A 6-Week Study & Conversation
Thursdays, 9am - 10:15am
October 20 - November 24
A 6-Week Study & Conversation
Thursdays, 9am - 10:15am
October 20 - November 24
The impact on our land, air, water and species is real!
The impact on the heart, mind and spirit of human beings is real!
And the capacity to respond in the power and presence of the Living Christ is real also!
This Response to the Emotional Impact of Climate Change will become an experience of what the church does best. We gather in community. We risk feeling what is broken. We give voice to that which remains unspoken. We attend to what remains unheard. And we find, as we become truly enfleshed in all of life, that there is an incarnational power that accompanies us and raises us up to new life. We are not alone. Suffering is not the end.
The Course outline:
Session 1 – October 20
Sanctuary – beginning a community and developing a safe place
Session 2 – October 27
Introduction to Climate Anxiety and Climate Grief – Caring for feelings respectfully
Session 3 – November 3
Feelings are in the body – Embodiement – Embodied with Christ – Embodied in the world
Session 4 – November 10
The Cross – The body broken for life – Injustice – For the sake of the innocent
Session 5 – November 17
The Resurrection – Everything Called to Life – The importance of restoration – Grace
Session 6 – November 24
The Sending – Finding what we can do individually and as a community – The importance of imagination
Catching our attention- Becoming aware
Curiosity – Becoming engaged
Nurturing appreciation and gratitude
Protecting and defending what has come to be loved
Each session includes:
Connecting and team-building
Teaching: Deepening understanding
Conversation: Strengthening community
Debriefing, Closing and Anticipating
Participants are encouraged to further practice and reflection at home, including but not limited to:
Acquire a copy of Britt Wry’s Book, Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis, and read along each week. Try your library first. Then your bookstore. If acquiring the book or reading every week is difficult, don’t let that be an obstacle to participating. Each Zoom gathering will emphasize points of interest and relevance.
There will also be recommended video recordings some weeks. This is especially valuable when time is short. The videos will offer different personalities and perspectives.
Consider weekly Reflection Questions, and recommendations for spending time in nature, both to sit quietly with loss and deeply with joy. A little joy. Then more joy.
Engage with supplemental resources provided during and after sessions.
Read each section below for an introduction and invitation to this study.
Climate change is not only affecting our air, land, and waters; climate change is affecting human emotions. How are you feeling about climate change? What are you experiencing yourself? How do you feel about what you hear from the media? What do you imagine might come about in the future?
These emotions go by many names:
Climate dread….. Climate anxiety….. Ecological grief…….Environmental Distress
Ecological Angst….. Eco-trauma….. Solastalgia…. And more.
And these emotions express themselves in a broad range of stages, from mild to severe.
The University of Bath in the United Kingdom studied 10,000 people, aged 16 to 25 in 10 countries and discovered these effects of climate change on mental health.
Almost half of the youth taking part in this survey (45%) say that climate anxiety is affecting their daily lives in various ways.
More than 7 in 10 people (75%) say that the “future is frightening”.
Around 58% said that the governments were “betraying me and/or future generations” whereas 64% said that the governments are not doing enough to avoid the upcoming climate catastrophe.
Almost 4 in 10 teenagers (39%) said they are hesitant about having kids due to climate related fears.
[“Young People's Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon, “ The Lancet, Young People's Voices on Climate Anxiety, Government Betrayal and Moral Injury: A Global Phenomenon by Elizabeth Marks, Caroline Hickman, Panu Pihkala, Susan Clayton, Eric R. Lewandowski, Elouise E. Mayall, Britt Wray, Catriona Mellor, Lise van Susteren :: SSRN]
What can the church do to care for one another? We all experience climate change. We all are affected. But we all respond in different ways. People experience climate change differently and respond differently. Care, welcoming, accompanying, supporting, and reconciling as practiced by the church, must remain flexible, adaptive and just.
Our responsibility and our response. Responding to climate change as the secular world seems to focus on extraction, consumption, and conflict over protecting wealth and power. Discussion seems to focus on the loss or preservation of raw materials. What about raw nerves and broken hearts?
We could say we have a responsibility as Christians to care. Not only do we respond to critical events as they happen, but we initiate care, anticipating what may go unreported, unrecognized, unclaimed. Are we not commanded to love one another? But answering the command may become a choice, a responsibility we accept or decline, or refer to the “authorities.” It seems there may be a shortage of compassionate resources, just as there may be a shortage of environmental resources.
But if we emphasize appreciating the abundance of creation… If we are attentive to the richness of life… If we recognize the beauty that surrounds us and the bounty that fills us, we respond to eco-anxiety with eco-joy. Life is wonderful! Alleluia!
We may not be begining at "Alleluia!" We may not be there. What we have seen with our eyes and what we have
heard with our ears testifies to the cries of creation and the cries of the poor. In our attentiveness we
cannot go unaware and we cannot be unmoved. So, we cry alongside those who cry. We hunger
alongside those who hunger. And we sing. First lament. Before praise. Sometimes we even get angry.
How do we experience these feelings and process these feelings? It seems we are shocked. Then frozen
with disbelief. Then overwhelmed. Activists say we should do something. Moralists say we have an
obligation. Great. Now we have to deal with guilt and shame as well.
How do we deal with the pain of others and the world, moving through our own pain, to find
empowerment – power that does not itself contribute to the problem?
Only by grace. And living through pain, through grace to compassion. Compassion for ourselves, one
another, our neighbors, the poor, the suffering creatures… and even for the wealthy, the affluent, and
those who have caused the environmental crisis in the first place. Oh, there are those people include
Compassion is no longer a duty. It is our joy and our delight. It is a natural as nature itself, and is
strengthened through communion with nature. It is the interconnectedness that binds all living beings.
Compassion involves welcoming the suffering (including ourselves) to a safe place to be, feel and grieve.
Sharing from our abundance, so what is lacking for some, becomes available, as we have experienced
Presence, Providence, and Promise in community, by grace.
Grief becomes transformed as it is experienced, shared and expressed. Grief passes. But don’t think grief
passes forever. There is a circle. A spiral. Grief comes and goes and comes again. And goes again. You
see, grief is not a personal failing, an individual pathology. Grief is a collective experience, a passageway
to a depth of life and a gateway to new vitality, energy, integrity and strength.
And environmental grief is not like grieving a flooded home, a lost job, or a devoted spouse or child.
Grief does not necessarily pass. Time does not necessarily hear. And environmental grief does not end
with a death and a funeral. Does it ever? But environmental grief swirls and continues and repeats and
deepens because this environmental crisis is not going to end after four stages of treatment or a death.
We don’t get fixed. And we don’t get over it. But we can get through it. There is a map. It involves
injustice and a cross and a tomb… and a surprise!
Your registration will be acknowledged with a link to attend and your first questions to think about.
Registration is limited. If opportunity requires, a second series will be scheduled.
As you find you have questions or desire more information, please contact Pastor Dave Saude at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “eco-loss and eco-joy” in the subject line. If you prefer a telephone chat,
include your phone number and Pastor Saude will call you as soon as possible.
This study is free to attend.
Participants are encouraged, if they are able, to make a donation to the Alberta Synod,
Camp Kuriakos, or an environmental agency of their choice.