The Jewish and Christian Scriptures give eloquent expression to the creative power and wisdom of God. It is therefore a natural instinct for worshipping communities to develop patterns of worship and prayer around the agricultural year. Of course, there were dangers, and the same Scriptures bear witness to concerns about the idolatry of fertility cults and the worship of created things rather than the creator. Nevertheless, ancient society lived close to the land, and it is no surprise that the ancient Jewish festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread, Weeks and Tabernacles all have agrarian roots. The Christian tradition, too, has assimilated, but with differing emphases and in different times and places, particular agricultural festivals.
Much of this is bound up with the need to provide food to sustain human life, and the accompanying sense of a proper humility before God as source of all things, gratitude for his goodness, and responsibility in stewarding the resources of the earth. In more recent years, urban congregations have explored ways of adapting traditional creation-based festivals for their own contexts.
Many Christian churches, inspired in part by our contemporary concerns for the whole environment, and moved by modern philosophies that no longer place humankind at the centre of the universe, celebrate several weeks of Creationtide. It begins on 1 September, which is Creation Day in the Orthodox Church. It incorporates St Francis’ Day on 4 October, a saint closely associated with the theology of nature. It is the time when many religions are celebrating a Harvest Festival. It finishes on 10 October, a focus date for global climate change campaigning.
Special Services at St John's
The month of September is kept as Creationtide and special liturgies are produced for the season. It is a time when we encourage our members to consider a specific area of environmental concern and resources are publised to help do this.
In 2011 we produced an anthology of resources on the theme of Forests - download a copy here
For 2012 a similar anthology reflects the theme of The Ocean - a copy is available here.
You'll also find a copy of our 2012 Fish Response Leaflet online here
You may like to visit our Environment pages to learn more of our work in this area
The First Sunday in October is kept as Harvest Sunday; tinned and dried produce, and other gifts, are brought in offering and donated to local charities who work with those in need.