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The Episcopal Ecological Network (EpEN)

Caring for God's Creation: Called to be Stewards
part of the Episcopal Church, USA

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Additional Prayers Honoring God in Creation

In 2012, the Standing Commission of Liturgy and Music (SCLM) of The Episcopal Church, following instructions from the 76th General Convention (Resolution 2009-C034), proposed a resolution (2012-A053) containing a series of prayers and liturgies entitled "Propers for the Honoring of God in Creation" at the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. The House of Bishops rejected the proposed resolution and referred the prayers back to the SCLM for "perfection."

The materials below are additional prayers and liturgies which were submitted for consideration.

Additional Prayers Honoring of God in Creation

A Confession of Sin against God’s Creation

The Deacon or Presider may introduce the Confession with these words

Let us confess our sin against God and God’s creation.

Silence may be kept.

Minister and People
Holy and merciful God,
we confess that we have failed to honor you
by rightly claiming our kinship with all your creatures.
We have walked heavily on your earth,
overused and wasted its resources,
taken for granted its beauty and abundance,
and treated its inhabitants unjustly,
holding future generations hostage to our greed.
Have mercy on us and forgive us our sin.
Renew in us the resolve to tend and keep your earth
as you desire and intend,
with grateful and compassionate hearts,
through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

or this

Merciful and sustaining God,
we have sinned against you.
We confess our lack of gratitude
for the beauty and bounty of your creation:
teach us to see that your earth sustains us and all that lives.
We confess that we have misused your earth:
grant us amendment of life.
We confess that we have been intemperate in our appetites:
strengthen us in self-control.
We confess that we have taken the abundance of your world for granted:
make us urgent now for its protection.
Forgive and renew us now through our Savior Jesus Christ,
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
with whom you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

or this

God of compassion, have mercy upon us.
Bring healing to our relationship with all your creation.
Forgive us for our mistreatment and neglect
of the creatures with whom we share your earth:
for what we have done to harm them,
and for what we have not done to help them.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
We ask you to fill us with your Spirit,
that we may care for one another and for all your creatures,
according to your will and in the fullness of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Litany for the Planet

The Deacon or other Leader may select apt portions of this litany, and add local examples to any category, as well as special concerns and occasions for prayer where appropriate.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

On your earth, as it changes,
Creator, have mercy.

On the soil, that it may be built up and be fruitful,
Creator, have mercy.

On the minerals below ground that nourish life,
Creator, have mercy.

On your volcanoes and lava flows,
Creator, have mercy.

On your hills and great mountains, on your valleys, cliffs, and caves,
Creator, have mercy.

On your deserts and their hardy creatures,
Creator, have mercy.

* * *

On your waters, that they may be clean and sustain a diverse community of life,
Creator, have mercy.

On your coral reefs, on the animals, plants, and fish that inhabit them,
Creator, have mercy.

On your deeps and their creatures, on the open seas and all that travel them,
Creator, have mercy.

On your rivers, that they may flow unpolluted, bringing water to thirsty land,
Creator, have mercy.

On your lakes and streams, that their right balance may sustain plants and animals,
Creator, have mercy.

On your vernal ponds and marshes, cradles of life,
Creator, have mercy.

On your wetlands and estuaries, on shingles and beaches,
Creator, have mercy.

On your islands and atolls, on your oases and all outposts of life in harsh places,
Creator, have mercy.

On your glaciers and ice fields, holding the water of life,
Creator, have mercy.

On your storms, floods, and tempests, and all fearful forces for change,
Creator, have mercy.

On your clement rains that cause the plants to sprout and grow,
Creator, have mercy.

On your snow and hail, sleet and winter cold, and all that waits dormant for spring,
Creator, have mercy.

On your mists and fog that water the ground,
Creator, have mercy.

* * *

On the atmosphere of your planet earth, that it may sustain all that breathes,
Creator, have mercy.

On your winds that carry seeds and spores, that warm and cool, that moisten and dry,
Creator, have mercy.

On your lightning and fire that cleanse and destroy, and on all in their path,
Creator, have mercy.

* * *

On eukaryotes and prokaryotes, archaea1 and viruses; on microbes of endless variety, the complex and the simple,
Creator, have mercy.

On your reptiles and amphibians, on ______ and ______ [local examples],
Creator, have mercy.

On your four-legged creatures, on ______ and ______ [local examples],
Creator, have mercy.

On your two legged and winged creatures, on ______ and ______ [local examples],
Creator, have mercy.

