Creation-Care, 365

 PNW United Methodists
Caring for God's Creation

Creation Quote:
St. Bonaventure

Small Steps:
DIY Outdoor Reflection

Tools for Renewal:
Nature Stations

Lectionary Links

Events & Actions:
Summer 2012

Creation Keepers:
Creation Vacation

UMC News


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  • of creation-care resources, news, and events
  • about "Creation Keepers" in your church and throughout our Conference 
"CC-365" Archives
Please click on the above link to find an indexed list of our archived issues.
Issue #56 "Out-of-Doors" August 11, 2012
Clymene moth
The headline on yesterday's edition of the Seattle Times reads, "Sorry, but summer is almost outta here" -- a message about the approach of fall-like temperatures to the part of our country that lies west of the Cascade mountains.  While you may or may not feel that "summer is almost outta here," the article serves as a reminder that there's no time like the present to be outside, drinking in the grandeur and intricacies of God's creation (which, of course, includes the "creation" that is our very own lives).  Our souls need to drink, breathe, see, smell, and touch the God is who so present through creation; and God's broader creation desperately needs those who can fall in love with its grandeur and intricacies time and again.

Grace and Peace be with you,

Creation-Care Project Coordinator

PNW Office of Connectional Ministries    


QuoteCreation Quote

Saint Bonaventure*   


"...every creature is by its nature a kind of effigy and likeness of the eternal Wisdom.  Therefore, open your eyes, alert the ears of your spirit, open you lips and apply your heart so that in all creatures you may see, hear, praise, love and worship, glorify and honour your God."



*Born John of Fidanza, St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) was an Italian, Franciscan scholastic theologian and philosopher.  


 SmallStepsSmall Steps... for Greater Good
Do-It-Yourself, Outdoor Reflections
For groups small & large
Hoh hike


Would you like to plan a meaningful hike with friends?  Does your faith community have times of prayer outside?  Are you part of a church outdoor group?  If you've answered "yes" to any of these, then here are a few ideas for helping to facilitate a reflective, prayerful time in the out-of-doors; whether your group is taking an "urban hike," wandering your church's grounds, visiting a farm, hiking in a forest, strolling along a shoreline, walking through a SuperFund site or brownfield, setting off for a group kayak/canoe paddle, etc.:
  • Before heading out, consider perusing resources like Nature Stations (below) and Joseph Cornell's Listening to Nature or With Beauty Before Me.  
  • When everyone has reached your chosen outdoor spot, gather in a circle and welcome each other and the Holy Spirit.  Explain that you are all about to enter into a time of silent reflection -- a time that's "book-ended" with opening and closing, spoken reflections. 
  • Begin your time together with a simple prayer and/or reading(s) (like the one above from St. Bonaventure, from Scripture, and/or from another creation-caring voice) that encourages everyone to open their senses to the Holy that upholds all creation. 
  • Welcome your group's time of silence and then walk/paddle/etc. with open senses throughout the outdoor place in which you find yourselves.  Walk in silence for 5 minutes, an hour, or as long as you feel comfortable (consider "pushing" your comfort level -- you may be surprised by the results).  You may even want to plan for a time when each person can venture off in silence for a brief "solo"/alone time with God and creation (you can introduce this in your opening circle). 
  • Reconvene as a group in a circle (perhaps at your original gathering place).
  • Gently draw the silence to a close by inviting everyone to offer one word (literally, one word) that comes to their hearts/minds from the preceding time of silence.
  • As the Spirit moves your group, conclude this time of sharing with an "Amen," a song/hymn, another reading, a prayer, or something else that seems to bless the moment.     
ToolsTools for Renewal
Nature Stations, A Meditative Walk
By Margaret Schmidt and B. J. Schlachter Nature Stations

From IHM* Publications' web site:

"The new IHM Nature Stations booklet, [is] a gem of education, reflection, poetry, images and ritual....  The beautiful, 30-page, four-color booklet is an invitation to spend time with the wonder, beauty and vulnerability of creation. Nature Stations, A Meditative Walk, links the universe story, Earth story, our Christian belief story and our personal stories to nurture an awareness of the interconnectedness of all creation with God, Source of all Being.


"Written by B. J. Schlachter, IHM Associate, and Margaret (Peggy) Schmidt, IHM, each of the nine nature stations includes a descriptive text, a poem by an IHM, an image, reflection questions and simple rituals. The authors say, 'We believe nature can heal us, transform us, and connect us more deeply with God as Holy Mystery. Today, planetary survival challenges us as humans to change and make sacrifices for the good of the whole Earth community. God's kin-dom of love, justice, and peace -- as taught and lived by Jesus -- requires us to respect and to protect all of creation. Being a living memory of Jesus challenges us to be lovers of all creation.'


"Enter into this challenge by taking a meditative walk with Nature Stations, $7.  Order safely online by credit card. If you wish to purchase booklets by check, please call 734-240-9838, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. EST."




*IHM stands for "Immaculate Heart of Mary" and refers to the "Sisters and Servants" of this creation-caring ministry based in Monroe, MI.  To learn more about IHM's sustainable community please click here; you may also wish to view a brief news video -- "Nuns Go Green."  


Lectionary Links
Some excellent on-line sermon helps -- most of which coincide with the Revised Common Lectionary:
Events & Actions
Summer 2012

 CreationKeeperCreation Keepers

Creation Vacation Creation Vacation3
Camp and Retreat Ministries of Oregon and Idaho

Go Camping is a joint ministry of the Oregon-Idaho Conference of The UMC and the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.  Go Camping's Creation Vacation ministry "offers very low-income families the opportunity to experience a few days of family vacation, enjoying a supportive community and the wonder of creation that we know as camp."  Below you'll find two excerpts describing Creation Vacation and above (click on the image) you'll find an Annual Conference video link that does so as well.  It is exciting to see that such a vital, creation/people-caring ministry exists and -- as partners in ministry in the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area -- let us celebrate and support Creation Vacation!

From Creation Vacation's Flyer:

"Creation Vacation is a unique mission program providing a respite experience in a nurturing and stimulating environment for extremely low-income families lacking the financial means for even a modest vacation together. ...

"Our focus is both to empower families and to change
churches through new friendships with people who live in
poverty. Camp experiences develop leadership and create
caring communities with benefits that continue back

"More than one child or parent participating in Creation
Vacation has been out of their city or town for the first
time, has seen the ocean and the stars, or has hiked along
a pine needle-strewn path and felt safe for the first time."

From UMNS' article and video "Creation Vacations' offer respite in tough times":

"The Rev. Kevin Witt, the conference's former camp and retreat ministries director, says that when these vacationers step away from their environments, they have an opportunity to value and enjoy each other in a new way.

'It's a time of peace. It's a time of joy,' he adds. 'The children get to see their parents in a different light because they're having fun together. They're really enjoying each other's company and there's a connection there that occurs.'


"Witt believes that being in the midst of the grandeur of nature also enables the families to experience God in a different way. 'The natural world is a way to connect more deeply with God. It's part of a faith journey,' he says. Visitors experience God near the ocean, away from urban settings, and away from work.


"The families leave with strengthened relationships, a feeling of community, and deepened spiritual practices, Witt says. It is a renewal that continues for the summer and beyond."

Recent UMC Creation-Care News
"Creation-Care, 365" is a free, bi-weekly resource of the PNW Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  Subscribers are welcome to reprint any/all of the materials contained within; cite "Creation-Care, 365," Thanks and God bless you in your creation-caring efforts.