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Environment Network of the Anglican Diocese of NS & PEI 
E-News  Spring, 2020
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Note from the Editor

We at the DEN wish you all well in the midst of this pandemic. It seems everyday we are told of another tragedy and there are moments where it feels like there is no end in sight. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of those suffering from Covid-19 and the recent mass shooting. Acknowledging how difficult this time is for everyone, we hope that this newsletter may provide a moment of comfort. Collectively, it seems as though our climate activism has fallen behind the pandemic in importance. This is both understandable and ok. At this time, we all must come together and put the safety ourselves and others at the forefront of every decision. Eventually, this pandemic will pass and, although we may not return to 'normal', I pray that we find new way forward, safely and happy together.

"Death has been swallowed up in victory."
"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death is your sting?"

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thank be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- I Cor. 15:54-57

Prayer of the Month

I am the one whose praise echoes on high.
I adorn all the earth.
I am the breeze that nourishes all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits.
I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams.
I am the rain coming from the dew
that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I am the yearning for good.

- Hildegaard of Bingen, in Earth Prayers

Ministry Matters Earth Day 2020

5th Mark of Mission: “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”
Life changes day by the day in the midst of a pandemic. Just over a month ago we were still gathering in church buildings for worship. Just over a month ago, we would apologize with a simple Canadian “sorry” as we bumped into each other in a store or on the street. Today, it seems like a distant memory. 
It seems like a lifetime ago, but it was only a year ago, when I spoke to a group of people in a church in River John, NS about caring for God’s creation. That evening, I explained that as I have aged, it is not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night, or early in the morning, long before I really want to get out of bed and it isn’t unusual for me to have difficulty getting back to sleep when that happens. (Some of my best sermons have been written between 2 and 4 am.) However, I discovered that when I am awake in the middle of the night and my mind refuses to slow down, reaching for my earbuds and listening to podcasts often helps get me back to sleep. 
One of my favourite podcasts is the Sunday Edition. However, listening to the podcast of the Sunday Edition in the wee hours one night did nothing to lull me to sleep. As a matter of fact, it had me wide awake as I listened with growing anxiety about the effect of air pollution on our breathing. Apparently more than 8 million people die prematurely each year from air pollution. That same night, the last thing I heard on my way to bed was a segment from a special series on climate change on The National. Not easy to sleep when your night is sandwiched between two rather frightening programs about the future of the planet.
A long time ago, (a month or so ago) before all the news we receive revolved around the pandemic, updates on threats to health and wellbeing of the earth and our future were reported daily.  
A year ago, as “Friday for the Future Strikes” took place, yes, there was climate despair but we also felt hope as people around the world hit the streets demanding government action. 
A year ago this month, the Anglican Consultative Council, representing millions of Anglicans worldwide, passed a motion acknowledging the ecological crisis and made a commitment on our behalf to take action. Churches reduced their carbon footprint, went back to using “real dishes” and installed recycling bins. Church buildings are now closed, further reducing their impact on the environment. 
Today, in the midst of the pandemic we can’t gather in church buildings or on the street. The voices crying for environmental regulations have been dampened by overriding news reports about the virus. Social isolation has become the new norm. And we have moved back a giant step to disposables in efforts to prevent spread of the virus. 
But hope persists. 
Less traffic means a reduction in carbon emissions. Trips to the mall and shopping, as Stompin’ Tom sang, to “Save a lot of money spending money we don't got”, are no longer recreational activities. We have determined which material goods are essential and reduced unnecessary purchases.
Today, as much as we would never minimize the tragedy to those who became a victim to Covid-19 and their families, we hear stories of cleaner water, cleaner air, growing our own food in backyard gardens and balconies. We have figured out that we cannot be deterred when it comes to relationship, kindness and caring for others. And that is what is important. 
We are now living in an “on line” world, gathering by Zoom, huddled like the disciples, in this case, separated by the fear of contributing to the spread of the virus. But “creation activists” have been meeting perhaps more than ever, united in their commitment to caring for the planet.  
As Anglicans we are committed to care for God’s creation through the 5th Mark of Mission, our Baptismal vows and now globally through the Anglican Consultative Council. 
As Christians, might we take time to consider the experience of the disciples as they meet the resurrected Christ, who more than once commanded us to “Love one another. You must love one another, just as I have loved you. If you love one another, everyone will know you are my disciples.” (John 13: 34-35)
As nasty and difficult as this virus is, do we really want to life to return to the old normal? Life as the disciples knew it changed dramatically so long ago. As they established the church, they embraced a new normal. Loving each other, within their community and outside their community. That was the priority.  
The Pope recently asked us to consider the possibility that the coronavirus pandemic was an opportunity for an ecological conversion and a reassessment of priorities and lifestyles. 
In the midst of fear and sadness and isolation, this could be a second chance. Perhaps “normal”, once this is over, should not be the same “normal”.  As Tommy Douglas once said, “It is not too late to build a better world.” 
We don’t have to necessarily return to the same world and life as we knew it. Maybe, once this virus is over and we are no longer huddled inside and hidden away, like so many of the disciples were after the crucifixion, maybe we can ensure that the world will be a healthier, kinder, place and we will tread lighter on God’s creation.   
Yes, these are unusual times. The virus has put the earth on pause. Humans are on a time out. The planet has time to take a breath, to heal from the damage we have inflicted on it. A resurrection so to speak. 
These are not normal times. Strange was the word my Archbishop used. But right now, in spite of our separation, the pandemic seems to draw us farther from the material and closer to each other and all of creation. 
So as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, might we live out the love that Jesus commanded by doing all we can to ensure that we have a healthy planet that can support life, human and non-human, by ensuring that the air and water that is now getting cleaner by the day remains clean after this is all over. 
In a recent World Council of Churches newsletter, Archbishop Anastasios of Albania was quoted as saying: “Let us transmit from heart to heart the light of hope”
From the Green Anglicans Earth Sunday opening hymn, let us pray: 
Creator God, May we be good stewards of all that you give. 
Protecting creation where ever we live.
May we be a church that renews and restores.
And lovingly cares for this earth that is yours.
And blessed Earth Day!