On your many-legged creatures, on your insects, on ______ and ______ [local examples],
Creator, have mercy.

* * *

On your forests of many kinds, on your trees and shrubs and vines,
Creator, have mercy.

On your grasslands and plains, on your tundras and their plants,
Creator, have mercy.

On your ferns and your fungi, on the spore-bearing plants and the seed-bearing plants,
Creator, have mercy.

On all the ecosystems of your earth and their intricate communities,
Creator, have mercy.

On your mysterious creatures and places unknown to humankind,
Creator, have mercy.

On the human family across the globe, that we may know our kinship with all creation,
Creator, have mercy.

* * *

For the city/town
On all who live in this cityand this neighborhood,
Creator, have mercy.

On those who work around us, whose labor builds up the world, on ______ and ______ [local work examples], Creator, have mercy.
On the businesses and industries of this city, on ______ and ______ [local examples],
Creator, have mercy.

On the plants and animals of the urban ecosystem, on ______ and ______ [local examples],
Creator, have mercy.

On the parks and green spaces of this cityand those who maintain them,
Creator, have mercy.

On those who produce food and energy for this city’s people,
Creator, have mercy.

On schools and places of learning, on all who care for and teach children and adults,
Creator, have mercy.

On the poor and homeless residents of this city,
Creator, have mercy.

On visitors and immigrants, on all who offer welcome and shelter here,
Creator, have mercy.

On all places of reverence and prayer, on all who honor you and all who do not know you,
Creator, have mercy.

On our ancestors and those who will come after us, and on all your people,
Creator, have mercy.

On all creation returning praise to you,
Creator, have mercy.


* * *


In time of widespread disease
On all those stricken with ______, and all who are ill of any disease,
Creator, have mercy.

On those who care for loved ones who are ill,
Creator, have mercy.

On doctors and nurses and all who render help and lend skill,
Creator, have mercy.

On scientists and researchers, that there may be treatments and cures,
Creator, have mercy.

On all working for public health, safety, and well-being,
Creator, have mercy.

On all who are fearful, on those who are alone and in need,
Creator, have mercy.

On those who are dying and those who have died, and on all who mourn,
Creator, have mercy.

1 Eukaryotes (yu-kar-ee-ohts): any organism having as its fundamental structural unit a cell type that contains specialized organelles in the cytoplasm, a membrane-bound nucleus enclosing genetic material organized into chromosomes, and an elaborate system of division by mitosis or meiosis, characteristic of all life forms except bacteria, blue-green algae, and other primitive microorganisms.

Prokaryotes (proh-kar-ee-ohts): any cellular organism that has no nuclear membrane, no organelles in the cytoplasm except ribosomes, and has its genetic material in the form of single continuous strands forming coils or loops, characteristic of all organisms in the kingdom Monera, as the bacteria and blue-green algae.

Archaea (ahr-kay-ah): any of the unicellular microorganisms that are genetically distinct from bacteria and eukaryotes, and are often found inhabiting extreme environmental conditions (caves, undersea vents, great ocean deeps, etc. Archaea (or archaebacteria) evolved separately from eubacteria and eukaryotes. They are similar to eukaryotes in possessing genes and metabolic pathways. They are considered to be living fossils and survivors of an ancient group of organisms that bridged the gap in evolution between eubacteria and eukaryotes.

(Definitions from Dictionary.com and biology.com)

A Rogation Day Procession and Liturgy

Rogation Days are traditionally observed on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day. They may, however, be observed on other days, depending on local conditions and the convenience of the congregation. In ancient times, the observance consisted of an outdoor procession that culminated in a special celebration of the Eucharist. Prayers might be offered for the city, the neighborhood, all who labor, the fruitfulness of the land and waters, and for deliverance in time of war, disaster, or epidemic disease. The term from which this observance is drawn is the Latin rogare, meaning “to ask.”

Stations suitable for the procession may be selected, adapted, and ordered according to local circumstances.

The Rogation Procession

The congregation gathers at a convenient place and may sing a hymn. During the movement from place to place, to preserve the solemnity of the procession, it is desirable for the people to refrain from conversation and to join in hymns, litanies said or sung, bells, instrumental music, or silence. At the stations the Presider may cense or sprinkle the place.

Suitable litanies include Psalm 103 with the refrain “Bless the Lord, O my soul”; Psalm 104 with the refrain “Hallelujah!”; the Venite (Psalm 95:1-7); Canticle D, A Song of the Wilderness (Isaiah 35:1-7, 10); and Canticle O, A Song of the Heavenly City (Revelation 21:22-26, 22:1-4). The Great Litany might be used. Several of these may be found in contemporary language in Enriching Our Worship 1. The Presider may assign lay people to read the prayers.

