Welcome to St. Peter’s Episcopal, Port Royal

September 20, 2020 – Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Communion along the River

Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, writes this passage about the Eucharist: “For that short time, when we gather as God’s guests at God’s table, the Church becomes what it is meant to be—a community of strangers who have become guests together and are listening together to the invitation of God. Sometimes, after receiving Holy Communion, as I look around a congregation, large or small, I have a sensation I can only sum up as this is it—this moment when people see one another and the world properly: when they are filled with the Holy Spirit and when they are equipped to do God’s work. It may last only a few seconds, but there it is.”

The Week Ahead…

The 20’s

1. Today’s Lectionary is Proper 20  2 The Sunday is Sept. 20  3. The Gospel is from Matthew Chapter 20  4. The year is 2020

September 20 – Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 20 – 10:00am – Holy Eucharist on the River

1. Bulletin for Sept. 20, 10:00am, Holy Eucharist

2. Readings and Prayers Pentecost 16, Sept. 20, Holy Eucharist

3. Sermon

4. Photo gallery

5. Videos.   Check out video 3 for Season of Creation Eucharistic prayer combining the prayer and photos from the Season of Creation from past years.

September 20 – 11:15am – National Cathedral church service online

September 20 – 7:00pm – Join here at 6:30pm for Evening Prayer – service starts at 7pm Meeting ID 834 7356 6532 Password 748475

1. Bulletin for Sept. 20, 7:00pm, Evening Prayer

2. Readings and Prayers Pentecost 16, Sept. 20

3. Sermon

4. Photo gallery

September 23 – 10:00am – No Bible Study this week. It will resume September 30

September 27 – Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

September 27 – 10:00am – Morning Prayer on the River. No evening Zoom Church

September 27 – 11:15am – National Cathedral church service online

Village Harvest in September, 6 months of outreach and value

Although this harvest was done September 16, because of the COVID virus it was only our 6th month of the year.

We had 103 people in September, one more than August. It was above the average of 98 for the year.

Food was 1,312 pounds close to the average of 1,322 for the year. There were larger amounts of food available earlier in 2020. From March to September it has ranged from 1,508; 1,733; 1,642; and 1,312 with September being the lowest. With numbers of shoppers close to last month, the dollar value per shopper of $76 in September was lower than the last few months with the larger amounts of food .

Numbers don’t tell the whole story. Cookie Davis reports, “Today we got a really nice load!  A cooler of each:  ground Beef/steak  chicken, hotdogs/ sausages Chicken breast strips. Fish/shrimp.” There was also applesauce, cake mix, Dry milk, corn chips, cereal. “Each family received a box of vegetables.”

Read more about the value of the harvest over time…

Prior to joining the disciples, he worked as a tax collector in Capernaum for the Romans. Thus he was probably not a popular man! Matthew is the patron saint of tax collectors and accountants.

In Matthew 9:9-13, Matthew tells a story about how Jesus called him to follow him and how the Jewish people felt about tax collectors. In this story, the Pharisees, a group of Jews who strictly followed all the laws of their religion, call tax collectors “sinners.” Jesus that wasn’t the case with Matthew – not sinner or a cheat. When called he didn’t hesitate to follow Jesus.

Matthew’s calling into Jesus’ inner circle was a dramatic gesture of the Messiah’s universal message and mission, causing some religious authorities of the Jewish community to wonder: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus’ significant response indicated a central purpose of his ministry: “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Matthew wrote his Gospel for Jewish people who had become followers of Christ. He wanted his audience to know that Jesus was the Messiah that God had promised to send to save all people. Matthew’s Gospel makes clear that Jesus is the fulfillment of everything said by the prophets in the Old Testament.

Matthew is also the only Evangelist who shares the eight Beatitudes with his readers. His Gospel faithfully reports how Jesus described who will be truly blessed by God in the Kingdom and the attitudes and actions that are required for those who follow the new Law Jesus came to bring.

After Jesus’ Ascension, Matthew preached the Gospel, as Jesus asked his disciples to do. It is believed that he established Christian communities in Ethiopia and other sections of the continent of Africa. Tradition tells us that he died as a martyr.

The symbol for Matthew’s Gospel is a man with wings. (see the image above)

Lectionary, September 27, 2020, Pentecost 17,  Proper 21, Year A

I.Theme –   Ultimately, we make our own choice how to live our life that is not dependent on the choices our ancestors made. We have free will to turn our lives around.

 "Two Sons" – Nelly Bube

The lectionary readings are here  or individually:

Old Testament – Ezekiel 18:1-4,25-32
Psalm – Psalm 25:1-8 Page 614, BCP
Epistle –Philippians 2:1-13
Gospel – Matthew 21:23-32 

This week is about choice and responsibility. Questions of authority swirl around the readings.

