Brandon, via morgueFile

Adapted from Canticle Communications

Two Episcopal priests have released a new curriculum that explores the theology at the heart of environmental crises and guides Christians in developing a practical response. “A Life of Grace for the Whole World” explores a pastoral teaching on the environment by the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church. It is available for free downloaded until July 1.

The five-session curriculum was developed by the Rev. Stephanie M. Johnson, former Environmental Stewardship Minister for Province I and convener of the New England Regional Environmental Ministries Network, and the Rev. Jerry Cappel, Environmental Ministries Network Coordinator for Province IV. They consulted with bishops, clergy, and lay leaders from around the church. Each session of the curriculum is devoted to a different section of the pastoral teaching, which the bishops approved at their meeting in September 2011.

“The environmental crisis is borne out of poor choices and injustice, but these are spiritual matters as well,” says Cappel said. “Poor stewardship, commercialism, and materialism are all rooted in a faulty view of God and God’s work in the world.”

The curriculum is divided into five sessions:

  • “A Time for Repentance and Renewal”
  • “A Time for Grace for the Whole Creation”
  • “A Time for Justice and Sustainability”
  • “A Time to Renew Ancient Practices”
  • “A Time to Commit and Act”

“In its pastoral teaching, the House of Bishops issued a call for confession, compassion, and attention to the present environmental crisis,” Johnson said. The bishops also “challenged us, as individuals and as communities of faith, to identify ways to speak and act on behalf of God’s good creation. The curriculum speaks to both of those needs.”

Each of the curriculum’s sessions includes excerpts from the pastoral teaching, followed by a series of reflections and questions. A facilitators’ manual offers suggestions on how to draw on the Book of Common Prayer and short Bible studies in each session.

The Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely, Bishop of Vermont, who raised the funds for this project from several sources, recommends it wholeheartedly: “It is a deep and thorough exploration of our pastoral teaching, yet it is presented in a way that makes it easy to use in parish settings or on a weekend retreats.”

At the end of this year, Church Publishing will begin selling a print version of the curriculum, along with individual participant booklets offering additional reflection and activities.

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