Rev. Marian Lucas-Jeffries
New Paths - Caring for All of Creation
Nancy Blair, Dartmouth, NS

We are in a time of great uncertainty. We are seeing situations clearly, such as how we care for the elderly, that we want to do differently in the future, more compassionately. Amidst the fear and anxiety, uncertainty, confusion and grief, we are seeing great courage.  We are seeing opportunities and new paths - new ways of living in this world that ensure that we are loving and caring for all of creation, and becoming more human. I have been ‘collecting’ articles since January or this years. In the following articles, you see stories about people who are fighting for a ‘new normal’, where there is climate justice and when humans take their role as protectors of creation.

We are in covid time, but we are also in a climate emergency. We need to learn and adapt - quickly.

We must question our ‘need’ for economic growth as we move towards sustainable development.

Take a look at the covid time as a ‘Thin place” in Celtic spirituality.

Dr. Jane Goodall’s message is clear, we must change our relationship with wildlife, and there is hope that we can heal some of the harm that we have done.

We need to rethink our relationship with wildlife - for the sake of humans and all those creations we share this planet with.

The Dalai Lama’s message is that prayer is not enough - we need compassion.

David Suzuki says that the pandemic provides the opportunity to transform how we live.

The Pope says that the Corona virus is not a punishment but a call to live differently.

Christians are called to look at how we live.

The Pandemic may usher in the end of the ‘throw away’ culture.

The global coronavirus response shows that we can solve climate change.

The economic crisis could assist in the move to renewable energy.

Watermark Project
Endeavouring to remind us of the importance of water, the Watermark Project is collecting stories and photos expressing the many ways water is important to us. Sharing these stories and photos ought to help us all protect the water. Recently, Kelly Schare, coordinator of the Halifax Watermark Project, spoke during one of the Thursday "Physically Distanced, Spiritually Connected" gatherings.

Submissions are currently being accepted through their Website Address
Carol Scott, a poet, from Riverview NB, connected to our network, submitted a poem to the Watermark Project. We hope you will consider sharing your own stories!

Wave After Wave
I’ve come here to sit with the tide
that knows no ceasing
in its ebb and flow –
covering the deep
exposing its treasures.
I sit on a log
cast on the beach long ago
by ocean currents and waves,
bleached by the sun -
made ready for my sitting.
Wave after wave
lures me, pulls me
into ocean’s compelling grip
where deep contemplation
is the only response.
Surely this
is what I’ve come for –
to let wind and wave
mesmerize me, realign me
in my “becoming” once again.

