Treasure - 5th Mark of Mission
FIVE: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and re-new the life of the earth
Our Christian belief is that God is the ultimate Creator of all, and that the environment we live in has been given to us to care for and sustain. Our relationship with it should be one of responsibility and careful stewardship.
The heavens declare the glory of God (Ps 19:1), and all creation cries out with us in hope and longing for the salvation of God (Rom 8:19). God revealed Godself to us in material form, in Jesus, and in doing so reminded us that creation can be a doorway through which we may glimpse God: a sacrament, a thing to treat with reverence as we do with the bread and wine in a Eucharistic service. Creation is a thing of wonder to be honoured, and a thing of fascination to be respectfully explored and reverently cared for.
How do we teach about looking after our world to young children from a Christian perspective? This beautiful resource was produced by Green Anglicans in South Africa, who generously allowed us to adapt it for use in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. It provides all you need for 10 lessons on caring for creation, including age-appropriate input, activities, stories from around the world and meaningful things you can do together. Strongly recommended!
A comprehensive survey of Biblical verses from Genesis to Revelation that tell us about ourselves and creation. As a bonus, Leunig made some cartoons to illustrate it.
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development has a set of resources ready-to-use which focus on climate justice: How do issues of climate change and justice overlap?
Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity's demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. In 2020, Earth Overshoot Day lands on August 22. Here are some resources to help your students think about it.
“Green Anglicans” in South Africa have produced excellent resources for youth groups from which you could gather ideas from for a series of lessons on caring for creation, here. It’s called, “The Story of Stuff”. On the same page you can access resources they created for World Environment Day - again, a good source of ideas.
Christian Aid have teamed up with Prayer Spaces in Schools to create a series of justice resources, including this one on climate justice and this one on clean water. About the first they write: “This activity invites pupils to read the case studies from Bangladesh and think about those who are facing the effects of climate change. The pupils are invited to taste a pinch of salt, and then write hopes or prayers on Post-it notes for people in Bangladesh. Follow-up lesson plans based around this theme are available on the Christian Aid website.”
Letters for Creation invites children and young people under 30 to write letters reflecting on what caring for creation means to them, and how they want their voice to be heard in the climate justice conversation. Originally planned to be part of Lambeth Conference we are now hoping to make this part of a display to move across our Cathedrals and schools in the Province. More news to come on this!
A Rocha is a great organisation to link up with. They are a Christian environmentalist group with three specific goals:
- Practical Action: Well-resourced community conservation projects of local, regional and national significance.
- Education and Engagement: Inspiring creation-care for all ages through high-quality educational experiences.
- Sustainable Communities: A Rocha communities caring for creation and exploring ways for sustainable living.
Members of A Rocha would be able to advise you on practical and genuinely helpful ways your school can raise its conservation efforts. They also have a great range of resources to explore.
Look especially at these offerings from their website:
E3 Wilderness Expeditions
A Rocha has partnered with Scripture Union and Adventure Specialties Trust to run wilderness expeditions where students will be challenged as they travel by foot, bike and raft/canoe, traversing some of the most spectacular and remote areas of Aotearoa New Zealand. Each trip focuses on faith and character formation, conservation, and leadership development. We expect these trips to play a significant role in the development of future Christian leaders who see creation-care as integral to their faith.
Karioi Kids & Karioi Rangers
Karioi Kids and Rangers are two after-school environmental education programs developed around the Karioi Maunga ki te Moana project. The program connects local kids to a range of habitats from the mountain to the sea - including; coastal forest, freshwater streams, marine rocky shore and inter-tidal marine ecosystems. Programs for different age groups are run year round.
Here is a great short video from Pope Francis inviting us to pray that "politicians, scientists and economists work together to protect the world’s seas and oceans."
From Damon Gameau, the director of That Sugar Film, comes #2040film. An aspirational journey to discover what the future could look like if we simply embraced the best that exists today.
This is the narrative the next generation needs to see, to aspire to, and to believe is possible.