Ezekiel emphasizes responsibility and with that freedom to refute this old saying – "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge" (Ezekiel 18:1). In earlier days Israel had barely recognized a distinction between a person and the community. The overall picture was one of communal solidarity, with emphasis upon the corporate consequences of individual guilt. However, Ezekiel is here to provide correction in emphasis. A person is free at any time to turn from wickedness to righteousness and vice versa. It’s not what your ancestors did. In each case, that person will be judged by the new life to which he or she has turned, not by his or her previous life. They are called to a renewal of covenant with the Lord and a new life. Only God’s purposes define true fairness.

This psalm is an individual lament. We are dependent and humbled before God. The teaching and learning of them are salvation.

Paul in Philippians suggests that incorporation into the body of Christ demands humility and obedience of the type demonstrated by Jesus. Only in this way will his followers have the "mind" of Christ. This humility is not humiliation; nor is the obedience blind. Rather, they are expressions of faith and trust in the gracious and loving character of God.

In Matthew’s Gospel it is probably Monday of Holy Week. Jesus went into the Temple courts, overturned the tables and seats of those who exchanged money and those who sold doves.

The first part of the Gospel is about authority. The chief priests and the elders ask who has given him the power and authority to do all that he has done in his ministry. But he will only answer them if they first answer his question (v. 25), one which will show whether they have the requisite faith to understand his answer. “Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?”

If they answer that John the Baptist was divinely inspired, then they open themselves to the charge of ignoring God’s will and of being unrepentant. They would undermine the Temple system they serve. If they say that John’s authority was from human beings, then they risk offending the crowd that believed John was a prophet. Either way, they are condemned. And so they plead ignorance.

For the church, then and now, everything depends upon the source of Jesus’ authority. If it is ultimately "from humans" then Jesus is really no different than another charismatic leader and the church will be forced to define itself only as a human institution among other human institutions.

The second part of the Gospel, the Parable of the Two Sons, suggests that faith and trust are found more often among the "tax collectors and prostitutes" who hear the good news and believe than among the self-righteous guardians of religious order.

In the Parable of the Two Sons, the father asks the sons to go work in the family vineyard. One says "I won’t" but changed his mind and will. The other says he will and doesn’t. Jesus suggests that faith and trust are found more often among the “tax collectors and prostitutes “ in the first camp who hear the good news and believe than among the self-righteous guardians of religious order in the second group . The chief priests and elders feigned acceptance but refused to accept John as a messenger from God. They gave an honorable word, but that is not enough.

Read more about the Lectionary…

What is the Season of Creation  ?

This is fourth year we have used this optional lectionary which begins Sept 1 and ends at St. Francis Day, Oct. 4. Usually Pentecost is the longest season from Pentecost Sunday until Advent.  Now the Season of Creation, five Sundays, helps to break up the period we spend in Pentecost. Where did this come from ?

Since the 1980’s, the Eastern Orthodox Church has designated this time each year to delve more deeply into our relationships with God and with one another in the context of the magnificent creation in which we live.   The Catholic Church also recognizes this season.  The Church of England, as well as the Anglicans in Australia and New Zealand observe this season as well.  Various churches across the United States also celebrate the Season of Creation. Bishop Shannon has blessed our observance, so that we at St Peter’s can join with Christians all over the world in this celebration.

The central focus of the month is on God–God as Creator.  In his letter to the Romans, right up front, Paul makes this statement.  “Ever since the creation of the world, God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things that God has made.”    We know a lot about God simply by paying attention to God’s creation.  And Jesus, who came that we might have life, and might have it more abundantly, used his own attention to and love of the natural world in his teachings and parables, to help the people around him find the abundant life that can become ours through him.  To be with Jesus through scripture and through the bread and wine is also to see and to know God the Creator of heaven and earth. 

When we Christians consider all the “works thy hands hath made,” as the old hymn “How Great Thou Art” puts it, how do our relationships with God, with creation, and with one another grow richer and deeper?  This question is also a focus of this five week Season of Creation. 

The goal in worship then is to deepen our understanding of God as Creator, to celebrate God’s role as Creator, and to examine and deepen and widen our own relationships with God, creation, and with one another.  With Bishop Shannon’s permission, we will be using scripture readings in this five week period that have been designed to help us to accomplish these goals. You can find out more about the readings in the article later in this newsletter, “The Readings for The Season of Creation.”    At the Eucharist, we will be using the Eucharistic Prayer “We Give Thanks” which highlights the role of God as Creator and Jesus dwelling in nature as one of us to bring us abundant life. 

