Thursday, October 25, 2007
The Season of Creation
In response to the many inquiries I have had, I present to you a few pictures of the vestments, altar hangings and vestments of The Season of Creation at The Episcopal Church of St. Paul's Church in Chatham, NJ.
The Season of Creation was inaugurated at the Church of the Redeemer in Morristown, NJ by the rector, the Rev'd Phillip Dana Wilson, more than a decade and a half ago.
The then rector of St. Paul's Chaham, the Rev'd Skip Vilas, a devote theologian of and political activist for Environmental Justice was taken by the work of Rev'd Wilson, and expanded this liturgical theology with a special lectionary and hymnody designed to call our attention to the gift (as opposed to our domination) of creation.
The Season of Creation also gives us the opportunity to call our attention to the ways in which we have not been good stewards of creation and the ways in which we can work to repair the damage done to Gaia, Mother Earth.
We have modified the original work of Wilson and Vilas, making the season more Trinitarian in nature while continuing to use the opportunity to call us to be better stewards of God's creation.
This is the frontal of the altar at St. Paul's, which depicts "this fragile earth, our island home."
Here are the burse and the veil on the altar, which depicts the sun and the planet Saturn.
Here is one of twelve banners which tell the biblical story of Creation as told to us in Genesis. These banners hang in the bays of the church. This one is of the creation of Adam and Eve.
Here is the Creation of The Animals.
The hangings at the pulpit (shown here) and lectern tell the story of St. Francis and the Wolf.
This is the Chasuble. Jesus says, " I am the Vine and you are the branches." And asks us to "bear much fruit."
The Stole depicts the seed of life and the embryonic development of the Frog, one of the symbols of resurrection and transformation of our life in Christ, Jesus.
The Season of Creation begins the first Sunday after the Feast of St. Francis and runs through the Feast of Christ the King.
Each week, the children bring forth an element of creation, which is placed on the high altar, along with the Bread and Wine, the Money and Pledges, the Prayer Shawls and the food for the Interfaith Food Pantry.
Last week, Melissa Brandis, our director of Church School, made a Planetarium out of black plastic bags which she constructed in our Parish Hall. She had the children enter into it and they had great fun identifying and celebrating the major constellations of the planets and stars.
Adults were invited into the Planetarium at Coffee Hour, once they agreed to (1) put aside their coffee (2) remove their shoes and (3) be on their best behavior once inside the Planetarium.
We have found that running our Stewardship Season concurrent with the Season of Creation gives a relevant and meaningful context for our conversations about Stewardship.
The vestments, altar hangings and banners were the original design and creation of Colleen Hintz, founder of Fruit of the Vine Vestments and member of Church of the Redeemer, Morristown, who also created the vestments for the Tridium and Rose Sunday.
You can find many wonderful interfaith liturgical helps to celebrate The Season of Creation here or at Greenfaith, an organization which was originally funded by a grant from St. Paul's, Chatham.