Church leaders to join climate change protest

Sixteen leaders of  Christian Churches in the UK will be attending an ecumenical service in London this Saturday, 5 December,  to urge political leaders  meeting in  Copenhagen to ‘Act Now To Stop Climate Change’. 

Among them will be Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury; Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of  Westminster; Bishop Declan Lang of  Clifton, Head of  the International Department of  the Catholic Bishops’  Conference; Bishop John Rawsthorne of  Hallam, Chair of CAFOD, Revd David Gamble, Chair of the Methodist Conference;    Revd Pat Took, Chair, London Baptist Association;  Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical  Alliance; Colonel  Brian Peddle, Chief Secretary for The  Salvation Army UK and  Republic of Ireland.

At least 3,000 Christians  are expected to join them, carrying an array of colourful banners and dressed in  blue. They will be travelling from their parishes around the country in special  trains and coaches. After the service some church leaders and the congregation  will join tens of thousands of  people marching to form a blue wave around the  Houses of Parliament.

Churches on the march will be a key part of the growing  movement for action on  climate change. It is expected to be the UK’s biggest  ever demonstration in support of action on climate change, ahead of  the crucial UN climate talks in Copenhagen. 

Th service takes place from 11am  - noon at Westminster Central Hall,  SW1H  9NH.

Some church leaders and  heads of Christian agencies will be at the head of  the main Stop Climate Chaos march,  setting off from Grosvenor  Square to  Westminster around 12.50pm.

The keynote  address at the morning service will be given by the Archbishop  of  Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The churches are calling on the UK  government to take a leading role in securing  a fair, ambitious and binding climate  deal in Copenhagen.

For  Christians, tackling climate change is urgent for two major reasons. Firstly, it  is a social justice issue since it is having immediate and devastating impacts  on the world's poorest people, who are  least responsible yet hardest hit.  Secondly, humanity is charged by God with protecting and preserving the  diversity and beauty of God's creation,  which is depleted and threatened by  climate change. Church leaders urge that the  UK must commit to stringent  reductions in carbon emissions and provide money for adaptation and clean  development to help poor communities in their response to climate  change.

Prayers will  be led by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, plus  other church leaders and visiting partners from the global South. Steve  Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical  Alliance, will MC the  service.

On 5 December between  11 - 12am there will be a time of quiet prayer and  reflection for the  Copenhagen Summit at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in  Trafalgar Square, and  the chance to visit the powerful Hard Rain  Exhibition which St. Martin’s is  mounting on the railings of their courtyard and throughout their downstairs  foyer. Hard Rain, by Mark Edwards, is a  photographic elegy and an impassioned  and moving cry for action on climate change,  habitat loss and human rights. Hard  Rain explores the issues that are  defining the 21st  century.
The website of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland  is offering prayer  resources for churches and individual Christians praying for  bold and  legally binding agreements at the Copenhagen Summit:

Churches internationally will be ringing their bells at  3pm local time on 13 December to coincide with the Copenhagen Summit. Westminster Cathedral is  one of the churches doing this in Britain. For more information see: llringing.html

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