My hope for this Season is that we can grow in our love of God as Creator, and also in our love of creation itself, and to consider why, as Christians, the natural world and our relationship with it matters deeply in the working out of our lives as the beloved children of God on this earth.  

Season of Creation Devotional for Sept. 27

“I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Exodus 17:6

From Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Anglican Church of Canada

As a settler Canadian, I am accustomed to the ready availability of fresh, clean water at any moment on any day. I have also lived in the Himalayas of India where the provision of water was unpredictable day to day, and what was available had to be boiled thoroughly first because it was not safe to drink.

Like the Israelites in the desert, I readily grumbled and complained when it was not available. This became a lesson for me in the dangers of the privileges that I had enjoyed and took for granted in Canada. I became acutely aware that the lack of water was a daily reality for millions of people – and that clean water was even more scarce. I also became aware of those who profit from the bottling and selling of a resource that is a necessity of life and a gift of the Creator.

The ongoing protection and sharing of clean water are part of our baptismal vocation to love neighbour as self and to “safeguard the integrity of God’s creation, and respect, sustain and renew the life of the earth.” Just as Moses followed God’s direction in order to offer water to the Israelites in the desert, we are called to partner with those protecting and sharing water. From joining the advocacy of Autumn Peltier, a young Indigenous water protector, to the relief efforts of the Red Cross to our daily habits to conserve and protect water in our community, we are called to share in the provision of God’s gift of water now and for future generations.

Creator of all, stir in us the passion to share the living water of the gospel as we also protect and share the waters of your creation to nourish all creatures. Amen.

Season of Creation – Special Articles 

We’re concentrating on both the Forests and the issue of Water, Weeks 3 and 4. “Click” on the tabs.

Misuse of God's Creation? Climate Change, Part 4 The Waters 

Focus on water in the Bible

1. Creation - Water is a primal force of creation . The Old Testament create story describes the earth as nothing but darkness but with the Spirit of God "hovering over the waters."

2. Cleansing -The story of Noah shows God cleansing the earth with a great flood. Water sometimes symbolizes the spiritual cleansing that comes with the acceptance of God's offer of salvation ( Ezek 36:25 ; Eph 5:26 ; Heb 10:22 ). In fact, in Ephesians 5:26, the "water" that does the cleansing of the bride, the church, is directly tied in with God's Word, of which it is a symbol. The story of Noah shows God cleansing the earth with a great flood. In John 4:10-15, part of Jesus' discourse with the Samaritan woman at the well, he speaks metaphorically of his salvation as "living water" and as "a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

3. Rebirth - Water is very present in Baptism. Baptism means immersion or bath in Greek. The immersion cleanses the person of sin and provides rebirth into Christian life. In both the Old and New Testaments, the word "water" is used for salvation and eternal life, which God offers humankind through faith in his Son ( Isa 12:3 ; 55:1 ; Rev 21:6 ; Revelation 22:1 Revelation 22:2 Revelation 22:17 ).

Nicodemus understood Jesus that one must have two births to enter the Kingdom of God - one's natural birth in which water plays a major role and the birth by the Spirit to be the supernatural birth of being "born again" or regenerated.

4. Troublesome times - The word "water" is used in a variety of metaphorical ways in Scripture. It is used to symbolize the troublesome times in life that can and do come to human beings, especially God's children ( Psalm 32:6 ; Psalms 69:1 Psalms 69:2 Psalms 69:14 Psalms 69:15 ; Isa 43:2 ; Lam 3:54 ). In some contexts water stands for enemies who can attack and need to be overcome ( 2 Sam 22:17-18 ; Psalm 18:16-17 ; 124:4-5 ; 144:7 ; Isa 8:7 ; Jer 47:2 ).

5. Water a symbol of the Holy Spirit - In a very important passage, Jesus identifies the "streams of living water" that flow from within those who believe in him with the Holy Spirit ( John 7:37-39 ). The reception of the Holy Spirit is clearly the special reception that was going to come after Jesus had been glorified at the Father's right hand and happened on the Day of Pentecost as described in Acts 2. Two times in Jeremiah Yahweh is metaphorically identified as "the spring of living water" ( Jer 2:13 ; 17:13 ). In both instances Israel is rebuked for having forsaken the Lord for other cisterns that could in no way satisfy their "thirst."

