God's Good Earth offers Christians and their communities an engaging resource for prayer, reflection, and worship that reflects and nourishes their efforts to serve God and care for God's creation. Compilers Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn have prepared 52 beautiful, ready-made prayer services, each around a specific theme, drawing from a rich variety of ecumenical resources: psalms and other responsive readings, Scripture, hymns, prayers, and reflections from the world's most engaging nature writers and interpreters of the social and cultural landscape. Each section can be used in full, or the user may select smaller sections; permission is granted to the purchaser to reproduce for use in public prayer.
God's Good Earth forms hearts and minds to know that transformation is not only possible but essential if the Earth is to survive, healthy and whole. Those who enter into the book's praise and prayer will have their faith in God the Creator strengthened, their gratitude for the wonders of God's creation deepened, and their commitment to act on behalf of God's good earth enhanced. The print edition is printed with high production standards on recycled, FSC-certified paper.
Anne Rowthorn has compiled four collections of ecological writings: Earth and All the Stars, Feast of the Universe, Song of the Universe, and The Wisdom of John Muir: 100+ Selections from the Letters, Journals, and Essays of the Great Naturalist.
Jeffery Rowthorn, an Episcopal bishop, has compiled The Wideness of God's Mercy: Litanies to Enlarge Our Prayer. His hymns have been widely published and he has compiled three hymnals. His most recent collection (with Russell Schulz-Widmar) is Sing of the World Made New: Hymns of Justice, Peace, and Christian Responsibility.
What a splendid book this is, packed with beautifully chosen prayers, hymns and reflections that celebrate the sacredness of God's skies and seas, larks and eagles, petals and leaves! I hope that God's Good Earth will be widely used, not only as a source of liturgies during Creation Season but also as a wellspring of material for weekly services, for special services throughout the year, and for personal prayer. In this time of climate crisis, species extinction, and collective trauma, when so many of us feel numb or overwhelmed, these liturgies can restore our souls: they give voice to our need to praise and give thanks, to grieve and repent, and to renew our resolve for the long struggle ahead.
The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Missioner for Creation Care, Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts & Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
In God's Good Earth, Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn have blessed the churches with a beautiful and timely gift. Representing a rich diversity of traditions and voices, these 52 liturgies invite us to worship the God of creation, ponder our deep communion with all living things, repent of our responsibility for environmental destruction and its devastating consequences for marginalized peoples, and reform our actions in agreement with God's hopeful vision for the renewal of the earth.
Dr. Thomas John Hastings, Executive Director, Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut
This is a helpful resource for pastors and worship committees as they facilitate worship that will help the church join other voices in advocating care for the earth.
Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology
A rich treasure of liturgical resources, God’s Good Earth offers replenishment for those who are being called forth to provide spiritual leadership at this decisive moment in the universe story.
Rich, abundant, fertile, and creative-the Rowthorns have drawn from broad and deep seas of wisdom to move hearts and mountains in search of Creation's healing. Worship frames for a year of weeks explore the wonder of God's creation, creatures human and not, and the groaning of all. May these prayers and poems, hymns and scriptures, reflections and blessings work their wondrous transformation in all God's people, for tikkun olam, repair of the interconnected world God has made. Caveat lector, for you will weep, rejoice, be awed and humbled, and by grace, transformed.
The Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Assisting Bishop, San Diego, Formerly XXVI Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
"In the end we will conserve only what we love," affirmed Senegalese conservationist Baba Dioum. "We will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught." The liturgies developed by Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn's book provide fifty-two ways to understand and love God's good earth more deeply. Their work leads us from praise and thanks to lament and confession and finally to a renewed commitment to all creation and a new sense of wonder at God's infinite imagination in fashioning this world. The Rowthorns challenge us to pray, sing, and act for the earth. Most of all, they give us the words and worship we need to love this world as God loves it, for the sake of the earth and for generations yet to come. It should be required text for every seminary course on liturgy and the worship leaders of every congregation.
Rev. Talitha Arnold, Senior Minister, The United Church of Santa Fe
These are powerful meditations at a moment when they're desperately needed-think of this book as a solar-charged battery to give you the strength to do the work that the planet desperately needs.
Bill McKibben, Schumann Distinguished Scholar, Middlebury College
If you have ever been overwhelmed by a panorama from a mountaintop or overcome with wonder at the power of the sea as it rushes against a shore, this book is for you. If you have become concerned about the rising temperatures of our oceans and shorelines and understand that there is a religious dimension to these issues, this book is for you. If the social injustices that accompany environmental degradation are moral concerns, this book is for you. This collection of texts from 28 books of the Bible, 42 other authors, 37 writers of hymns plus 90 supplementary hymns, arranged in 52 thematic liturgies, provides those seeking a means to express their faith in both formal and informal settings. I warmly recommend this book to all who understand environmental issues in religious terms.
Gregory E. Sterling, The Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean, The Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament, Yale Divinity School
God's Good Earth is a wonderful resource to celebrate the majesty, mystery and soul of Earth. The songs, praise and poetry of creation erupt and stir a spiritual presence both within us as worshippers and an awareness of that presence within the deep domains of Earth. A fantastic resource for celebrating The Season of Creation every Sunday in the year. `Where can Wisdom be Found?' In creation (Job 28.23-27)!
Norman Habel, editor of the Earth Bible series in Australia, a sponsor of the Season of Creation, and author of works relating to ecology, worship and the Scriptures
This is a hugely welcome addition to a growing genre of books for churches in an age of ecological crisis. If we are to call Christians to respond to the injustice and sorrow of our climate emergency in ways that go beyond private, individual consumption, we need to start with our liturgies. God's Good Earth beautifully meets that need.
The Living Church
What a sublime gift this new collection of liturgies is. I have loved praying with these wide-ranging, distinctive, profoundly moving texts. Among the burgeoning resources for a creation-attuned spirituality, Anne and Jeffery Rowthorn's book stands out. God's Good Earth is compelling in its language, ecumenical and global in scope, richly diverse in the voices it sounds, authentically theological, and-simply-beautiful. I recommend this volume enthusiastically.
Teresa Berger, Professor of Liturgical Studies & Thomas E. Golden Jr. Professor of Catholic Theology, Yale Divinity School & Yale Institute of Sacred Music
God's Good Earth is a rich, perceptive resource, which encourages individuals and congregations to engage deeply, prayerfully, and wholeheartedly in the transformation of our relationships with creation, God, and one another.
This is an unusually rich and coherent collection, bringing together reflection, praise and challenge in just the right measure. We have imaginative and alive texts that will powerfully reinforce the necessary sense of both promise and urgency that we must learn to bring to the question of our Christian relation with the environment. It will be a great gift to the churches.
Rowan Williams, Master of Magdalene College in Cambridge, UK, and former Archbishop of Canterbury