In a call to celebrate Time for Creation, Bartholomew I, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, encouraged the churches to pay attention to the “human interventions impacting the ecological balance”.
The balance of the world’s ecology is disturbed through destructive actions such as “deforestation, depletion of water resources, the overall exploitation of natural and energy resources, together with the pollution of immense land or marine regions by means of spilling or depositing toxic and chemical materials,” stated Bartholomew I.
He shared these reflections in an Encyclical on 1 September, the beginning of A Time for Creation, a global event which invokes prayers for creation, eco-justice and peace with the earth, each year since 1989.
Initiated following a call by the Ecumenical Patriarch, A Time for Creation is observed from 1 September, the first day of the liturgical year for Orthodox churches, concluding on 4 October, the feast of Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment, in Catholic and other Christian traditions.
In 2008, the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee also affirmed the invitation “to observe through prayers and action a special time for creation, its care and stewardship”
This year during Time for Creation, churches are invited to join preparations for the WCC assembly, addressing the theme “God of life, lead us to justice and peace”. The 10th Assembly of the WCC will take place from 30 October to 8 November in Busan, Republic of Korea.
“Time for Creation is an opportunity to reflect on the assembly theme,” said Dr Guillermo Kerber, the WCC’s programme executive on Care for Creation and Climate Justice.
“Life, justice and peace are intimately related to creation. Creation is indeed life, and it is threatened; there is an urgent need for eco-justice and peace with the earth,” he added.
In Australia, A Time for Creation has been celebrated by churches in a joint initiative called Season of Creation. The initiative has gathered theological and spiritual reflections on various components of creation such as ocean, fauna and flora, storm, cosmos and animals, and also a focus in prayer services on Sunday.
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland has compiled resources to assist churches in observing A Time for Creation. Their theme for this year is “Water Justice”, corresponding with the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation.
Oeku, an ecumenical organization working for environmental issues in Switzerland, has produced materials for the Time for Creation to be used by churches in Reformed, Catholic and ecumenical celebrations and activities.