5 In other passages of Scripture, the following are said metaphorically to be "water": God's help ( Isa 8:6 : "the gently flowing waters of Shiloah" ); God's judgment ( Isa 28:17 : "water will overflow your hiding place" ); man's words ( Prov 18:4 : "The words of man's mouth are deep waters" ); man's purposes ( Prov 20:5 : "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters" ); an adulterous woman ( Prov 9:17 : "Stolen water is sweet" ); and a person's posterity ( Isa 48:1 : "Listen to this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel and have come forth out of the line [waters] of Judah" ).

The Effect of Climate Change on Water

1. Rising temperatures causes rise of sea levels though warming of water and melting of glaciers. There are two major reasons why sea levels have been rising: When water warms up, its volume increases. This is called thermal expansion. The melting of glaciers and of the polar ice caps adds huge amounts of freshwater to the oceans.

Due to warmer temperatures, mountain glaciers all over the world are receding. The dramatic worldwide shrinking of the glaciers is one of the most visible evidences of global warming. Glaciers act as a kind of global fever thermometer. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, lost one third of its ice within 12 years. About 82% of its icecap surveyed in 1912 is now gone. In the Alps, the glaciers lost about 1/3 of their area and half of their volume between 1850 and 1975. Since then much more has melted. Switzerland went so far as to cover one of its most rapidly melting glaciers to slow down the loss. In the United States, the glaciers in “Glacier National Park” are retreating so quickly it has been estimated that they will vanish entirely by the year 2030.  

Melting glaciers pose multiple dangers: Initially, the increasing amount of meltwater can have a positive effect for hydropower. At the same time, emerging glacial lakes have the potential of sudden drainage that could cause devastating floods. In the long term, severe water shortages can be expected when there will be no or only very little ice left to melt in the summer. The time frame for this to happen varies greatly depending on the geographic location; it may be a matter of just a few years, decades, or, in the case of the Himalayas, several centuries.

The rising of sea levels will result in land and habitat loss in many countries. Bangladesh may lose almost 20% of its land area. Hundreds of coastal communities, Small Island states in the Pacific and Indian oceans and the Caribbean would be inundated, forcing their population to relocate. Experts with the United Nations University estimate that rising sea levels and environmental deterioration have already displaced about 50 million people. The greatest cost of rising sea levels will not be measurable.

It is the inevitable disruption of communities and cultures that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

However, in the more distant future, that is later on this century and beyond, hundreds of millions of people will become displaced if sea levels will rise a few meters. Many important, historical cities around the world like Venice, New Orleans, and Amsterdam will be lost to the ocean. Many of the largest cities in the world will sooner or later share the same fate, including Shanghai, Manhattan, Alexandria, and Dhaka. Some 84 of the world's 100 fastest-growing cities face "extreme" risks from rising temperatures and extreme weather brought on by climate change.

Most worrisome is that the polar ice caps began melting as well. The accelerating speed of their melting even surprised scientists who predicted the thawing. From 1979 to 2005, Arctic sea ice has shrunk roughly 250 million acres an area the size of New York, Georgia, and Texas combined. Between 1953 and 2006, the area covered by sea ice in September shrunk by 7.8 percent per decade, more than three times as fast as the average rate simulated by climate models. It reached its lowest point on record in 2012. The extent of Arctic sea ice in 2019 was tied with 2007 and 2016 as the second lowest on record. The maximum extent, reached in March 2019, was tied with 2007 as the seventh lowest in the 40-year satellite record.

This decline is rapidly changing the geopolitics of the Arctic region, opening the Northwest Passage for the first time in recorded history and triggering a scramble among governments to claim large swaths of the potentially resource-rich Arctic sea floor.

Many now believe the summer Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2030, decades earlier than previously thought possible.” The Greenland ice sheet is also melting. It holds enough water to raise sea levels worldwide by 23 feet.

Why are the polar ice caps melting so fast? A major reason is the albedo (reflectivity) effect: Snow and ice are best reflectors of solar radiation. They reflect about 70% of the sun's radiation (and absorb 30%). Water on the other hand is a poor reflector. It reflects only 6% of the sun's radiation and absorbs most of the heat (94%). The intense thawing of ice and snow creates more water surfaces. The warming of the water contributes to the regional rise in temperature, which again causes more ice to melt. This ice - albedo feedback is believed to be the major reason why the Arctic is warming so rapidly. [xvi] In addition, the melt water from the surface penetrates into the depths of the ice sheets. The process lubricates the ice sheets and accelerates their movement towards the sea.

2. Water Scarcity has increased from both rise of demand and reduced availability from glaciers. The amount of freshwater is finite while demand is increasing. One billion people around the world don't have access to clean, safe water. In developing nations, waterborne illnesses like cholera, typhoid and malaria kill 5 million people each year -- 6,000 children every day. And global warming is exacerbating this crisis as severe, prolonged droughts dry up water supplies in arid regions and heavy rains cause sewage overflows.

