“Good Tidings”         


The Earth, Spirit, Action Team Newsletter

St. Matthew’s United Church  


March 31st, 2024                                                                                                        No._24_____  

Welcome to the Easter 2024 issue of “Good Tidings”, the ESA Team newsletter that provides information on local and global environmental and climate change issues; suggestions for personal and political actions that will build a healthy planet; information about resources, and actions from other environment and climate change organizations; and information about environmentally themed worship and prayer opportunities.  

We welcome feedback from readers who would like to share their thoughts with us.                                     Our email is: earthspiritaction016@gmail.com



The Astounding, Hopeful, News of Jesus’ Resurrection!

Have you been keeping up with international news lately?  It is scary, dark, and tragic. The wars in Ukraine and Gaza continue unabated causing human massive suffering and death, environmental devastation, and the destruction of homes, hospitals, schools, and infrastructure.    Putin threatens nuclear war if Nato countries send troops to Ukraine. The race for the US presidency is on with staunch support for a candidate already indicted on criminal charges including interference with the 2020 US election. The powers of death and evil are clearly evident in our world, but do they, or will they, have the final word?

In this Good Tidings Easter issue we have asked folks from the St. Matts family to reflect on the meaning of the Easter good news of Jesus’ Resurrection for the future of our environment and global human community. They share their thoughts on Resurrection with us and we are grateful for their contributions.  

An article on the impact of wars on the natural and human environment reminds us that humans and their creations are included in what we mean by environment, and urges us as Resurrection people, to call on our government to press for an end to the hostilities and killings, for humanitarian relief for the victims of war, and for an end to the destruction of both natural and human environments in Gaza and in the Ukraine.

Anne Marie Dalton will report on the Earth Spirit Action Lunch and Learn programs; the Kairos Blanket Exercise presented on Palm Sunday; and an upcoming event on April 21st t with Chris Benjamin and Hannah Minzloff from Ecology Action Center, who will present “Energy Poverty” as part of the Earth Week programs planned by HalifACT.   

We will provide other opportunities for you to take action for the environment, and Marg Machum will offer another of her delicious Easter season vegetarian dishes.

We hope you will enjoy this Easter Issue.      Christ is Risen!  He is Risen indeed!  

 Reflection on the Meaning of Easter and Jesus’ Resurrection      Jill Rafuse.

I own a cottage property in Queens County. During the 20 years we lived in Ottawa, a wild forest grew where there was once an open field. When we returned, the forest was a tangle of windfalls, rotten branches, broken tree trunks, decaying snags. It was impassible and neglected. Dead. Or was it? We decided to clear a trail, mark the boundaries, remove most of the detritus, and hope that something wonderful would emerge from the Impossible Mess. Today it is a tranquil refuge for us, and a life-giving home to squirrels, birds, deer, bears, even a bobcat and a coyote. Lichens and moss, ferns and flowers – and Nature’s nursery breeds new shoots to replace the dead spruce. The story of Christ’s resurrection reflects the rejuvenation and rebirth we see around us every day – or is it the other way around? Does it matter? I am sure that new life awaits, even where it seems impossible.

The People’s Parade for Life on Earth  The Ecology Action Center’s Invitation to join a community parade and celebration on Saturday, April 20,2 pm.  (rain date: 4/21/24)

The People's Parade for Life on Earth is a gathering to build community that nourishes and strengthens us, and to create meaningful, respectful relationships between each other, with the land and water, and with all the other creatures we share this planet with. It will include elders and youth, drummers and artists, performers and activists, all concerned with climate change and the environment, along with puppets and costumes. The parade begins at Sackville Landing on the Kjipuktuk/Halifax Waterfront opening in ceremony with the Mi’kma’ki Water Walkers, who will lead the parade along the waterfront. We end at Peace and Friendship Park for a celebration including food, activities, and the chance to connect with each other in community.  Please join us.

Spiritual Coalition on Climate Action Nova Scotia (SCOCANS)       Anne Marie Dalton

On March 5th, Anne Marie represented the Earth spirit Action Team at a gathering of representatives from diverse faith communities and environmental groups of Nova Scotia.

This meeting was organized and sponsored by the Ecology Action Centre and Faith and the Common Good. The purpose was to discuss common goals, to share information about activities already pursued by the faith communities, and to discuss possibilities for cooperation. The group decided on a tentative name, Spiritual Coalition on Climate Action NS, and on an interim committee (Hassan Bari, Patricia Betts, and Anne Marie Dalton) to initiate first actions until next meeting when a more permanent structure and list of actions will be decided. The Ecology Action Centre will provide a website for the group. It was decided to write a joint letter to the NS minister of environment, Tim Halman, protesting the non-enactment of the Coastal Protection Act. That action has been done. Watch for further reports and opportunities for action from this group going forward.

We Are a People Who Sing Their Faith!

What is the name of the hymn containing these lines?

……. Him the Lord of peace, whose power a sceptre sways, from pole to pole that wars may cease, absorbed in prayer and praise…”

“When our homes are filled with goodness in abundance, when we learn how to make peace instead of war, when each stranger that we meet is called a neighbour, then we know that God still goes that road with us…”

“Had Christ who once was slain, ne’er burst his three day prison, our faith had been in vain: but now has Christ arisen, arisen, arisen, arisen.”

