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Congregations adopt interfaith ‘Care for Creation’ statement

By Staff | Apr 8, 2020

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“Together – A Way Forward” is an island interfaith environmental initiative on Sanibel and Captiva that includes representatives from: Bat Yam Temple of the Islands; Captiva Chapel by the Sea; First Church of Christ, Scientist; Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church; Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ; and the Unitarian Universalists of the Islands.

After over a year of deliberation, refining their identity and gaining participation and momentum, the six houses of worship have agreed upon a statement calling on people of faith and spirit to show leadership in environmental action. Entitled “Care for Creation: A Call for Reflection and Action,” it affirms their shared belief that they have a spiritual motivation and responsibility to protect the planet:

“Together – A Way Forward is an interfaith initiative on the Barrier Islands of Southwest Florida – and beyond. Our goal is to provide leadership and inspiration for the care of Earth, first locally, and then globally. As active participants in organized spiritual communities, we represent a variety of religious faiths, yet we share common beliefs, that we, as people of faith, have an obligation to safeguard and steward the natural environment. We acknowledge that Earth’s stewardship is a portion of our spiritual practices. We affirm that we are committed to encouraging the adoption of best practices on our properties, in our community, and to inspire all people to do the same.”

A ceremonial signing of the statement was originally planned on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, during a Sanibel Causeway Celebration of Creation. Unfortunately, it was canceled.

However, given these uncertain and isolating times, Together believes it is important to gather symbolically and spiritually as stewards of the planet and in support of the community. In the spirit of moving forward “together,” the group encourages islanders to create their own personal celebrations of creation on the historic Earth Day. The organizers are in the process of compiling a collection of inspirations, blessings, poems, quotes and prayers for individuals to reflect on, use and share. Stay tuned for a future announcement with more information on how to celebrate the planet – and socially distance at the same time.

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At challenging times like these, one might turn to the great outdoors – even through the window if necessary – to find peace and solace. As John Muir said, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin …” (Our National Parks, 1917). Together sends strength, healing and best wishes to the community as it says, “We stand together – even if we must stand six feet apart for now.”

Together has been facilitated by Peter Blaze Corcoran and intern Brielle Ruiz, of Florida Gulf Coast University. They are part of a working group, which includes Jean Chandler, Sandy Ehlers, Mike Miller, Bruce Neill, Chip Roach and Ellen Sloan.

For more information, email togetherawayforward@gmail.com.