People who fall ill from waterborne diseases can't work. Women and girls who travel hours, sometimes more than seven hours a day, to fetch clean water for their families can't go to school or hold on to a job. Without proper sanitation, human waste pollutes waterways and wildlife habitat. Global warming and population pressures are drying up water supplies and instigating conflict over scarce resources.

Water links and maintains all ecosystems on the planet. From sciencing.com: “The main function of water is to propel plant growth; provide a permanent dwelling for species that live within it, or provide a temporary home or breeding ground for multiple amphibians, insects and other water-birthed organisms; and to provide the nutrients and minerals necessary to sustain physical life.” It has its own cycle like carbon or phosphorus.

From sciencing.com: “Within humans, water helps to transport oxygen, minerals, nutrients and waste products to and from the cells. The digestive system needs water to function properly, and water lubricates the mucous layers in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.”

The most serious threat to water supply is the disappearance of glaciers which provide much needed melt water during the summer. More than one-sixth of the world's population will be affected.

Most of the planet’s water is unavailable for human use. While more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, only 2.5 percent of it is freshwater. Out of that freshwater, almost 70 percent is permanently frozen in the ice caps covering Antarctica and Greenland. Only about 1 percent of the freshwater on Earth is available for people to use for drinking, bathing, and irrigating crops.”

In many parts of the world, lakes are shrinking or disappearing and rivers are running dry. Lake Chad, for example, has shrunk by 95% since about 1960. This had disastrous consequences for the local population. The main causes are the diversion of water for irrigation and less rainfall because of climate change. Many large rivers like the Yellow River, the Colorado River or the Nile don't reach the ocean anymore.

The Himalayan region is predicted to be one of the areas hardest hit by climate change. In addition to the loss of water and hydroelectricity supply following glacial shrinkage, the Himalayas are expected to experience sudden and catastrophic flooding resulting from glacial lakes overwhelming their gravel moraine dams; decreased crop production resulting from erratic weather conditions; and the loss of numerous high altitude species unable to adapt to warmer conditions.

3. Water scarcity affects food supplies

We each drink on average nearly about 1 gallon of water per day in one form or another, while the water required to produce our daily food totals at least 528 gallons—500 times as much. This helps explain why 70 percent of all water use is for one purpose—irrigation.”

Aquifers are over-pumped in many countries. There are two types of aquifers: replenishable and nonreplenishable (or fossil) aquifers. Those in India and the shallow aquifer under the North China Plain are replenishable. When these are depleted, the maximum rate of pumping is automatically reduced to the rate of recharge.

For fossil aquifers, such as the vast U.S. Ogallala aquifer, the deep aquifer under the North China Plain, or the Saudi aquifer, depletion brings pumping to an end. Farmers who lose their irrigation water have the option of returning to lower-yield dry land farming if rainfall permits. In more arid regions, however, such as in the southwestern United States or the Middle East, the loss of irrigation water means the end of agriculture.

The U.S. embassy in Beijing reports that wheat farmers in some areas are now pumping from a depth of 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet). Pumping water from this far down raises pumping costs so high that farmers are often forced to abandon irrigation and return to less productive dry land farming.

Changes in precipitation patterns are observed in many parts of the world. The timing and amount of rain are very important for crops. Farmers need to adapt and learn how to do things differently, for example plant different seeds, or different crops, or plant them at a different time of the year.

Preserving Water- 6 things You Can Do

1 Installing an ENERGY STAR-certified washer,

2 Using low-flow faucets

3 Plugging up leaks,

4 Irrigating the lawn in the morning or evening when the cooler air causes less evaporation,

5 Taking shorter showers and not running sink water when brushing your teeth.

6 Consider using non-toxic cleaning products and eco-friendly pesticides and herbicides that won’t contaminate groundwater.

Misuse of God's Creation? Climate Change, Part 3 The Forests 

Last week we tended to look down on earth from high dealing with rising temperatures, the effect on glaciers and water scarcity. This week we look at ground level to consider deforestation and next week the effect on the seas


Forests play a vital role in maintaining the balance of the Earth's ecosystems. They provide habitat for more than half of all terrestrial species, help filter pollutants out of the air and water, and prevent soil erosion. Rainforests also provide essential hydrological (water-related) services. For example, they tend to result in higher dry season streamflow and river levels, since forests slow down the rate of water or rain run-off, and help it enter into the aquifer.