Presider Blessed be the one,holy, and living God
People Glory to God for ever and ever.
Presider Almighty God,Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve for the good of all creatures the harvests of the land and of the seas, that those who receive good things from your hand may always give you thanks and praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.
Deacon Let us go forth in peace.
People In the name of Christ. Amen

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: At a place of work

Reading: Romans 8:18-25 or Ecclesiasticus 38:27-32a

Presider Let us pray.
Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your people where they work. Make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your will, and bring all workers satisfaction in what they do and a just return for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: At a garden or park

Reading: Mark 4:26-32

Presider Let us pray.
Gracious God, we give you thanks for the fruitfulness of the earth that nourishes our life and the life of all your creatures. Bless those who work in fields and gardens. Send them seasonable and temperate weather, and grant that the fruits of the earth may be shared justly with all having need of them; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: At agricultural land or a farmer’s market

Reading: 2 Corinthians 9:8-12 or John 4:35-38

Presider Let us pray.
Holy God, we thank you for the land and its soil, and all those who bring forth food and necessities of life from it. Send an abundant harvest to the farmers and ranchers of the world, and make all your people just, loving, and generous in their life together and mindful of the needs of your poor, after the example of Jesus Christ, the true Bread.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: For scientists, explorers, teachers, and learners

Reading: Canticle 12: A Song of Creation Benedicite omnia opera Domini
The Book of Common Prayer, pages 88-90, or
Enriching Our Worship 1, page 25
The Benedicite may be said or sung.

Presider Let us pray.
Almighty and everlasting God, you made the universe with its marvelous order and chaos, its atoms, worlds, and galaxies, and the infinite complexity of living creatures. We give you thanks for all who increase knowledge of and wonder at your works. Grant that as we explore the mysteries of your creation, we may come to know you more truly and serve you more humbly; in the name of Jesus Christ our Risen Savior.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: At a place of food service

Reading: Mark 6:35-44

Presider Let us pray.
Merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence, and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen
.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: For waters and those whose work depends on them

Reading: Isaiah 41:17-20

Presider Let us pray.
God, whose Spirit moved over the deep at its creation, and whose Son Jesus entered the waters of baptism and hallowed them for ever: We thank you for the gift of water—the waters on the surface of the earth, the waters beneath the ground, the water in our atmosphere, and the water in our bodies—and for all that dwells in the waters. Make us mindful of the care of all the planet’s waters, that they may richly sustain life for us and for those who will come after us; through Jesus Christ, who is the source of living water.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: At a memorial garden or cemetery

Reading: Job 14:1-14 or Matthew 27:57-61, 28:1-8

Presider Let us pray.
Blessed God, because of your faithful love we do not perish for ever, for your mercies never end but are new every morning. Bring all your beloved ones who have died into the joy of your eternal presence [especially______]. Renew the face of the ground by your life-giving Spirit, and, for your tender mercy’s sake, bring healing and hope to all that lives; through your child, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: For the air, winds, and all that flies

Reading: Genesis 1:1-2, 14-23 or Ezekiel 37:9-10

Presider Let us pray.
Creator God, who divided heaven from earth by a firmament so that living things might flourish by your word and holy breath: We give thanks for the atmosphere and its cycles of renewal by plants and animals of the planet. Teach us to cherish the air we breathe as your gift to all life, worthy to be kept clean and healthful for the good of all. We pray in the name of Jesus, whom even the winds and seas obeyed.
Amen
.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: For those working at a place of government

Reading: Psalm 67:1-5 or Isaiah 32:1-8

Presider Let us pray.
God our governor, we pray for all those who labor to govern the people of this and every land. Send upon them the spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice, and give them steadfast purpose to serve the commonweal of all your earth. This we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: For a place of healing

Reading: Matthew 8:14-15

Presider Let us pray.
Merciful God, whose Son Jesus healed many who were sick as a sign of your reign come near: We commend to your care all who suffer, and those who care for them. By your grace lend skill to health and veterinary workers here and everywhere, and bring comfort to those in need, that all may know your power and goodness and rise up to serve you, in the strength of your Holy Spirit.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: For military workers