- by Carol Grace Scott
from the poetry collection: earth, ether and the turning of the tide
 Gardening Stories
Hope Blossoming Amidst COVID-19 at the Parish of Blanford

The Parish of Blandford still made planting kits if different this year. We switched to planting kits from Planting night 2 years ago. No matter what night you planned a dance recital or soccer practise would take place. Last year we took our kits to Bunny Day at the Lion's Club,a senior's club meeting and Rogation Sunday. This year, those events aren't happening. Grandma packed up 30 kits and took them to the end of her driveway April 22. They were gone before supper and people asking for more. She made up another 40 and 34 were taken. 64 isn't a bad number for Covid 19 stay at home orders to be picked up. Some families spent a morning "walking" to my drive to pick them up. Under Covid 19 restrictions we had one of the best Earth Day celebrations. Half an egg carton, a snack bag with 6 soup spoons of potting soil, plant markers made from margerine tops, homemade seed packets all put into a lunch bag (parts fell out last year so bags made more sense) with a one hole punch at the top and our tag "a Planting kit from the Parish of Blandford" tied onto the bag. Very popular this year. Happy Earth Day, week, month, or year to all!
Irish potato seed curing process! Courtesy of DEN member Onencan William
Weekly Zoom Interest Sessions

Last month the Church of Saint Andrew in Cole Harbour began weekly Zoom interest sessions with the intent of sharing something different each week. Our first was on gardening and gathered together a very keen group. The majority of participants were from the parish but we had two who joined us from Amherst and Glace Bay. There was much to share between experienced and brand-new gardeners and a commitment was made to create an email group that could support each other over the growing season and share advice as well as extra plants. Hopefully we will meet again online once we all get planting and share our individual progress.

- Carole Aylard
Physically Distanced - Spiritually Connected Through Creation

During this on line time, as we live with covid-19, we do not to forget that we are called to care for and protect all of God’s creation. How we do this is being transformed - as are our lives - by the global struggle to deal with covid-19.

These gatherings have been inspired by the Center for Public Justice’s (CPJ) publication “Living for Ecological Justice”. They might be seen as a retreat, a time of reflection and prayer, an activity and a call to action.

Together we will look at questions that we can ask ourselves, our family and friends about the physical place we are each in. We are being asked, and given an opportunity to stay still. It is up to each of us to decide whether we will use this moment to deepen our love for the earth and our commitment to stand on the side of creation now, and in the weeks, months and years to come.

These sessions will be lead by Nancy Blair, a Registered Counselling Therapist in Nova Scotia, working in Animal assisted Therapy, a social justice activist and a parishioner at St. Paul’s on the Grand Parade in Halifax.

To register Email:

Groups will be limited to 10 on line participants. (If there is enough interest we can hold more than one group per week and be more flexible by offering to hold these gatherrings at a different time of day.)

We will be begin on April 2 ,with Part 1: “Protecting What We love”, then continue after Holy Week on April 16.

Over the last couple of days people have been working quickly to identify new ways of gathering with one another. We have experienced good success with a program called Zoom. This program platform allows for both video and audio call in. This means that people who do not have internet access are also able to participate with either the mobile or landline telephone. It also allows for the recording of the meeting so we can then share the meeting.

To join the meeting with your laptop or home computer you should just be able to click on the link that will be provided in the invitation below. There is also an app that can be downloaded for use on tablets or other devices.

If you would like to call in you simply need to dial one of the numbers provided in the invitation and then enter the meeting id number followed by the # key when prompted.

Helpful tips:
Have your device on a stable surface if you intend to use video
Mute your device through zoom when you are not speaking to limit background noise.
Do not speak over other people otherwise we won't be able to hear either person.
You may find headphones useful if the audio quality on your device is poor

Remember, we are all learning how to do this together so be patient with one another and yourself.

A Covenant for Climate Justice (PWRDF)

PWRDF has recently developed a worship resource regrading Climate Justice accessible through the link below
Artwork by Rini Templeton
Copyright © *2019*|Anglican Diocese of NS and PEI Environment Network, All rights reserved.

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1340 Cathedral Lane, Halifax, NS, B3H 2Z1

The Environment Network of the Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI
is located in Mi'kma'ki, the traditional territory of the Mi'kmaq people.

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Anglican Diocese Environment Network · 1340 Cathedral Lane · Halifax, Ns B3H 2Z1 · Canada

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