recycling program where old socks, socks without pairs, and socks with holes will be recycled into new items! You can learn more here.
St. Philip-the-Apostle, Lemon Grove is working with their liaison from the Diocesan Creation Care Community to identify a project that is a good fit for them and will help them connect with an organization in their community that already has a project planned but needs more volunteers. This is a great way to meet and support a neighbor!
St. Timothy’s, Rancho Penasquitos has reached out to the Diocese for help and ideas. The Creation Care Community is assisting them with finding a project.
We know that sharing our good news is one of the best ways to share our Episcopal story with our community. Be sure to share your good news with us. Collect photos, quotes from participants, names of community partners, and a story from someone who participated. These small details can help make all the difference in showcasing the good work you’re already doing. You can submit your event’s story to the diocese here.
Diane Lopez Hughes, co-chair of the EDSD Creation Care Community said, “The Creation Care Community (CCC) is happy to help our congregations.” CCC can help your church develop creative ideas and build partnerships, and they have resources to help you transform your love and care for the earth into action.
In response to the global climate crisis, in 2021 the Creation Care Task Force – now the Creation Care Community – was formed to provide support to individuals and churches in caring and advocating for God’s creation. These goals from The Episcopal Church – Loving Formation, Liberating Advocacy, and Life-Giving Conservation – provide the scaffolding for their work.
Did you know that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently reported that we have even less time than was thought to address the serious environmental injustices associated with the climate crisis? Diane Lopez Hughes said, “As people of faith, we must heed the call to care for God’s creation now. Each individual who is willing to pray, study, and act on their care for our planet is fulfilling their baptismal vow to care for others, in addition to all of creation.”
We are called to love as God loves. Partnering with our neighbors to care for God’s creation is one wonderful way to live out Jesus’ way of love. Thank you for your engagement and good work. We have much to celebrate. And we have a lot more good work to do together and in partnership with our neighbors and local communities.
Links and Resources
Additional questions? Contact Deann Rios at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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