Reading: Psalm 59:1-3, 18-20

Presider Let us pray.
God our strength and shield: Protect and defend all in military service who do not count the cost to themselves as they labor for others. Grant that peace may increase and warfare and violence come to an end, and let your people dwell in harmony with each other and with all creation; through our Savior Jesus Christ, who said, “My peace I leave with you,” and by your Holy Spirit, in whom our hearts dwell in your peace.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: For public safety workers

Reading: Isaiah 21:6-8 or Psalm 121

Presider Let us pray.
God our rock and our refuge: Guard and bless all those who work to keep our community healthy and safe. Lend those who rise up by night or by day at our urgent call courage, vigilance, and skill, and grant that they may always find your arm mighty to save; through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: At a place where trash, compost, or recycling is handled

Reading: Luke 13:6-9

Presider Let us pray.
Redeeming God: Bless this place, that it may be to us a sign of your will and power to renew your creation and of our calling to work in concert with you for the care of the earth. Strengthen us as ministers of your new creation in all places and at all times; by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, who working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. Amen.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

Station: At a place of worship

Reading: Luke 2:41-49 or Acts 2:41-47

Presider Let us pray.
Holy God, you give your people a longing to seek after you and to know you, and an appreciation for the mysteries of creation. You stir up reverent curiosity among people of many faiths, and even in the minds of unbelievers. May your many names be blessed wherever people see you present, and may all come to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with you. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior.
Amen
.

A hymn, litany, or silence for the procession follows.

The procession returns to the Church, where a celebration of the Holy Eucharist may follow.

If the Eucharist is not to follow, the service may end with one of the following collects, a passing of the Peace, and a blessing and dismissal.

If a celebration of the Eucharist is to follow on a day other than Sunday, one of these collects may be used as a Collect of the Day, or as a Collect at the Prayers.

Collect of the Day

O God from whom all good proceeds:
You established your covenant with all creation,
and called it to be just, free, and fruitful according to your will.
Guide all your people by your wisdom
to walk upon the earth in righteousness and peace,
and to honor you in our kinship with all your creatures;
through our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ,
who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, to the ages of ages. Amen.

or this

O heavenly Father, you have filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to recognize your gracious hand in all your works,
that, rejoicing in your whole creation,
we may learn to serve you with gladness;
for the sake of the One through whom all things were made,
Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

or this

Creator, we give you thanks for all you are
and all you bring to us for our visit within your creation.
In Jesus, you place the gospel in the center of this Sacred Circle
through which all of creation is related.
You show us the way to live a generous and compassionate life.
Give us your strength to live together with respect and commitment
as we grow in your Spirit, for you are God, now and forever. Amen.
(source: Native American/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Liturgies, prepared for the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, July 2009, Anaheim, California)

or this

Collect 19: For Rogation Days (The Book of Common Prayer, pages 258, 207)

At the Eucharist

The Readings for the Eucharist may be those of the day if on a Sunday, or a selection from the Propers for Rogation Days in The Book of Common Prayer, page 930. Or the following Readings may be used.

Ezekiel 34:25-31 or Deuteronomy 11:10-15
Psalm 107:1-9
1 Corinthians 3:10-14
Matthew 6:19-24 or Mark 4:26-32

The threefold blessing for the Easter Season in The Book of Occasional Services may be used.

A Proper Preface for Rogation Day
Because in the mystery of Christ’s incarnation you have gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, calling your people to be ministers of his reconciliation and to go into all the world and proclaim the Good News to the whole creation.

Prayers for Rogation Day: A Rite for the Blessing of a Garden and All Who Labor

Presider Blessed be the God of all creation:
People

For in your goodness you make all things new.

Presider The Lord be with you.
People And also with you
Presider Let us pray.
Gracious God, you open wide your hand and give of your goodness to all things living: Renew the face of the earth and increase the sustainable harvests of the world, that the land may bring forth enough for all, and your people may share justly and give honor to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

The Presider or other appointed leaders from the congregation may then lead the People in prayer, using one or more of the following collects, as appropriate.

Lover of all you have made: Protect and sustain the creatures of our local habitat. Increase their well-being and watch over them with love, and give us wisdom to honor our kinship with them; through Jesus Christ, who has made of one blood those who are near and those who are far. Amen.

