World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Jerry Pillay shared prayers and readings. “Your spirit hovered over the face of the primordial waters and was breathed into humankind after you made us equally in your image,” he read. “We have devalued the fine ecological net that you wove with so much love. We have uprooted your tree of life and sold it as logs.”
Suzana Moreira, from Brazil and co-chair of the Season of Creation ecumenical steering committee, opened the service, citing this year’s theme “Let justice and peace flow,” inspired by the image of a mighty river.
The live-streamed prayer drew participants from every corner of the globe. “We have been living the preparation for this season since January this year, preparing the streams of our plans, our activities, our communities to flow together now into the celebration that begins Sept. 1—the Feast of Creation and ends October 4— the Feast of St Francis of Assisi,” Moreira said. “Many the creator Spirit guide our hearts, minds, and hands in the Season of Creation this year.”
Three leaders from the global South shared reflections on the theme, touching upon the actions we must all take to address the climate emergency, the wisdom of Indigenous people, and our responsibilities in ensuring God’s will is fulfilled.
Sarah Eulitz, World Student Christian Federation-Europe, read an intercessory prayer live from the European Christian Environmental Network Assembly, which is currently convening. “We pray for all victims of war and violence,” she prayed. “We pray for areas where climate change has led to drought and conflict over water and other resources is taking place.”
Pillay began the closing segment of the prayer with a reading focused on the earth: “The fragrance of the grass speaks to us,” Pillay read. “The faintness of the stars, the freshness of the morning, the dewdrops on the flowers, speak to us.”
A closing song, “Mighty River,” by the Laudato Si animators, offered some lively reminders to defenders of nature. “Never forget the earth,” they sang. “We are part of a single human family.”