Without a tree cover, the water tends to run off quickly into the streams and rivers, often taking a lot of topsoil with it. Forests also help the regional climate as they cycle water to the interior of a continent. The shrinking of the Amazon Rainforest reduces regional rainfall, which in turn threatens the health of the remaining forest and of the agricultural land in Southern Brazil. This also results in an increased fire risk.

Forests and their soils also play a critical role in the global carbon cycle. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere depends on the distribution or exchange of carbon between different “carbon pools” as part of the carbon cycle. Forests and their soils are major carbon pools, as are oceans, agricultural soils, other vegetation, and wood products: the carbon stored in the woody part of trees and shrubs (known as “biomass”) and soils is about 50% more than that stored in the atmosphere.

Trees continuously exchange CO2 with the atmosphere. The release of CO2 into the air is due both to natural processes (respiration of trees at night and the decomposition of organic matter) and human processes (removal or destruction of trees). Similarly, CO2 is removed from the atmosphere by the action of photosynthesis, which results in carbon being integrated into the organic molecules used by plants, including the woody biomass of trees. Thus forests play a major role in regulating global temperatures by absorbing heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and storing it in the form of wood and vegetation – a process referred to as “carbon sequestration”.

Unfortunately, the global benefits provided by trees are being threatened by deforestation and forest degradation. ‘Deforestation’ as a shorthand for tree loss. Forest ‘degradation’ happens when the forest gets degraded, for example due to unsustainable logging practices which remove the most valuable species, or artesanal charcoal production in which only a few trees are harvested. The Earth loses more than 18 million acres of forestland every year—an area larger than Ireland—according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  

Deforestation is a major cause of global warming. When trees are burned, their stored carbon is released back into the atmosphere. As a result, tropical deforestation (including forest degradation) is responsible for about 12-15 percent of total annual global warming emissions according to estimates released for the climate change meeting in Copenhagen.

Read more ...

The Western Forest Fires and Climate Change

Fires are burning across at least ten states in the western US, but the greatest conflagrations are across California and Oregon. California's wildfires, driven by extreme blazes in August and September, have already burned more acres than any year on record. More than 3.5 million acres have burned in California, with over 2,500 more fires than at the same point in 2019. Oregon fires have burned more than 1 million acres.

The causes are linked in part to unique factors in 2020 that are not related to climate change. Meteorologists suggest a ridge of air over the Pacific Northwest, perhaps related to the cooling of Pacific waters under current La Niña conditions, is the likely culprit. Fire season usually ends around October, when autumn rains eliminate the threat. But this year in Southern California, those rains have not arrived

However, climate change is also a part of it. Observed warming and drying, lack of rain fall have significantly increased fire-season fuel aridity, fostering a more favorable fire environment across forested systems. The drought has gone on since 2012.

There has been an increase in drier air. Coupled with strong, warm winds, the fire risk was extreme. Warmer air over the high desert of Utah and Nevada has lower relative humidity and will become drier still as it descends into California. Drier air leads to more desiccation and greater fire risk.

Many climate change forecasts suggest that there will be less rain in Southern California in the fall in the future, and more rain in December and January. That means fires could continue later into the fall, greatly extending the fire risk season.

The Climate Council, an independent, community funded climate organization, suggests fire conditions are now more dangerous than they were in the past, with longer bushfire seasons, drought, drier fuels and soils, and record-breaking heat in Australia.

The gradual warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases makes fires more likely across the planet, as warmer air dries the soil and vegetation more, allowing it to ignite more readily. California is no exception: average annual temperatures in the state have increased by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, and the Central Valley and Southern California have warmed even more.

Increased forest fire activity across the western United States in recent decades has contributed to widespread forest mortality, carbon emissions, periods of degraded air quality, and substantial fire suppression expenditures

Climate Change -Spiritual Reflections on Nature and Humankind

The issue of Climate Change that has enveloped over the last generation has involved both religion and science. It is closely related to the Season of Creation due to need to take action on climate change that imperils God's creation.

Science and religion are tools to investigate reality from two different angles. Each discipline asks a fundamentally different question.

Science asks: how does the universe work?

Religion asks: why is there a universe and what is its purpose, and what is our purpose of existence as human beings?

Now, as the Earth is affected by climate change and other environmental problems we need science to learn more about the causes, effects, and solutions to these problems.

So what's the role of religion? While scientists can tell us what needs to be done, they are usually not able to motivate society to implement these solutions. That's where we need religion. Religion provides us with the spiritual understanding of our responsibility towards the Earth and towards other human beings including future generations. In other words, religion provides an ethical or moral framework. And it motivates us to act!