God, whose Spirit moved over the deep: Bless the waters on the ground and under the ground, the seas, and the mists that provide moisture for all growing things. We thank you for the gift of water; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Lord God, you alone provide seed for the sower and bread for the eater, and have taught us to ask our daily bread from you: Bless the sowing of the seed this year, strengthen the hands of the garden workers, and grant fertility to the soil that receives the seed. Accept the labors of your servants for the nourishment and well-being of your people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Holy God, you have blessed our plowing and preparing of the ground: Protect what we plant in your name, and grant that working late and early, we and others may enjoy a fruitful harvest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God of all, we pray for all the workers on the earth: for those who work in mill or mine; for those by whose labor we are clothed and fed; for those who work in the depths of the earth; for those who trade in mall or market; and for those who go down to the sea in ships and ply their trade in deep waters and along the coasts. May all our work be service, and all our goods be holy to you; and may we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with you; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Presider then says

Blessed One:
We ask you to hallow this garden, this compost, and these seeds,
and ask that wherever it is spread and they are planted,
you will add your blessing and protection.
Support and make fruitful what we grow;
strengthen and uphold all those who work to tend your creation;
nourish in mind, body, and soul those who are fed by this crop;
that our care for your earth may give witness to your love and justice;
in the name of the Creator, Word, and Spirit. Amen.

The Deacon or Presider may dismiss the People with these words

Deacon Let us bless the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.
 

A Liturgy in Thanksgiving for Creation and in Honor of the Feast of St. Francis, with the Blessing of Animals

An entrance hymn may be sung

Presider Blessed be the God of all creation.
People And blessed be God’s holy Name for ever and ever.

or this

Presider Blessed be God,Creator, Word and Spirit;
People Who brings all things into being and calls them good.
Presider Bless your Creator, all animals of the land.
People Let us praise and exalt our Creator together.
Presider Bless your Creator, all birds of the air.
People Let us praise and exalt our Creator together.
Presider Bless your Creator, all creatures of the sea.
People Let us praise and exalt our Creator together.
Presider Bless your Creator, all children of God.
People Let us praise and exalt our Creator together.

 

Presider The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Presider Let us pray.
Most high, omnipotent, good Lord: Grant your people grace torenounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfect joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen
.

The Readings

First Reading: Psalm 104:10-25

You, Lord God, send the springs into the valleys; *
they flow between the mountains.
All the beasts of the field drink their fill from them, *
and the wild asses quench their thirst.
Beside them the birds of the air make their nests *
and sing among the branches.
You water the mountains from your dwelling on high; *
the earth is fully satisfied by the fruit of your works.
You make grass grow for flocks and herds *
and plants to serve humankind;
That they may bring forth food from the earth, *
and wine to gladden our hearts,
Oil to make a cheerful countenance, *
and bread to strengthen the heart.
The trees of the Lordare full of sap, *
the cedars of Lebanon which God planted,
In which the birds build their nests, *
and in whose tops the stork makes a dwelling.
The high hills are a refuge for the mountain goats, *
and the stony cliffs for the rock badgers.
You appointed the moon to mark the seasons, *
and the sun knows the time of its setting.
You make darkness that it may be night, *
in which all the beasts of the forest prowl.
The lions roar after their prey *
and seek their food from God.
The sun rises, and they slip away *
and lay themselves down in their dens.
People go forth to their work *
and to their labor until the evening.
O Lord, how manifold are your works! *
in wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

A second Reading may be added here.

Prayers for God’s Creation and God’s Creatures

The Prayers may be led by a Deacon or other Leader.

Deacon God the Creator of all: that all your creatures may thank you and serve you,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to grant favorable weather, temperate rain, and fruitful seasons, providing food and drink for all your creatures,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to open our eyes to the joy and beauty of your creation, and to see your presence in all your works,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to look with favor upon all who care for the earth, the water, and the air so the riches of your creation may abound for all your creatures, from age to age,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to make us faithful stewards of your creation, caring for the earth, air, seas, and all the creatures who live in them,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to make us aware of our responsibility to all your creatures and to be faithful in caring for them,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to forgive our waste and pollution of your creation and to strengthen us to heal its wounds,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to remember all animals in captivity and those who are hunted, trapped, deserted, abused, or exploited, so that by our actions they may find safety and homes of loving care,
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Deacon That it may please you to remember those animals who have died yet remain special or dear to us, that they may rejoice in the new creation of your kingdom.
People We beseech you to hear us, good Lord.
Presider Let us name with thanksgiving those animals for whom we now care, who are at home: ______.
Let us name with thanksgiving those animals who have companioned us over the years, and who have died: ______.
And let us remember in silence the unnamed, unknown animals whose lives have benefited our own.
Silence  
Presider Holy God: No sparrow falls without your attention; nothing dies that is lost to your remembrance; nothing exists that comes into being without your love. Give us just and compassionate hearts, that we may serve your will for creation, holding the vision of your peaceable reign in which all shall live with you eternally, through the Risen One, Christ our Savior.
Amen
Confession of Sin

The Confession may be omitted on occasion.

