GOOD TIDINGS NEWSLETTER
EARTH-SPIRIT-ACTION TEAM (ESA), ST MATTHEW’S UNITED CHURCH NO.14, SEPTEMBER 25, 2022
EDITORIAL Margaret C Machum
As I write this piece for our Newsletter, we are witnessing the end of the second Elizabethan Age. It is a momentous moment of thankfulness for what Queen Elizabeth II did for the world, bringing calm, respect and friendliness to every event, task, and personal interaction.
With this end are new beginnings and a feeling that great change must come. The war in Ukraine has taken a more positive turn although danger lurks in the background; world leaders are meeting at the United Nations, expressing the need to work together as never before to combat poverty, to support all people, to protect our environment, and to dedicate their efforts to the mitigation of climate change.
It is a turning point that brings with it hope and a sense of duty to do all that we can to rid our world of fossil fuels and to bring us to a net zero economy. This is an important moment in the history of our world. And, with this importance, comes new energy.
It is time to step up in government, in our work, in our neighbourhoods, and in our homes, to do all that we can so that our future is safe, supportive, simple, and satisfying. And that brings hope and a renewed sense of purpose.
BOOK REVIEW Paul Bowlby
Sacred Nature: Restoring the Ancient Bond with Nature by Karen Armstrong
As a retired teacher of religious traditions, I appreciated Armstrong’s reflections on the traditions from China and India in relation to the reflections on Judaism. Christianity, and Islam. In the same way that many people have been inspired by the way native peoples see themselves in relation to the natural world, I think it is very useful and important in our time to learn of the pieces of historic traditions that might inspire us as we live through the crisis of climate change.
Armstrong asks us to listen to Confucius and Neo-Confucians, to Taoists and Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, and Christians and poets like Wordsworth. She wants us to confront the fact that modern Christian theologies and scientific traditions have separated, if not alienated, us from how we see ourselves in relation to the natural world.
To listen to these traditions, we are invited to a kind of conversion experience. Armstrong’s chapters urge us to see anew how we are embedded in the natural world extending from the stars of the night sky through all the animals to the tiniest plants. Everyone and every species around the earth are living in the midst of this crisis together. Some are paying the price of extinction! Through extensive quotations from these traditions, Armstrong’s book is, I believe, salutary to our times.
At the conclusion of each chapter, Armstrong offers examples of faithful practices and insights that can inspire readers to reconsider their/our relations to all inhabitants of the natural world. The examples are very general but each example provides a starting point.
If the poetry cited by Armstrong inspires you, you may want to supplement it with John Felstiner’s Can Poetry Save the Earth?: A Field Guide to Nature Poems.
I commend to everyone Karen Armstrong’s new book, Sacred Nature.
CONGRATULATIONS Anne-Marie Dalton
The EarthSpiritAction Group wishes to extend congratulations to Laurette Geldenhuys on her appointment to the Board of the Ecology Action Centre (EAC). She is the second member of St Matthew’s to do so!
Thank you, Laurette. It is great to see you on the EAC Board. You are very generous to give time to the work of the EAC, especially considering the demands of your health care work. Your energy is appreciated in both areas.
REPLY Laurette Geldenhuys
I have admired the wonderful work of the Ecology Action Centre for several years, and was keen to support their work. In particular, I hope that, as a health care professional, I might share information about the harm to human health resulting from harm to the environment, and the great benefits that nature brings to human health and well-being. I also hope to bring what I learn from the EAC to the environmental and green health care advocacy groups with which I am involved in health care.
ACTION Elaine Murray
Climate Strike: A March to support the climate strike is scheduled to be held this Friday, September 23. We were planning to have St Matthew’s members come together to stand on the sidelines At this time of writing, the route has not been announced, and it is uncertain that the march will proceed due to the forecast of hurricane Fiona. Information will be forthcoming.
RECIPES Margaret Machum
Banana Oat Pancakes
1 cup oats
2 ripe bananas
1½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Mix ingredients together and cook as you would any other pancake.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us.
He made and loveth all.