The concern of the environment is an interfaith issue and not just Christian. All faiths have talked about it.

The issue in the Bible goes right back to the early Israelites

A major theme of Deuteronomy is that God’s covenantal gift of the land came with a warning: the Israelites were not to forget God’s commandments; if they did, they would lose the land. Here is Deuteronomy 8 “... the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with/lowing streams, 'with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing. Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes”

As with any gift, the need to preserve it was crucial. They couldn’t do well unless they maintained the land. The soil was thin and easily eroded. The rain was sparse and came in the winter, the wrong time of year. They were a partner with the Lord

More specifics came from Exodus and Leviticus the land was to be allowed to rest, to lie fallow one year in seven; second, crops growing at the edges of the field were not to be harvested, but left for the poor, those who had no land. The covenant was not only between Jew and God but Jew, God and Land.

In Jeremiah, every family was allocated a farm in the promised land Over time the Israelites abused God’s hospitality by living in ways that were unjust, ways contrary to Torah, ways that desecrated the land. Time and again God offered to forgive the people if they would only repent and live faithfully. But they refused, and so God’s commitment to the land required that the Israelites be exiled. But exile was not the end of the covenant. It was intended to be a sabbatical to reconsecrate the land and people, a time of fallowing for land and people. The birth of Jesus was an end to the era of exile which began with the takeover of the temple 500 years earlier.

The Israelites and us all live in fragile land. Our collective impact on the global environmental system has increased since the Industrial Revolution, and we now find ourselves in a situation much like that of the Israelites. To continue to flourish, we need a sabbatical to understand as impact and judge what we can do to reconstitute our relationship to the environment. We are bringing back the kingdom by understanding how everything is connected with everything else. There is a balance which is getting out of balance.

The sun is the source of all life and of all energy. It provides the temperature necessary for the existence of life. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen with the help of sunlight. That's called photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants transform atmospheric carbon into organic compounds, especially glucose (sugars). That glucose is used in various forms by every creature on the planet for energy and growth.

Also important is keeping trapping some of this energy warming the planet and enabling man to survive. Atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide are called greenhouse gases because they act similar to the glass in a greenhouse by trapping heat.

Since the industrial revolution, greenhouse gases have sharply increased upsetting the previously long-lasting balance. The increase comes mainly from emissions from power plants, cars, airplanes, from deforestation and industrial activities. In a very short period of time, human beings have used huge quantities of stored solar energy (fossil fuels) thereby releasing unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere the warmer our planet becomes. This has warmer climates particular in southern areas and has eliminated a percentage of glacial coverage. The balance is upset and we are likely to pay the price.

Misuse of God's Creation? Climate Change: The Evidence 

Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska 1894 and 2008.


Climate change” ( a preferred term over global warming) refers to any significant change in measures of climate (temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or more). It may result from:

  • Natural factors, such as changes in the sun's intensity or slow changes in the Earth's orbit around the sun
  • Natural processes within the climate system, such as changes in the ocean and its circulation
  • Human activities which change the composition of the atmosphere (such as burning fossil fuels) and the land (such as deforestation, urbanization, desertification). 

“Global warming” refers to an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface, contributing to changes in global climate patterns. Most people use the phrase to refer to increased emissions of "greenhouse gases 

Atmospheric gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide are called greenhouse gases because they act similar to the glass in a greenhouse by trapping heat.  

The greenhouse gases are transparent to most incoming radiation from the sun, which passes through the atmosphere and hits the Earth. The Earth is warmed by this radiation, and in response radiates infrared  energy back into space. That is where greenhouse gases come into play. These atmospheric gases absorb some of the outgoing infrared radiation, trapping the heat energy in the atmosphere and thereby warming the Earth.”  Life on Earth is only possible because of this greenhouse effect. It has kept the Earth’s average surface temperature stabilized at around 13.5°C (56.3°F) for a long time. The more greenhouse gases there are in the atmosphere the warmer our planet becomes. 

"Greenhouse gases" have been produced over the last 200 years. Burning fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide. Farming practices and land use changes produce methane and nitrous oxide. Trees remove carbon dioxide, replacing it with oxygen; deforestation lessens this effect in the atmosphere. As a result, greenhouse gases have risen significantly. They prevent heat from escaping to space, similar to glass panels of a greenhouse. 


