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September 1: Day of Prayer for the Environment

By September 1, 2009

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You say you care deeply about the environment, and you believe that all people worldwide should work together in peace and harmony to protect the Earth and to leave it undiminished for our children?

From your mouth to God's ears.

September 1 is the official Day of Prayer for protection of the environment, according to the National Council of Churches (NCC), a practice that was started in 1989 by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I of the Greek Orthodox Church. Since then, the National Council of Churches has designated every September 1 as a day of prayer for protection of the environment for Christians throughout the Orthodox world.

In his annual message for the environmental Day of Prayer, Bartholomew I, the current ecumenical patriarch who succeeded Demetrios I in 1991, urged people of faith to "pray for God's blessing on the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December, so that the industrially developed countries may co-operate with developing countries in reducing harmful polluting emissions, that there may exist the will to raise and manage wisely the funds required for the necessary measures, and that all may work together to ensure that our children enjoy the goods of the earth that we leave behind for them."

And in summing up his message, he said: "Let us all renew our commitment to work together and bring about the changes we pray for, to reject everything that is harming the creation, to alter the way we think and thus drastically to alter the way we live."

Demetrios, Archbishop of America, wrote in a separate encyclical to mark the beginning of the Ecclesiastical New Year on September 1: "We have been called to oversee and protect the natural environment. This requires cooperation with others in a spirit of love and fellowship. It also requires that we appreciate the impact of our actions and inactions, and that we cherish the beauty, function, and purpose of all that God has created."

In announcing the annual Day of Prayer for the environment, Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, the NCC General Secretary, urged all people of faith to join in praying for the environment and for peaceful solutions to environmental problems.

The National Council of Churches is an ecumenical organization of America's Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican, historic African American and traditional peace churches, which represents 45 million members from 100,000 congregations nationwide. According to the organization's Web site, "the Council's Eco-Justice program works to raise awareness in the churches and in the public at large about the urgent need to protect the environment through conservation of resources and action against climate change and global warming."

But the National Council of Churches is not the only religious organization embracing faith-based environmentalism. A growing number of religions and religious leaders--from evangelical Christians to Jews to the Pope--have made environmental stewardship an integral component of their religious teaching over the past few years.

All we can say is "Hallelujah!"

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September 3, 2009 at 7:55 am
(1) Fr. Peter says:

For many of us everyday is a day of prayer for the environment, but to have finally managed to get the Church heirachy to accept their responsibility in caring for God’s creation…. As you say… “Hallelujah!”

April 9, 2011 at 12:00 am
(2) CaseyP says:

2 hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

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