Lent begins this year on February 13, Ash Wednesday. For Christians concerned with climate change, it’s an ideal time to reflect on how you might live more lightly on God’s Earth. It’s also a good season for congregations to assess what steps your faith community and denomination can take to influence the big-picture policy decisions necessary to heal our overheated planet.
Here are some resources to consider for Lent 2013:
Many Christians use Lent as an opportunity to consciously reduce activities that create carbon pollution. Walking or biking more, going meatless on Mondays as well as Fridays, and refraining from recreational shopping are just a few ways to honor the spirit of this season. Some churches have even taken their carbon fasts onto Facebook, inviting parishioners to compare notes on their fasting efforts. Learn more at the Ecumenical Lenten Carbon Fast website. Read more about observing a low-carbon Lent at Think Progress.
The Anglican Communion Environmental Network plans a Carbon Fast website (not yet live) where people can record their experiences starting on Ash Wednesday. It also shared these materials for A carbon fast for Lent originally developed by Tearfund.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has a 2013 Lenten Caring for Creation calendar available as a download from its website. “The calendar offers practical ways you can grow in your understanding of what it means to be a wise steward of God’s Creation and to deepen your commitment to practices and attitudes which promote care for Creation,” the website notes, inviting everyone to share and make copies of the calendar.
Lent 4.5 is based on the idea that if the Earth were divided equally among all its people, we’d each have 4.5 acres. That may sound like a lot, but it takes 22.3 acres per person to maintain the typical American lifestyle. The Lent 4.5 website has resources and ideas on how you can use your Lenten observance to “live simply, so others can simply live” and our planet can survive, too.
Presbyterians for Earth Care have a set of Lenten devotionals, “Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels for Earth Care, Health, and Justice” available via download from this page.
Arizona Interfaith Power & Light will hold a “Coal Ash Wednesday” service at noon February 13 in front of the corporate headquarters of the Salt River Project in Tempe. The ashes used in the service will come from the Kayenta mine in northern Arizona which supplies coal to the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station. “Speakers will address the health impacts of polluted air, our addiction to fossil fuels, the impacts of climate change here in Arizona,” says The Rev. Doug Bland, co-executive director of Arizona IPL. “For the sake of our state’s natural environment and for the health of our children and grandchildren, we will strongly encourage the board of SRP to invest in solar technology rather than the continued burning of fossil fuels.”
IPL’s 2013 National Preach-In took place the weekend before Valentine’s Day, but its materials are suitable for Lent and beyond. Explore the sample sermons and reflections available online, as well as other ideas for engaging your congregation. Learn more at the Preach-In website.
Sign up for occasional updates on programs and campaigns to help you and your congregation be role models in the wider community. Connect with your state’s Interfaith Power & Light affiliate to learn what is going on near you.