Hope for Creation! That's what British and Irish Churches have at a time when many scientists and campaigners are painting an apocalyptic image of a future dominated by climate change, and some find it difficult to have any hope at all. The Churches are not burying their heads in the sand, and they recognise the need to deal with and pray about the ecological problems that face humankind. To help people to do this, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) has put together a programme of resources for use in what is being called 'Creation Time', which runs from the beginning of September until the feast day of St Francis on 4 October. This is one of a number of initiatives that have their roots in a recommendation from last year's Third European Ecumenical Assembly in Romania. The assembly said, "We recommend that the period from 1 September to 4 October be dedicated to prayer for the protection of Creation and the promotion of sustainable lifestyles that reverse our contribution to climate change." The theme of CTBI's resources for Creation Time 2008 is: "Hope for Creation - a time for worship and action". Central to what is on offer are sermon materials prepared by the Revd Dave Bookless, National Director of A Rocha UK, a Christian conservation organisation that works to demonstrate and express God's love for all creation through practical projects, education and consultancy. The Hope for Creation resources come with a choice of two five-week frameworks. One is based on the Lord's Prayer, and the other on the Revised Common Lectionary. The materials are flexible, so it is possible either to follow the whole five weeks or dip into the material and use it as required. Also available are additional resources for inclusion in worship services and liturgies, together with group study ideas, children and all-age resources, and action ideas. All these will help churches, groups and individuals to focus on Creation Time, either for one week or the whole month. The resources contain links to many Christian organisations that have already developed useful study packs and liturgical materials on environmental issues. The Creation Time materials are available as free downloads from www.ctbi.org.uk/creationtime . A Welsh language version of the sermon resources will be available by the end of July, and an Irish language version shortly afterwards. The Revd Bob Fyffe, General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, said: "We encourage churches to begin planning now for Creation Time, and we hope that what we are offering will help them to do so. There is here a rich resource to meet the needs of clergy and congregations looking for ideas for harvest, as well as more in-depth material for worship and study use throughout Creation Time and beyond." Source: CTBI
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