Wars and their Impact on God’s Creation.            John Nesbitt

During Holy Week and Lent, we recollect that humanity rejected God’s ways when God came to us in Jesus, and that we still reject his ways. The environmental devastation and the human suffering and death in the current wars in Gaza and Ukraine are cases is point. But in spite of the evidence of evil and death in our midst, the Spirit is with us, and humanity does not give up hope. On the environmental front, groups in many countries are calling for international legislation against ‘ecocide’, crimes against creation. The EU already funds a group that does environmental damage assessment. Ukraine has called on the UN to assess damage caused to its environmental by Russia’s ongoing attack. As of July 2023, environmental damage in Ukraine was estimated at 55.7 billion US$.       

The environmental impacts of war are many and well identified, including poisoning of soils, agricultural land, water, and air; poisoning of creatures including animals, birds, plant life, and humans; and the intentional flooding of farmland and destruction of crops. Forests and natural habitat are degraded, pillaged for their resources, or destroyed. Armies in search of food slaughter animals. And the manufacture of war equipment itself, the destruction it causes, and its own eventual destruction, unleashes vast amounts of CO2. War machines leave oil and chemicals that pollute water sources, killing marine life and fish, and causing disease in animals and humans. Bombing of fuel depots and other civil infrastructure unleashes carbon. methane, and chemicals that poison air, water, and soil, sometimes leaving soil unusable.

Wars’ impacts are visited not only on the natural environment but on everything created by humans for abundant living, for satisfying our needs. In both Gaza and Ukraine, we have witnessed the destruction of habitation, schools, hospitals, day cares, supermarkets, performing theaters, churches, and museums. Infrastructure related to the generation of electricity, water supply, transportation of humans and goods, storage, and movement of grains, even dams have been destroyed and nuclear plants threatened. The rebuilding in Gaza and Ukraine will take decades. Google ‘environmental effects of war’ for articles from the NY Times, The Hill, Washington Post, and Euro Parliament. And see the Stop Ecocide Canada petition calling on Canada to support international legislation to include ecocide as a crime (below in the Advocacy and Action for the Environment section).

War is as tragic for humans as for the rest of creation, and one suspects that God weeps. Since the invasion of Ukraine in 2022, 11,000 citizens have died including 1800 children. The Ukrainian Forces have lost 31.000 soldiers, and 15,000 are missing. Russian combatant losses, Ukraine says, could be as high as 180,000. In Gaza 30,000 civilians including 17400 children have died. Israel reports 6-12 thousand Hamas fighters have died, along with 587 Israeli soldiers and 1400 Israeli civilians.

Daily news coverage of these wars will not let us shut our eyes to this evil and devastation. The Moderator of the UCofC has written the Prime Minister urging Canada to press for a ceasefire in the Gaza war, for opportunities to provide humanitarian aid and relief, and for negotiations for the hostages, and settlements that will build future stability and peace.  Here is the link to this letter.  https://united-church.ca/news/dear-prime-minister  

We are people who long for the coming reign of God. We pray for it daily. We can announce God’s ways of peace, compassion, justice, by putting pen to paper, following our Moderator’s example. We can also support relief efforts with personal financial support. Please go to:


Reflections on the Meaning of Easter and Jesus’ Resurrection           Ken Moors.

To me the Easter resurrection message is distilled to the following:                                                                   

* Jesus is among us, still.                                                                                                                                                            

*While divine, Jesus experienced all that is human, knowing all our joys, struggles and fears.                        

* We can and should try to find Christian meaning all around us; not just in poetry and music, but also in that perhaps considered more “mundane”, such as occupation and recreation.                                                            

* The central tenant of the resurrection is love.

If we truly love one another then we have to “right” our relationships - micro and macro - with love and clear purpose, which is not a call to appeasement.  If we want to find Christian meaning around us, then we have to exercise stewardship over creation in all that we do.  And in all these efforts we have to realize that we too, are only human.

 Advocacy and Action for the Environment

Stop Ecocide Canada is calling on Canadians to support petition e-4854 urging the Parliament to publicly declare support for an international crime of ecocide. The rationale is amending the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to include ecocide as a crime, alongside genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression, could provide a simple, effective deterrent for corporate and government decision-makers from causing intentional or negligent environmental destruction. Their petition, sponsored by Liberal MP Patrick Weller and presented before Parliament by a cross party coalition can be found at: https://www.ourcommons.ca/petitions/en/Petition/Sign/e-4854

Ecology Action Center.                                                                                                                                                     EAC is calling on Nova Scotians to write letters of protest to NS Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Tim Halman over the Government’s announcement on an indefinite delay on implementing the Coastal Protection Act (CPA) regulations. EAC states that “delaying   regulations designed to protect our coast from inappropriate development places communities at unacceptable risk. Implementation of the CPA regulations is already long overdue.  Nova Scotians are already feeling the effects of the climate emergency (Hurricane Fiona) and paying for the results of irresponsible development through disaster relief funds and clean-up efforts. Nova Scotians have been consulted on the Act over the past four years and want strong measures in place now to protect our coast.”  To access the EAC letter campaign: https://ecologyaction.ca/ProtectOurCoast