The Deacon or Presider says
Let us confess to God our sins against our fellow creatures.

Silence may be kept.

Minister and People
God of compassion, have mercy upon us.
Bring healing to our relationship with all your creation.
Forgive us for our mistreatment and neglect
of the creatures with whom we share your earth:
for what we have done to harm them,
and for what we have not done to help them.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
We ask you to fill us with your Spirit,
that we may care for one another and for all your creatures,
according to your will and in the fullness of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Priest alone says
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.

If no Priest is present, the Presider uses the preceding form and substitutes “us” for “you” and “our” for “your.”

The Blessing of the Animals
Presider It is the priestly work of all God’s people to give thanks for God’s blessings to us, to ask for and lend assistance for all in need, and to stretch our hands to heal and to cherish creatures of God; this is our work of blessing. Recognizing the blessing that these creatures are to us, I invite you to bring forward the animals entrusted to your care, one by one, and to join me in the laying on of hands and in prayer.

The animals are blessed individually by name by the Presider, using these or other words
Fellow creature, friend and companion:
May God your creator and preserver
bless, defend, heal, and keep you,
this day and always. Amen.

The Presider invites then the people to name aloud their animals at home and to pray together, using these words

All Fellow creatures,friends and companions: May God your creator and preserver bless, defend, heal, and keep you, this day and always. Amen.
Presider Let us pray.
God of manifold blessings, source of all that is good and true and holy: Raise us up to see the world through your eyes, so that with the eyes of our heart enlightened, we may treasure each creature alive with your Spirit and touched by your creative hand. And may the blessing of this bountiful God, who creates, redeems, and sanctifies, be upon us all, now and for ever. Amen.

Or the animals may be blessed collectively, using this prayer

Presider Almighty and everlasting God,Creator of all things and giver of all life: Let your blessing be upon these and all animals. May our relationships with them mirror your love, and may our care for them follow the example of your bountiful mercy. Grant these animals health and peace. Strengthen us to love and care for them as we strive, like God’s servant Francis of Assisi, to imitate Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Presider The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Presider Let us pray.

Presider and People

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
   on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
   who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
   on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
   who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

If desired, this Prayer attributed to St. Francis may also be said

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

The Presider may say this blessing from St. Clare

Presider Live without fear: your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Go in peace to follow the good road, and may God’s blessing be with you always.
Amen.

A hymn may be sung.

The Deacon, or the Presider, dismisses them with these words

Deacon Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.

 

 

Additional Readings and Resources for St. Francis Day

Additional Readings

Genesis 1:20-22a, 24-26a,28, 31a

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them….

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make humankind.”… God blessed them….

God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.

Wisdom 11:24-12:1
For you love all things that exist,
and detest none of the things that you have made,
for you would not have made anything if you had hated it.
How would anything have endured if you had not willed it?
Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved?
You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord,
you who love the living.
For your immortal spirit is in all things.

Job 12:7, 8b-10a
But ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;…
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lordhas done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing.

Matthew 6:25-26
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Matthew 11:25-30
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalm 104:24-25, 27-28, 30-31
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great….
These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things….
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lordendure forever.



Canticle 12 A Song of Creation Benedicite, omnia opera Domini
From Enriching Our Worship 1, page 26

II. The Earth and Its Creatures

Let the earth glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills, and all that grows upon the earth,*
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas, and streams, *
O whales and all that move in the waters.
All birds of the air, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, *
and all you flocks and herds.
O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.



Additional Materials

A Prayer attributed to St. Basil

Enlarge within us the sense of fellowship
with all living things,
our brothers and sisters the animals to whom you gave the earth
as their home in common with us.

We remember with shame that in the past
we have exercised the high dominion of humans
with ruthless cruelty,
so that the voice of the earth
which should have gone up to you in song
has been a groan of travail.

May we realize that they live, not for us alone,
but for themselves, and for you,
and that they love the sweetness of life.
We pray through our Savior Jesus Christ
who lifts up and redeems us all. Amen.

A Reading from Meister Eckhart
Apprehend God in all things,
for God is in all things.
Every single creature is full of God,
and is a book about God.
Every creature is a word of God.
If I spent enough time with the tiniest creature—
even a caterpillar—
I would never have to prepare a sermon,
so full of God
is every creature.

