Climate Sunday – churches together for Climate Change
There is much talk about the three pandemics raging around us: Covid-19, racism and climate change. Covid-19 came upon us very quickly and is impossible to ignore. Racism, too often ignored, has sadly been with us for far too long, while climate change is the noisy elephant in the room. Only when the noise stopped as the planet paused during lockdown did the world get a glimpse of how life could be if we did something about this third and most dangerous pandemic.
Time is running out – we know it but what are we doing about it?
So what is that ‘something’? The world’s leading scientists have told us, pleaded with us even, to make a meaningful change as time is running out. Two years ago we had a fifty/fifty chance of keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees, but by the beginning of this year we were on course to overshoot that by several degrees. The pandemic has proved to be a ‘something’ but obviously isn’t an answer in itself.
As Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK, and chair of the Climate Sunday steering group says, the COVID-19 pandemic may have postponed the UN Climate Conference (COP26) until next year, but it hasn’t cancelled the climate crisis.
How will Climate Sunday make any kind of difference?
As Christians within churches, in the buildings, on zoom, Facebook, or however we now ‘do’ church, we have a very urgent and pressing call upon us to be the change we want to see. Climate Sunday is an initiative launched by a broad coalition of Christian charities and denominations, urging all churches to be a voice, together, in the critical year ahead.
Climate Sunday hope that every church community will lead one or more Climate Sunday services from the beginning of Creationtide in September through to November 2021 when the COP26 takes place. Prayer changes things, and so does action. As well as the Climate Sunday resources, Truro Diocese is also offering a Greening Worship Workshop, during August to help with the creative process.
Simply put the invitation from Climate Sunday is to do one or more of three things:
1. Climate service: Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action.
2. Commit: Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long-term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Call: Join with other churches and wider society by adding its name to a common call for the UK government to take much bolder action on climate change in this country in advance of COP26, and to strengthen its credibility to lead the international community to adopt a step change in action at COP26. The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5th September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26.
How the current crisis has changed the way we see the world
“The current crisis has changed the way we see the world,” says Dr Ruth Valerio, Director of Global Advocacy at Tearfund. “It has reminded us of the fragility of life, exposed the gap between rich and poor, and revealed the damage we’ve done to the wider creation. But it has also helped us love our neighbours and brought communities together. Climate Sunday is a great opportunity to respond to these societal shifts; to pause and reimagine what life could be like; to commit to living differently ourselves and to call on the UK government to rebuild our economy in a way that tackles the climate emergency and builds a better world for everyone.”
“The current crisis has changed the way we see the world,” Dr Ruth Valerio, Tearfund. “It has reminded us of the fragility of life, exposed the gap between rich and poor, and revealed the damage we’ve done to the wider creation. But it has also helped us love our neighbours and brought communities together.”
How we can help our young who are worried, anxious about the climate crisis
Now is the time to take action. It’s been brilliant how churches have really pulled together, worked with their lay teams to produce fantastic online services, morning and evening prayers, words and prayers of encouragement during this time of lockdown and beyond. Climate Sunday wants to build on that energy and creativity, to be a voice against this terrible pandemic that is having such a detrimental effect on our young. They are worried, anxious and need of pastoral support. Christians have to lead the way, teaching God’s love for creation, reducing carbon emissions from church buildings, congregational travel and serving the wider community with practical projects, like reviving green spaces.
To register for Climate Sunday visit the website: www.climatesunday.org
Climate Sunday is being organised by the Churches Together in Britain & Ireland’s Environmental Issues Network (EIN). This gathers the environmental ‘leads’ of the major denominations, some Christian orders, and the Christian environmental and relief and development agencies. Member organisations which have already given their formal backing to the initiative include CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund, A Rocha UK, Operation Noah, Climate Stewards, Eco-Congregation Scotland, Green Christian, the Church of England, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Baptist Union of Wales, the United Reformed Church, The Church of Scotland, Cytûn (Churches together in Wales), the Union of Welsh Independents and the Church in Wales.