What a Wildly Wonderful World: A Rocha 2010 Environment Resource Pack

Introduction to ‘What a Wildly Wonderful World!’

Welcome to A Rocha UK’s 2010 Environment Resource Pack. This brief introduction will help you get the most out of the resources in the pack.

A Rocha UK is a registered charity (1089276) and depends on donations from Churches and Individuals for its work in encouraging Christians to care for the environment in practical ways.

Please consider having a collection for A Rocha UK in your Environment Sunday service, and please consider joining A Rocha UK’s Partner Churches Scheme (arocha.org/churches – now Eco-Congregation England & Wales). This exists to create a genuine partnership with those Churches that are seeking to take steps to include creation care in their teaching, ministry and mission. A Rocha UK can help your church through information (magazines, monthly e-news, web-site and Churches forum), inspiration (biblical materials, books and packs) and involvement (projects, activities, providing speakers). Please contact [email protected] or 020 8574 5935 for more information.

The materials in this Environment Resource pack are flexible and can be used at any time of year. A Rocha promotes ‘Environment Sunday’ as a time they may be especially suitable. This is celebrated on the Sunday nearest to World Environment Day (June 5th). However, churches may choose to hold their own ‘Environment Sunday on any suitable date. CTBI (Churches Together in Britain & Ireland) is also promoting ‘Creation Time’ between 1st September and 4th October. In many churches this includes Harvest and St. Francis’ day and so may also provide a good time to use the materials in this pack.

Title and theme

The title “What a Wildly Wonderful World!” is taken from Psalm 104:24 in The Message version of the Bible, which reads:

What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow
with your wonderful creations.

It is suggested that The Message is used for scripture readings due both to its vivid language and its suitability for all-age worship.

The theme is ‘Biodiversity’. 2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) by the United Nations. The website www.biodiversityislife.net has much useful information.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It is essential for sustaining the natural living systems or ecosystems that provide us with food, fuel, health, wealth, and other vital services. Humans are part of this biodiversity too and have the power to protect or destroy it. For more on why biodiversity matters see the document Why Biodiversity Matters in this pack.

Planning a service

The pack contains all you should need to plan services that are informal / structured; all-age / with adults only; morning worship / Holy Communion. There are separate documents with service orders, lists of hymns & songs, prayer ideas, all-age activities, a drama sketch, a poem, and PowerPoint presentations (including a visual version of Psalm 104). In addition there are materials for small group study and children’s groups.

Due to the theme, it’s strongly encouraged that at least part of the service takes place outdoors. See Order of Service – All-age Worship for details.

General publishing information

This Environment Resource Pack has been produced by A Rocha UK (Charity number 1089276). You can contact A Rocha UK via www.arocha.org.uk, [email protected], 020 8574 5935 or 13 Avenue Road, Southall, UB1 3BL. The material was edited by Dave Bookless. Many people have contributed material – particular thanks to: Marie Birkinshaw, Sarah Butler, Laurie Burn, Simon Brown, Will & Pip Campbell-Clause, Barbara Mearns, Lisa Ostenson, Heather Robinson-Hyde, Sylvia Walker, Daphne Warren.

  • Publisher: A Rocha UK
  • Year: 2010
  • Licensing: CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Note: the original pack included songs and hymns, which for copyright reasons could not be included in this online edition

Contents

Bible study: People and wildlife

This Bible study looks at three responses to nature: to study it like Solomon; to appreciate quiet places for retreat and solitude, as did Jesus; and to protect it, as did Noah.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Bible references: Genesis 9; Proverbs 30; 1 Kings 4; Mark 6; Mark 14; Mark 16

Bible study: Psalm 104 and biodiversity

The main question Psalm 104 makes us ask is: who is this all for? Everything – trees, birds, mountains, humans, lions and sea monsters, is completely dependent on God, and draws its value from relationship with God.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Bible reference: Psalm 104

Case studies of environmental projects for churches

Faithfully embracing the responsibility of caring for the planet takes shape in many different ways. People in communities around the world are taking steps to improve their local environment, educate others and advocate for God’s love for His Creation. Here are a few stories from around the UK and around the world to help encourage and inspire, as well as to show that Creation stewardship is just as diverse as Creation itself!