A Reading adapted from St. Isaac the Syrian
This is a charitable heart: It is a heart burning with love for the whole creation, for humans, for the birds, for the beasts, for the demons—for all creatures. One who has such a heart cannot see or call to mind a creature without having eyes being filled with tears by reason of the immense compassion which seizes the heart; a heart which is softened and can no longer bear to see or learn from others of any suffering, even the smallest pain, being inflicted on a creature. That is why such a person never ceases to pray also for the animals, that they may be preserved and purified. This person will even pray for the reptiles, moved by the infinite pity which reigns in the hearts of those who are becoming united with God.

A Reading from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Love all God’s creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand, love every leaf, every ray of God’s light; love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in all things. And once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly, more and more every day. And you will at last come to love the whole world with an abiding, universal love. Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and untroubled joy. Do not, therefore, trouble it, do not torture them, do not deprive them of their joy, do not go against God’s intent.

The following prayers relate to proposed Resolution 2012-A054 (Authorize Rites and Prayers for the Care of Beloved Animals), which proposed the prayers below. The final, approved prayers are within the final version of Resolution 2012-A054.

Burial Office for a Beloved Animal
this was modified substantially before passage. The text in the final resolution is here.

The opening anthem may be sung or said.

Canticle 18 A Song to the Lamb
Dignus es

from Enriching Our Worship 1, pages 28-29

Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10, 13

Splendor and honor and royal power *
are yours by right, O God most High,
For you created everything that is, *
and by your will they were created and have their being;
And yours by right, O Lamb that was slain, *
for with your blood you have redeemed for God,
From every family, language, people, and nation, *
a royal priesthood to serve our God.
And so, to the One who sits upon the throne, *
and to Christ the Lamb,
Be worship and praise, dominion and splendor, *
for ever and for evermore.
Officiant: God be with you.
People And also with you.
Officiant

Let us pray.
God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day N.'s beloved companion A.We thank you for giving her to N.and to us to be a friend, and an abundant source of love, affection, and joy on N.'s journey in this life. In your compassion, comfort us who grieve. Give us faith to commit this beloved creature to your care, and hear our hope that we all may one day be reunited with our animals in the heavenly places, where you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.


The Readings

One or more of the following passages may be read. Other suitable readings might include: Job 12:7-10; Isaiah 11:6-9; Psalm 148:7-14; Matthew 10:27-31; Mark 16:14-15; Romans 8:19-25; Revelation 4:1-2, 6b-7, 9-11, 5:5.

Psalm 104: 24, 28b-30

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
When you open your hand
they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

Tobit 5:21-6:2a

Canticle 12 A Song of Creation Benedicte, omnia opera Domini

from Enriching Our Worship 1, page 26

II. The Earth and Its Creatures

Let the earth glorify the Lord,*
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O mountains
and hills, and all that grows upon the earth,*
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas, and streams,*
O whales and all that move in the waters.
All birds of the air, glorify the Lord,*
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild,*
and all you flocks and herds [and all you cats and dogs].
O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.

The Prayers of the People

Creator of all, you gave us the rainbow as the sign of your everlasting covenant with every living creature: Help us to trust in your covenant of faithfulness to A., a part of your beloved creation; in your goodness,
Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Loving God, you brought this beloved animal into the life of N.[and N.] to share kindness, joy, and faithful companionship: Receive our thanks and praise for the community between your animals and your people and all the ways we bless each other's lives; in your goodness,
Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Gracious God, you have given us the responsibility and blessing of caring for animals during their earthly life: If in any way we have failed in that esponsibility, we ask for your pardon and trust in your mercy; in your goodness,
Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

These biddings may be used when appropriate
God our wisdom, bring your peace to N., in whose hands the decision to end the suffering of A.was placed. Give N.and all of us hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God; in your goodness,
Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

Holy God, we pray for N., for the companion she has lost, and for all pets, animal companions, and all the animals of the earth. We ask for the wisdom to preserve their dwelling places, to heal their diseases and relieve their suffering, and to respect their place in the world; in your goodness,
Blessed Creator, hear our prayer.

A period of silence is kept.

The Lord’s Prayer may then be said

Officiant: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Officiant:

Let us pray.

