A practical resource to help churches and Christians remember the environment in their prayers of intercession;
The second edition of Praying for the Earth has been produced by the Newcastle Diocesan Environment Task Group. What follows is a brief description of how the booklet came into being, together with an introduction to the contents.
The first edition of Praying for the Earth was produced in January 2008. The Diocesan Environment Group decided to produce a second edition towards the end of 2009. Each member of the group contributed new prayers on particular subjects and, as before, one member of the group edited all the prayers in order to achieve a consistent ‘house style.’ Other members of the diocese offered their services in the design of the booklet and the provision of photographs. Janet Morley provided a message of commendation for the back cover.
The Environment Group is very grateful to the Bishop’s Council in the Diocese of Newcastle for assisting with the production costs of the booklet. The national Church of England’s Environmental Campaign, Shrinking the Footprint, made a donation. Other dioceses and denominations were invited to ‘buy in’ to the venture, and the dioceses of Ripon & Leeds, Wakefield and York together contributed enough funding to enable a larger print run to go ahead.
The booklets cost £2.00 each, partly to cover the cost of postage where applicable, but also because people tend to value what they pay for. Any money raised will be re-paid to the Diocesan Board of Finance, thus ‘recycling’ some of the £1,000 grant from the diocese, and enabling it to be re-used to pump-prime other ventures. (Both re-use and recycling are, of course, good environmental practices!) Larger orders might attract a discount, since the Environment Group is keen that as many booklets as possible are put to good use.
The booklet opens with some background information and a succinct theological answer to the question, ‘Why should we pray for the earth?’ A cycle of ‘Prayers throughout the week’ provides one prayer for each day of the week, on a theme suggested by the corresponding day of creation in the first chapter of Genesis. A cycle of ‘Prayers throughout the month’ provides a total of thirty-one prayers (or four lots of seven prayers, each of which follows the pattern of ‘Prayers throughout the week,’ together with three additional prayers). A new section entitled ‘Prayers throughout the Church’s year’ provides prayers for the major seasons and celebrations in the Church calendar, for saints and angels, for the rural Church calendar, and for a few other significant times of the year.
Praying for the Earth has been produced in the hope of encouraging environmental concerns to become an integral part of the public and private prayers of all Christian people. Although published books of intercession sometimes contain special forms of intercession on an environmental theme, they rarely integrate environmental concerns into all forms of intercession. An important section entitled, ‘Using this booklet as a supplement to other forms of intercession’ suggests ways in which this might be achieved. The booklet will be made available on the diocesan web-site, and
Praying for the Earth is available for download on the diocesan website, and a text-only version will be made available for people with a visual impairment, who might have difficulty reading the full-colour edition.
Printed copies of Praying for the Earth are available from Rob Kelsey, email@example.com.