Green hearts: Climate Sunday

Below is a resource for churches to use within a Sunday service. Please use it in whatever way is best for you, take the parts that are useful and discard those bits that won’t work in your context.

Pre-service work

In this service we will be encouraging people to make green hearts. If it is an online service with people watching from home encourage them to have some craft stuff ready. This can be using whatever they already have craft wise already e.g. green paper, green pencils, green wool etc.We have a range of templates people can use from a simple green origami heart, through to crocheting a green heart or people can do their own thing using pens or paints.

If your service is in person in the building then set up some tables and either ask people to bring crafts or have some ready. It would be great to buy as little as possible so asking people to bring what they already have at home to share could work or using the church’s craft stocks. If you do need to buy a few things consider getting as much second hand as possible e.g. you can buy material scraps from ebay.

If it is in person consider what crafts you are going to offer, you could keep it simple and everyone does the same one e.g. everyone makes an origami heart. If you want to give a few options perhaps have a painting table, an origami table and a sewing table. You will find instructions for what you need in the templates.

Templates and craft ideas

Readings

Genesis 9: 8-17

Ezekiel 36: 24 – 30

Colossians 1:15-23

Matthew 21: 12-17

John 3: 16

Mark 12: 28-34

Songs/Hymns

Beauty for Brokenness

For the beauty of the earth

How great thou art

Seasons – Hillsong

All creatures of our God and King

I the lord of sea and sky

Inspired by love and anger (John Bell/ Iona Community)

Sermon/Preach/Talk

Intro

  • The green heart has become the symbol of loving the planet and that is why we are making them today.
  • Creation is God’s and we are using our voice and creativity today to protect it.
  • Invite people to start making their green hearts

Reflections on the Bible verses

  • We hear in these readings God’s love of creation:
    • the new covenant between God, humans and our relationship with the planet with Noah
    • Ezekiel: If we show our faithfulness to God through our care of creation, God will bless us with a new heart
    • Jesus in the temple – an example of righteous rage at what is being done within a sacred space. If we believe it is God’s Creation, and is a place where God wants to come and dwell with us, we have a duty to demand change which will make the world more fit to be God’s dwelling place.
    • John 3: God so loved the world. God loved the world- not just *humans* within the world
    • Mark 12: Love your neighbour as yourself – including our neighbours in the global south who we can’t see. They can experience our love through our caring/destructive considerate/greedy lifestyles.
    • Paul emphasises to the Colossians the supremacy of Christ and that all in creation is created through and for him. What stands out is the inclusion of all creatures under heaven.
  • Do we as the hands and feet of God take our responsibility and covenant seriously? Will we partner with God in saving our planet from the threat of Climate Change?

Craftivism

  • There are many ways of engaging with Climate Change to ask for a sustainable future: some are signing petitions, some direct action with Christian Climate Action and some going on marches
  • What we are doing today is a form of activism called craftivism, it is slower and more mindful. It embraces our creativity as part of the action and is open to anyone, even those who struggle with other types of activism, such as those who are housebound.
  • Craftivism treats everyone as a beloved child of God, including the person we are campaigning to. In our letters we thank them for all they do, we assume they are people with good intentions and give them a thoughtful and caring gift.
  • Share some information about where people should send their green hearts or invite them into small group discussion and then invite them back in to make suggestions of where you, as a church, could send them.(more info below)

Optional: Reflective questions (either for small group discussion now or to discuss after the service)

  • What worries you most about climate change?
  • Who could you encourage locally?

Play some reflective music and give people a few minutes to write their letters

Sending off your green hearts

  • You can encourage people to send them off individually or you can do a combined action as a church
  • The easiest option is to send them to your local elected officials: MPs and councillors. But other local leaders are also an option e.g. business or organisational leaders.
  • We encourage you to think of a more specific ask as that is more likely to have an impact. Here are a few ideas and tips to get you thinking:
    • Think local, the church is influential within its local area.
    • Is there a local shop still using plastic bags? Write to the manager asking them to change
    • Is there some waste ground that could have wildflowers seeds planted? Write to your local councillors asking for this. Or go do some guerrilla planting!
    • Write to your MP and councillors about the airport expansion voicing concerns about the increased number of flights.
    • Write to your bank asking them to prioritise green investments
    • Write to a loved one encouraging them in their sustainability journey.
    • Write to your workplace or school asking them to reduce their single use-plastic and/or change to a green energy provider.
  • You can give people time to write their letters in the service OR share the link so they can write them at home OR write a letter from the whole congregation and everyone leaves their/sends in their green hearts so they are all sent off together.

Prayers

God,

Thank you for your beautiful creation. A place of life and flourishing for humans as well as all plant life and creatures. We thank you for the beauty and variety we see all around us, help us to appreciate the wonder of nature.

We thank you for the voice each of us has that we can use for the good of the planet. Guide us in our own journey towards living sustainably, enable and empower us to make decisions that serve your kingdom and work in accordance with your creation.

Forgive us for the times we have fallen short, the times when we have not made decisions that honour you. Help us be in right relationship with you, ourselves, one another and our world.

Bless our global sisters and brothers who feel the burden of Climate Change keenly. Those whose harvests are failing, homes are flooded and those who are now climate change refugees. May we stand in solidarity with them.

We hold our leaders, local and national, in our prayers today. They have difficult decisions to make but may they have wisdom when the balance of our planet is in their hands.

We lift up church leaders, the church can be a powerful mover for change. May the national churches and local churches carefully consider their carbon footprints and make moves towards being houses of prayer and hubs of sustainability.

Empower the voice of the church on issues of sustainability. May each of us as individuals and we as a community of Christians be emboldened to speak for what is right. May our prophetic message reach fertile ground for the sake of God’s beautiful creation.

Canticle of the Creatures  St. Francis of Assisi

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air….
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water, so useful, lowly, precious and pure.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten up the night….
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us…and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs….
Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.

Amen

You can download this whole resource as a printable PDF here.

We also have a green hearts resource for small groups and youth groups.

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