Coming Soon: Blessing of the Animals, Oct. 1

Coming Soon: Blessing of the Animals, Oct. 1

Our annual Blessing of the Animals will take place at 10:00am on Sunday, October 1, 2023, under the tent in front of our church building. All well-controlled animals and their people are welcome: dogs on leashes, small pets in pet carriers, etc.  Pastor Anne will teach us all a blessing so that even if you can’t bring your pet with you,  you can bless them yourself at home.

Last Hope K9 Adoption Event, October 14

Last Hope K9 Adoption Event, October 14

We are thrilled to welcome Last Hope K9 Rescue back to Crawford on Saturday, October 14th for another Adoption Showcase! There are so many loving dogs searching for their furever families… we love it when people choose to adopt, rather than shop. If you’re interested in adopting, please visit Last Hope K9’s event page to learn more how this event will run and then come meet these amazing adoptable dogs in person!

World Day of Prayer for Creation

World Day of Prayer for Creation

(Diana Butler Bass, August 31, 2023)

From September 1 to October 4, Christians around the world mark the Season of Creation, a relatively recent development in the liturgical calendar.

The practice began in 1989 when Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I proclaimed September 1 a day of prayer for the environment. In 2000, a Lutheran congregation in Australia developed a four-week celebration of creation — and the idea spread throughout that nation and beyond. Eventually, the Vatican picked up the practice and the World Council of Churches promoted the new liturgical season.

During these weeks, Christians are urged to recognize the theological centrality of God the Creator, Creation itself, the human vocation of caring for Creation, and doing justice on behalf of the Earth and all of her inhabitants.

All creation is a temple, says St. Gregory the Great.
Every tree, stone, lizard, rabbit, meteor, comet, and star to us is holy.

—Ernesto Cardenal

For all of its struggles internally, especially in the West, Christianity remains the world’s largest religion — and it is incumbent upon people of faith to work for the Earth’s healing and renewal in this time of crisis. Christians bear the burden of being part of the problem as many Christian traditions have badly muddled their theologies of creation and promoted practices that colonized and destroyed the very world we were instructed to “till and keep.”

The Season of Creation is marked by repentance for that past, a call to deepen theological reflection and spiritual awareness of Creation, and engaging justice on behalf of nature and our neighbors. Attending to Creation in liturgy, prayer, scripture, and spirituality may be one of the most significant theological shifts in contemporary Christianity, and is certainly one of the most needed.

The World Day of Prayer for Creation is not a kind of off-handed “thoughts and prayers” dismissal. It is an invitation to experience faith differently, to center Creation and the Creator, and to learn the Bible and theology anew. This day invites us to metanoia — a profound change of heart and life, a genuine conversion toward a Creation-based vision of God, nature, and neighbor.

And, as I hope Cottage readers know, this invitation is not exclusive to Christians. The Cottage is, as always, open. Everyone is welcome to this month of creation reflection — whatever your faith, practice, or tradition. Please contribute insights from your sacred texts, offer prayers from your tradition, and share generously as we join this journey together.

We all need a new heart when it comes to the repair of this hurting, wounded world. And we need each other now — as urgently as the planet needs us.

For the next month, we will continue to explore the Season of Creation here at The Cottage — especially in Sunday Musings.

Read Diana’s post online here, or join Pastor Anne in subscribing to her blog/newsletter (“The Cottage”) for free, here. (It’s not a free trial, it’s free as long as you’d like to receive it.)

The Bell Tolls for Us

The Bell Tolls for Us

(A Message from Bishop Johnson regarding recent hate crimes, published August 28, 2023)

English poet John Donne (1572-1631) penned these words that ring with truth today:

Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know for 
Whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee. 
Another hate crime, the murder of three African Americans at the hands of a white supremist armed with an AR 15 semi-automatic weapon, happened on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Public outcry seems to be a whimper. We are becoming so used to our culture of violence and hatred that it barely makes the news anymore. I can only reflect on how much more solidarity we need as a nation so that when our own people are murdered our collective voices rise loudly in unison to decry the horror. 

I call all of us to remember these constant shootings are personal. These are crimes against humanity, and that is us. The slain are your siblings, your neighbors, your beloved. 

During World War II as the Nazis were invading Europe and murdering and incarcerating Jews, the American public, for the most part, ignored the Holocaust. The United States turned back a ship full of Jewish people who were trying to escape death. 

Denmark was different; the Danes stood in solidarity and the Jewish people were protected in a national rescue effort. They smuggled 7,000 Jews to safety in Sweden; another 500 who were deported by the Nazis were sent to a ghetto in Bohemia where the Danes continued to protect and advocate for them. 

Why did they do this? They saw their Jewish citizens as their people, their family. We need more of this in our country. 

It was 60 years ago today that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., before a crowd of 250,000 people. 

There was an event in Washington this past Saturday commemorating this, the most important racial justice demonstration in U.S. history.

Yolanda King, Dr. King’s 15-year-old granddaughter, spoke: “Today, racism is still with us. Poverty is still with us. And now gun violence has come for our places of worship, our schools and our shopping centers.” 

The beloved community that we claim to be as Christians needs to speak out (and advocate and legislate) when any member of our human family is being oppressed and murdered. 

Let us grieve the death of each one. It is our own. 

Let us individually check our souls for racism and implicit bias. 

Let us collectively own the racist history of this country and name freely that “liberty and justice for all” is still a long way off.

Until everyone is free, none of us is truly free. 

The bell tolls for all of us.

See the Bishop’s original post as published on, here.

Backpack Drive: Now Thru Sept. 10

Backpack Drive: Now Thru Sept. 10

We are collecting backpacks and school supplies for the Haitian refugees in Woburn, most if not all of whom are families with young children. We need small, medium, and large backpacks, for kids of pre-school age through high school.

If you’d like to stock your donated backpack with some school supplies, here are some suggestions:

  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Rulers
  • Glue sticks
  • Tissues
  • Pencils, sharpeners & erasers
  • Ball point pens
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • 2-pocket folders
  • Index cards

Please bring your backpacks and/or school supplies to Crawford by September 10. There will be a large plastic tote in the hallway outside Gifford Hall to collect them. If you have any questions, click here to email the church office.