350.org Canada                                                                                                                                                                 350.org Canada, founded by Bill McKibbon, a New England journalist and author on climate change, is urging Canadians to write their MPs calling for a windfall tax on the fossil fuel and oil industry’s excessive profits.  They cite a recent Leger survey, and an article in the National Observer, stating that a majority of Canadians, (62%) want the government to implement a windfall tax on oil and gas companies’ profits. Only 21% of those polled disagreed. Before the budget next month, environmental advocacy groups are urging Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland to respond to public support by taxing the record profits of the fossil fuel sector. For the National Observer article go to:


For the 350.org letter campaign to MPs go to: https://act.newmode.net/action/350org/federal-leaders-must-stand-majority-people-canada

Nova Scotians Protest Inclusion of Nuclear Option in Bill 404 The Energy Reform Act.                                         Nancy Covington MD, and Mary Lou Harley PhD, have written Nova Scotians alerting them to the inclusion of Clause 52 in the Energy Reform Act, Bill 404. This Clause amends Clause 8(1)(a) of Chapter 8 of the Acts of 1992, the Nova Scotia Power Privatization Act. Clause 52 amends by striking out "and the Company shall not construct a generating plant that utilizes nuclear energy to produce electricity". Covington and Harley state: “to retain the current prohibition of nuclear power plants in NS Clause 52 of Bill 404 must be removed. They state” nuclear energy has no role in a clean reliable affordable electricity system for NS, and radioactive routine releases and radioactive fuel wastes have no place in a healthy environment for NS.” To support their concern, send email comments to legc.office@novascotia.ca with title: “Bill 404 Energy Reform (2024) Act” and the salutation: “Dear Law Amendments Committee Members”. State your views briefly.  

Greenpeace Canada.                                                                                                                                            Greenpeace Canada is drawing attention to the UN Global Plastics Treaty negotiations being held in Ottawa April 23-29.  Leaders from around the world will gather for a fourth round of negotiations to cut the production of plastics by 2040.                                                                                                                           “You’ve probably seen photos of animals tangled in plastic trash as the oceans become a giant garbage dump, or read news about microplastics polluting pretty much everything, including human placentas. But because most are made from fossil fuels, plastics are also fueling the climate crisis.”                                                   For more information, and to sign a petition calling on Canada to support a strong Global Plastics Treaty, go to:


Rotini with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil, and Parmesan                                                                                                      Submitted by Margaret Machum


250 g rotini                                                                                                                                                                                          

2 Tbsp vegetable oil                                                                                                                                                                              

4 green onions, chopped                                                                                                                                                                 

4 tomatoes, coarsely chopped                                                                                                                                                       

3 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                                                                                                   

1 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped                                                                                                                                                             

1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped                                                                                                                                            

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

salt, black pepper


1. In pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain.                                                                                                             

2. In Dutch oven, heat oil over high heat. Add onions, tomatoes, and garlic.                                                                         

3. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes until tomatoes are heated through.                                                                                      

4. Stir in rotini, parsley, basil, and Parmesan.                                                                                                                          

5. Reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 2 minutes until heated through.                                                                 

6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lunch and Learn March 24th. The Kairos Blanket Exercise with Theresa Muise.

On March 24th, Earth Spirit Action welcomed Theresa Muise, Mi’maq educator, to St. Matthew’s to conduct the Blanket Exercise. This participative exercise is a creative way of raising awareness of the effects of the colonial history of Canada on the indigenous peoples.

The Blanket exercise was first devised by KAIROS with substantial input from indigenous elders and teachers. It has been amended and changed as a result of new information and of cross-cultural engagement over time.

While the history of the indigenous-settler relationship is mostly one of cruelty and disrespect to the native peoples, Theresa brought a positive and hopeful note to the conclusion, emphasizing change and opportunity for real action towards reconciliation.

We Are a People Who sing Their Faith.

Answers to Hymn Quiz on page 2.

Crown Him with many Crowns.  VU 211;  When A Poor One.  VU 702;  This Joyful Eastertide.  VU  177.

Reflection on Easter and Jesus’ Resurrection

Gordon Murray.


On the bottom corner of a HUGE display of candied eggs were a few packages of HOLLOW Easter eggs.  Like Ukrainian Pysanky, Easter eggs are HOLLOW - though decorated beautifully or tasting delicious - because HE IS NOT HERE - Easter's core message!

"He goes BEFORE you!"  What are one's huge and small "befores": war, famine, homelessness, injustice, disease, disability, weakness, sorrow?  An Easter faith looks for the Resurrected Christ IN one's BEFORES?

"There you will SEE him!"  An Easter promise expects and looks into our 'befores' with EASTER EYES.  The disciples did not - at first - recognize the stranger on the beach beside Galilee… until they experienced that 'moment of wonder': a full net.  Seeing with EASTER EYES sees in every small or large act of kindness the living Christ and knows, exclaims, proclaims, laughs, sings and dances knowing Jesus IS alive right here, right now!  EASTER!


Christ is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!