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Climate change hits a turning point, and a diocese holds an eco-confirmation

Climate change hits a turning point, and a diocese holds an eco-confirmation

Brad Leland of Vox reports that

“[a] major section of West Antarctica’s massive ice sheet is melting into the ocean, and it’s unlikely that anything can stop its eventual demise. If so, that will mean even higher sea levels in the centuries ahead.

That’s the upshot of two new studies released Monday in Science and Geophysical Research Letters. Together, the papers concluded that six large West Antarctic glaciers appear to be in a state of irreversible decline.

Chris Mooney of Mother Jones reports on why this news is so grave. And Raw Story speculates photographically on how a variety of American landmarks would appear were sea level to rise 12 feet more quickly that predicted.

In that context, Joseph Peters-Mathews’ story and photos of the “eco-confirmation” the Diocese of California conducted over the weekend takes on added resonance. He writes:

The Eco-Confirmation itself took place not in the chapel at St. Dorothy’s, but outside, with the gathered assembly surrounded by redwoods. The Eco-Confirmation service closely followed the Confirmation service from the Book of Common Prayer. Bishop Marc Andrus presided. “The Earth’s story of itself is the sermon I think we needed to hear on this day, and in this place,” Andrus said during his brief remarks.

The Liturgy of the Word for the Eco-Confirmation was a local modification of the Cosmic Walk originally created by Sr. Miriam MacGillis. A large basin of water, sitting in the center of a spiral of red rope on the ground, was blessed before an abridged version of the history of the universe was read. The red rope emphasized the presence of the Holy Spirit for the occasion of confirmation.

The Prologue to John’s Gospel began the stations of the Cosmic Walk, and after the lesson from John, a reader shared the story of the Great Flaring Forth at the beginning of time. Other events noted in the history included the creation of stars, galaxies, and our sun; the formation of the Earth’s atmosphere; the appearance of redwoods; Jesus’ birth; and the founding of St. Dorothy’s Rest. At each station a walker poured water from the baptismal basin into bowls marking the passage of time between each event.


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