Source: Climate Sunday
Marking the start of the annual season of Creationtide, the Climate Sunday initiative begins this weekend with local churches across Britain and Ireland holding climate-focused services to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and of action on climate, to pray and to commit to action.
With the climate crisis accelerating and greater public support for a green recovery post COVID-19, there has never been a more crucial time for UK churches to come together to pray and act on the climate crisis. Over 700 churches registered before the year-long initiative has begun, so the organisers are hoping that there will be thousands of local Climate Sundays, with congregations from every denomination and tradition.
The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event in Glasgow on Sunday, 5th September 2021, to celebrate the commitments made by churches at local level over the previous year. We will also present the UK government with the combined commitments and calls, which all local churches have made, to show our political leaders that they have our support for acting boldly, justly and compassionately on this issue.
The Climate Sunday initiative, organised by CTBI's Environmental Issues Network (EIN), is the UK's largest joint project planned by UK Churches on Climate Change, with formal backing from CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund, The Salvation Army, A Rocha UK, Operation Noah, Climate Stewards, Eco-Congregation Scotland, Eco-Congregation Ireland, 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.
Bishop of Salford, Bishop John Arnold, the bishop responsible for the environment for the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, said: "We need to recognise the damage we're doing to the environment and our failure to look after our brothers and sisters in our common home. "In a post-pandemic world, the Climate Sunday project is an excellent opportunity for Catholic parishes in England and Wales, as well as our ecumenical brothers and sisters, to understand responsibility to heal our planet and to pray and act in response to the climate emergency."
The Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, the bishop responsible for the environment for the Church of England, said: "Although our focus has been shifted from climate change in recent months by the challenges of responding to COVID-19, the climate crisis has not gone away, and the driest May since records began is a timely reminder of this. Climate Sunday will be a brilliant resource to help Church of England parishes understand and respond to the climate crisis. As we work out the actions we need to take to cut our carbon emissions every year to reach net zero emissions by 2030, Climate Sunday will motivate, encourage and inspire our churches to keep going on this journey."
Mary Sweetland, Chairperson of Eco-Congregation Scotland, an ecumenical charity supporting 500 Scottish churches of all denominations in environmental activities, said: "We need to take action as Christians who care for God's creation, tackling the climate emergency with urgency now and for future generations. When we welcome thousands from around the world, online or in person to COP26, we can all demonstrate that we are taking action and leading by example in our own church and across the UK. We all share a unique opportunity in the year ahead for transformational change, taking practical steps to change our own behaviour and calling on governments to agree global action when they gather in Glasgow. Climate Sunday helps link this directly with our spiritual life, focusing local churches on the environment in worship, prayer and action."
The chief executive of A Rocha UK, Andy Atkins, who is also the chair of the coalition, said: "With the climate crisis accelerating and the UK due to host the COP26 climate talks in November 2021 in Glasgow, we believe the time has come for all churches across the UK to pray about and act on the climate crisis, as we have done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic." "Our vision is to leave a lasting legacy of thousands of UK churches better equipped to address this critical issue as part of their normal discipleship and mission; and to make a very significant contribution to civil society efforts to secure adequate national and international action at the COP26 conference."
Church congregations can register to participate in Climate Sunday by visiting: www.climatesunday.org, which has service resources for a range of traditions.
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