  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2)is emitted primarily by burning fossil fuels and by the clearing of forests. CO2remains in our atmosphere for many decades and some of it for many centuries and longer.
  • Methane (CH4)is emitted from landfills, coalmines, oil and gas operations, beef production and rice paddies. Methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas. It stays in the atmosphere for about 12 years. Measured over a period of 20 years, methane is 86 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2, and over 100 years it is about 30 times as powerful. 
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)is emitted by nitrogen based fertilizers and industrial activities. It stays in the atmosphere on average for 114 years.
  • Fluorocarbons Chemical engineers have designed these gases specifically to trap heat. That’s why they are very powerful greenhouse gases. These chemicals are used mainly “in refrigeration and air conditioning, but also as solvents, as blowing agents in foams, as aerosols or propellants, and in fire extinguishers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change calculated that the cumulative buildup of these gases in the atmosphere was responsible for at least 17% of global warming due to human activities in 2005

Past cycles

Could these be natural cycles ? There have been natural cycles of warming and cooling

The last ice age was more than 10,000 years ago.  The main factors were slight variations in the earth’s rotation, namely the cyclical changes in the tilt of the Earth’s axis of spin and the shape of the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Solar variation and volcanic eruptions played a minor role as well.

Temperatures affected COlevels due to feedback mechanisms. In turn COhad an effect on temperature by augmenting the warming or cooling trend. In other words: Without the atmospheric CO2, the changes in temperatures would have been much smaller.

“The atmospheric concentrations of COconsistently fluctuated between 200 parts per million (ppm) during the ice ages and 280 ppm during the warm intervals. This shift from ice age to warm period occurred many times and always within thiCOrange. When the Industrial Revolution began, the atmospheric COlevel was roughly 280 ppm.” 

On the graph we can see that COnever went above 300ppm. In 2014, atmospheric COconcentrations reached an extraordinary 400ppm! From this and other studies we know that 400ppm “is not only far above any level over the last 740,000 years, it may be nearing a level not seen for 55 million year

The situation today is very different from the past’s natural cycles. In a very short period of time, human beings have burnt huge quantities of stored solar energy (fossil fuels), thereby releasing unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. That’s why greenhouse gas concentrations have been so rapidly rising.

The global warming we have already experienced and the many changes in climate all over the world can only be explained by these tremendous increases in greenhouse gases. They cannot be explained by any natural cycle or changes in solar activity or volcanic eruptions. Today, human activities have a stronger impact on climate than natural occurrences: “We have so much COin the atmosphere that its huge radiative forcing overwhelms the changes associated with orbital forcing. No ice age could start at this point!

Read more about climate change...

Not sure about Climate Change ? 

Read the article in "Skeptical Science"

Give Online Make a Gift Today! Help our ministries make a difference during the Pandemic

1. Newcomers – Welcome Page

2. Contact the Rev Catherine Hicks, Rector

3. St. Peter’s Sunday News

4. Server Schedule September 2020

5. Latest Newsletter-the Parish Post (September, 2020)

6. Calendar

7. Parish Ministries

8. This past Sunday

9. Bulletins and Sermon
A. Holy Eucharist Sunday Bulletin (Sept. 20, 2020 10:00am)

B. Evening Prayer Sunday Bulletin (Sept. 20, 2020 7:00pm),

Sermon Sermon (Sept. 20, 2020)

10. Recent Services: 

Pentecost 13, August 30, 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 13, August 30, 2020

Pentecost 14, Sept. 6, 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 14, Sept. 6, 2020

Pentecost 15, Sept. 13, 2020 Readings and Prayers, Pentecost 15, Sept. 13 2020

Mike Newmans Block print of St. Peter's

Block Print by Mike Newman


1. Tree Fund

A new “Tree Fund” – to maintain our investment in trees. Read the article and consider a gift.

2. The Pavilion

The pavilion being constructed in memory of John R. Sellers, Sr., is almost complete. If you would like to make a donation in John’s memory to help cover the cost, write a check to St Peter’s, and write Pavilion/John Sellers on the memo line.

Colors for Year A, 2019-20


Daily “Day by Day”

3-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.

Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.

Follow the Star

Daily meditations in words and music.

Sacred Space

Your daily prayer online, since 1999

“We invite you to make a ‘Sacred Space’ in your day, praying here and now, as you visit our website, with the help of scripture chosen every day and on-screen guidance.”

Daily C. S. Lewis thoughts

Saints of the Week,  – Sept. 20 – Sept. 27, 2020

John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Philander Chase, Bishop, 1852
[Thecla of Iconium], Proto-Martyr among Women, c.70
[Anna Ellison Butler Alexander], Deaconness, 1947
Sergius, Abbot, 1392
Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop, 1626
Wilson Carlile, Priest, 1942
[Euphrosyne/Smaragdus of Alexandria], Monastic, 5th c.
Thomas Traherne, Priest, 1674