Officiant and People

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those
who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

If a burial is to take place, the remains are now placed in the grave and the mourners may cast earth over them, or fill in the grave completely. Cremated remains may be scattered or buried, after the Officiant offers this prayer

We return the remains of A.to the earth
and entrust her to your everlasting loving-kindness;
for you care for us and all that you have made,
and your mercy is over all your works,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

The Officiant continues
Lord of all Creation, you love everything that you have made.
We pray to you for A.and for all those animal companions
whom we love but see no longer.
Hold them in your wisdom and love.
Ease the grief of those who mourn.
Receive our thanks for the joyful memories of A.
Widen our hearts to receive those animals who will yet need our care,
and give us generous and kind hearts toward all your creatures;
through Jesus our Redeemer and Friend,
who said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news
to the whole creation.” Amen.

Officiant: Alleluia. Christ is risen.
People: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Officiant: Let us go forth in the name of Christ.
People: Thanks be to God.

When appropriate, this confession may be said at the start of the Prayers of the People, followed by the absolution on page 353 of The Book of Common Prayer.

God of compassion, have mercy upon us;
bring healing to our relationship with all your creation.
Forgive us for our mistreatment and neglect
of the creatures with whom we share your earth,
for what we have done to harm them,
and for what we have not done to help them.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
We ask you to fill us with your Spirit,
that we may care for one another and for all your creatures,
according to your will and in the fullness of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers Suitable for Use in Church or for Other Gatherings, at the Adoption, Illness, Loss, or Death of Companion, Service, or Other Beloved Animals
this was modified substantially before passage. The text in the final resolution is here.

At the adoption of an animal

God, whose nature and whose name is Love: We thank you for this new relationship between N. [and N.] and this animal A. Let their home be filled with kindness and care; let them be the delight of one another's hearts; and watch over and keep them from this day forward in safety and peace; for your Name's sake. Amen.

For a lost or missing animal

Good Shepherd, whose eye is upon each creature, and who never slumbers nor sleeps: Hear our prayers for N.and for her lost animal A.Calm their anxiety by the grace of your Holy Spirit, protect and keep them, and bring them to the time of reunion. Amen.

For an infirm animal

God, whose compassion and mercy are over all your works: Hear our prayers for A., this creature of yours, in her infirmity. Free her from suffering and from fear; bring her healing and repose; and comfort the hearts of those burdened with anxiety [especially N. and N.].We pray through your beloved Child Jesus and by the power of your Spirit. Amen.

For one whose beloved animal has died

God, the refuge and strength of those who mourn: Hear our prayers for N. [and N.], who grieves the death of her beloved A. Bring solace in loneliness, peace in distress, and comfort in remembering; and lift her heart in thanksgiving for the gift of companionship she has known. Be near to all who have mourned the loss of dear animals; this we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

At the euthanizing of an infirm animal

God, whose wisdom is over all your works: Be with us as we act to end the suffering of A., this creature of yours entrusted to our care. Our power to heal has reached its end, and so we put our trust in your mercy and love to gather into your sacred heart all that is lost and broken. We pray through the kindness of Christ and the grace of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

For the suffering of animals during warfare

Eternal God, the comfort and peace of all your creatures: Hear our prayers for all animals that suffer in times of war, especially for those that bear burdens, those that serve as food, those that detect mines, those that search for the missing and the dead, and for wild creatures in the path of war’s destruction. May your divine assistance be with them according to their need; and may our swords be beaten into plowshares and our hearts be softened toward animals of every kind; for they are yours, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

At the burial of a farm animal

Most gracious, good Lord, we are the people of your pasture and the sheep of your hand: We thank you for placing us among the beasts of the field and allowing us to care for them, and to receive from them food and clothing to meet our necessities. We grieve this day the death of A.,and we return to you a creature of your own making, one who served as an effective sign of the generosity of your love for us; through Jesus Christ our Good Shepherd, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

At the death of a wild animal

Almighty God, who makes the beasts of the wild move in beauty and show forth the glory of your Name: We grieve the death of this creature, in whose living and dying the power of your Spirit was made manifest. We reverence the loss of that which was never ours to claim but only to behold with wonder; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

(Source: Blue Book for the 77th General Convention)

 

 

Celtic Divider

 

The EpEN is a national network of active lay and clergy persons within the Episcopal Church, USA, who share a common concern for the environment and a common belief in the presence of God in all Creation and who work to make these concerns and beliefs known throughout all Provinces and Dioceses within the church.  Members come from around the Episcopal Church, USA.  The activities of the EpEN are focused on the areas of Reflection, Education, and Action. 

If you would like to contact any of these groups or to find out more about the EpEN, please click on the links on the left.

 

last update:  2013-02-20

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