Complete Service - November: Lament for Lost Species

2022, 4 pp
November, in much of the Northern Hemisphere, is a month of decline, decay, and death. Many annual plants have died back. Deciduous trees have lost their leaves. Many species are moving into or toward dormancy. The sky seems more gray and moody. There can be a certain melancholic feel to the month, with days getting shorter and the landscape looking more barren and colourless.

In my Mennonite tradition, we always mark “Eternity Sunday” or “Toten Sontag” in November on the last Sunday before the start of Advent. It is a service where we remember and name the people who had passed away in the previous year. Similarly, some church traditions mark All Souls Day on November 2nd. In this vein, November feels like a suitable month to hold a service of lament for species that are endangered or extirpated in our watershed.

This service requires a little homework to find out the names of plants, animals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians, etc. that are at risk in your own area. A google search should easily provide you with this information. Once you have a list, write down the name of each species and its status (endangered, extinct…) on a slip of paper or card stock, creating a set of cards with a different name on each card. Be sure to have enough cards so each person attending can take one.

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