  • Author: Dave Bookless

Children’s biodiversity activities

A set of activities around the topic of biodiversity:

  • The Web of Biodiversity (ages 7+)
  • Ani-maker (ages 4+)
  • Wildfire! (ages 4+)
  • Biodiversity Bingo (ages 6+)
  • Author: Dave Bookless

Food chain sketch

In this sketch, children play the roles of grass, grasshoppers, spiders, mice, and an owl. It can be used along with some of the Children’s Biodiversity Activities (see above).

  • Author: Dave Bookless

Order of service: All-age worship

This interactive service ideally begins outdoors. It can be used with the Psalm 104 presentation.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Bible references: Psalm 104

Order of service: Biodiversity communion

A Communion Service Celebrating God’s Creation.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Bible References: Jeremiah 12, Colossians 1

Poem: The A to Z of creation

This poem reflects the wonderful biodiversity of God’s world. It could be read dramatically, with a narrator taking the Bible verses, and two or more people antiphonally reading the examples.

  • Author: Barbara Mearns
  • Bible references: Genesis 1; Colossians 1; Revelation 21; Revelation 22

Psalm 104 presentation

This PowerPoint illustrates Psalm 104, according to The Message, and can be displayed during a Bible reading.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Bible reference: Psalm 104

Prayer suggestions

A series of prayers on the topic of biodiversity.

  • Author: Marie Birkinshaw, Dave Bookless, Sarah Butler, Heather Robinson-Heyd, Sylvia Walker
  • Bible references: Ephesians 1; Philippians 2; Colossians 1; Romans 8; Revelation 21

Sermon: The Biodiversity Challenge: Being the Image of God

The value of the non-human creation goes deeper than its value to people. In Genesis 9 we hear about how God tells Noah to save the earth’s biodiversity in order ‘to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth’ (Genesis 7:3), implying their value is not tied to their usefulness to Noah.

  • Authors: Pip Campbell-Clause, Will Campbell-Clause
  • Bible references: Genesis 1; Genesis 9; Romans 8

Sermon: Noah and biodiversity

This sermon outline is adapted from one written for ‘Creation Time 2009’ and has appeared on the website of Churches Together in Britain & Ireland.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It is essential for sustaining the natural living
systems or ecosystems that provide us with food, fuel, health, wealth, and other vital
services. Humans are part of this biodiversity too and have the power to protect or
destroy it. Currently, our activities are destroying biodiversity at alarming rates. These
losses are irreversible, impoverish us all and damage the life support systems we rely
on. But we can prevent them.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Bible references: Genesis 9, Psalm 104, Matthew 10

Sermon: Psalm 104 and biodiversity

‘Biodiversity’ is not a biblical term but it is a deeply biblical concept. Scripture repeatedly celebrates the variety, beauty and complexity of creation: from affirming ‘God saw that it was good’ in Genesis 1 through to the book of Revelation where four creatures representing nature’s diversity – birds, humans, wild and domestic animals – worship the risen, enthroned Jesus. Nowhere is biodiversity celebrated more than in Psalm 104. Verse 24 (in The Message) sums it up by simply stating ‘What a wildly wonderful world, God!’ Let’s turn to look at what we can learn from this Psalm.

  • Author: Dave Bookless
  • Bible reference: Psalm 104

Why biodiversity matters

The beauty, complexity and often sheer oddity of wild nature have a powerful appeal – as the viewing figures for wildlife programmes show. However, why does it matter? Can we go deeper than the liquid eyes of a baby seal, the waddle and beak of a puffin, or the porcelain beauty of an orchid?

  •  Author: Dave Bookless

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