Earth Care & Spirituality
The Earth Care and Spirituality Resource Team (ECSRT) helps people relate spiritually to God’s creation and take responsibility for the health of the natural world around them. The ECSRT was formed in response to the resolution by delegates to the 81st (2012) Annual Meeting of the Maine Conference (UCC) to “embrace all creation as our sacred cathedral and promote care for Earth, its living beings, and ecosystems.”
The ECSRT offers workshops around the Conference at the invitation of churches and Associations. They publish a monthly spiritual reflection based on spiritual experiences the writers have had in the natural world. In 2019 they started Earth Church, a seasonal opportunity for people to gather as a worshiping community seeking to find and experience God in nature. They have met at Pilgrim Lodge and the Bangor City Forest.
Workshops with Earth Care & Spirituality
The Earth Care and Spirituality Resource Team (ECSRT) offers workshops to interested groups in the Conference. Interested in attending or hosting one? Contact Steve Hastings via email. Here’s a sample outline for a workshop, which can be adapted as desired for each setting:
Sample Workshop Format
9:30 – 10:00am
Earth Spirituality: Worship and Meditation in the Cathedral of Earth and Sky
10:00 – 11:00am
- Pope Francis and his religious/spiritual reasons for Creation care
- St. Francis and the “Creatures of Praise”
- Christ the Sacramental Word in all things
Nature, Storytelling, and Spirituality
11:00am – 12:00pm
- Telling your story about nature
- Telling the story of your spiritual journey in nature
- Telling the story of your call to eco-justice.
Lunch and Informal Sharing
12:00 – 1:00pm
1:00pm – 2:00pm
- Action and Advocacy
- Earth Church
Closing: Communion in a Sacramental Creation
2:00 – 2:15pm
Earth Care Stories
Gathering and sharing of spiritual reflections is in the ancient Christian tradition of seeking or discovering Divine Presence in wilderness, by rivers and the sea, and in high places; and holding in awe the gift of the flora and fauna of the world.
Each month the ECSRT provide a Spiritual Reflection to the Maine Conference Webpage and the ECSRT Facebook page. Reflections are based upon a personal, spiritual experience concerning the natural world, usually in an outdoor setting.
Want to share a reflection and join our list of writers? Connect via email with Doug Dunlap.
Length: Reflections are to be a maximum of 300 words in length. They may be in prose or poetry form.
Writers of Reflections: Those who have expressed an interest in submitting a reflection will be assigned a month.
Submission Process: Submit reflections as Word documents no later than the 20th day of the month prior to the month for publication (Example: The February reflection is due January 20th).
Spiritual Reflection Archives
- Rain and Reductor! – November
- John MacDuffie – September
- Forest Friends – August
- Parable of the Bat – July
- Pentecost – June
- Universe: The Womb of Everything – May
- Owls & Evolution – April
- Sometimes When It Rains – March
- Taylor Hill Elegy – February
- Musing Into Ministry – December
- Trap Day, Monhegan – October
- Wild Harvest – September
- Watching the Water Flow – August
- A Palpable Sense of God’s Presence – July
- A Day on the Thomas Laighton – June
- Witness – May
- Little Darlings – April
- Lent – March
- Winter Woods – February
- Acorns – January
- Tree Climbers Poem – January
- Feast of Crumbs – February
- The Porcupine – March
- Earth Day Celebration – April
- Falling in Love Three Times a Day – May
- Right in Front of Me – June
- Spirit of an Old Forest – July
- Rain – August
- Down in the River to Pray – September
- Sheep Island: Good Company, Beauty, and Abundance – October
- Faith in Things Unseen – November
- The Gift of Watchfulness – December
The ECSRT has started a worshipping community called Earth Church. Mother Earth and her creatures speak a Sacred Word to us in nature. Each time Earth Church meets, we intend to facilitate a “spiritual Earth” experience, knowing our planet is ecologically in trouble and we have a sacred responsibility to care. This is why we call ourselves the Earth Care & Spirituality Resource Team and why we invite you to join us for Earth Church.
While Earth Church has evolved from the ground up and creativity will always be welcome, here is a little more about our current structure:
Details of Earth Church Gatherings
To experience the presence of God the Creator in Nature, a “Word of God” itself.
- Guided Listening to Nature as Sacred Text.
- Prayer of Silence and Contemplation.
- Nature Stories.
- Organic Song and Music.
- Personal Creativity and Sharing.
- Liturgies of Affirmation and Active Commitment to Eco-justice.
- Communion with Evolving Mother Earth as the Body of Christ.
Quarterly for now – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.
So far, we have met at Pilgrim Lodge and the Bangor City Forest.
Want to learn more?
For more information on Earth Church you may contact Steve Hastings via email.
The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.
– Preamble to the Earth Charter