Source: A Rocha
With just 100 days to go to COP26 – the critical international climate negotiations that the UK government will host and chair in Glasgow in November – a broad coalition of Christian denominations and charities is calling on all churches to hold a ‘Climate Sunday’ and to commit to effective action themselves, before the start of the talks. So far, more than 1,500 churches in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland are participating and hundreds more, including several cathedrals, are planning to do so.
This widespread adoption of the initiative in various church traditions indicates a growing commitment by churches to act on climate change and to demand that the government act as well.
The Climate Sunday Initiative wants Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to present national policies ahead of the international conference, in order to get the UK back on track with its own emissions targets. He also calls on the government, in its role as president of COP26, to seek faster and deeper global emission reductions and provide long-promised funding to help poorer countries adjust to deregulation. climate they already know.
Climate scientists in churches and charities are deeply concerned that the UK government is undermining its influence to achieve a successful COP26 outcome by failing to implement policies to meet the country’s own emissions targets. UK and reducing the UK’s overseas aid budget, there is therefore a need to act quickly before the COP to restore its own credibility as a ‘climate leader’.
The Climate Sunday initiative is the largest church response to the UK climate crisis ahead of COP26. Participating churches are invited to do three things: organize a climate-focused service to explore the science and theology around addressing man-made climate disruption; commit themselves to taking concrete, ongoing steps themselves and signing a joint call for government action – the Time is Now Declaration. A website contains a “toolkit” of free resources and allows churches to register their engagement. Typically, churches commit to progress through one of the three major “church greening programs” (see Notes). Many are “speaking out” for the first time, joining tens of thousands of other members of the public, organizations and other faith groups in signing the Time is Now declaration.
A key milestone in the campaign ahead of COP26 will be a national Climate Sunday event in Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday 5 September 2021. This will celebrate the commitments made by churches so far and present the government with a list of those commitments and signatories from all churches that have signed the Time is Now declaration. The final total of participating churches and pledges will be presented to the government at the COP itself.
Andy Atkins, chairman of the Climate Sunday Coalition and member of the CEO A Rocha UK coalition, a Christian nature conservation charity A Rocha UK, said: “The climate crisis is escalating alarmingly; but we have the unique opportunity in rich countries to speed up solutions by directing Covid recovery funds towards building a new green economy. Right now, the government is in danger of “building it worse”. So, there has never been a more crucial time for UK churches to come together to pray, act locally and speak out nationally on the climate crisis and the need to ‘rebuild greener’
Christine Allen, director of CAFOD, the largest Catholic overseas aid and development charity in England and Wales, and members of the coalition said: “It becomes a matter of integrity for churches to tidy up their own homes in the face of this threat to people and nature. Local faith communities across Britain and Ireland are also signaling loud and clear that they expect the Westminster government to also show integrity and put the UK on track to achieve its own emissions targets before chairing the UN climate negotiations in November.
Hannah Eves, member of the Young Christian Climate Network which also supports the coalition, from Northern Ireland said: “It is five minutes to midnight to avoid catastrophic climate change. We are delighted to see churches act now on the concerns of my generation. But the big statements we hear from government are so often undermined by contradictory actions. Boris Johnson says “We are committed to a net zero”, then launches a massive new program of road construction for example. The whole world is our government must get its own house in order quickly, to have a fighting chance to deliver a successful COP for the world and my generation. “
The Climate Sunday initiative, organized by the Network of Churches Together in Great Britain and Ireland (CTBI) on Environmental Issues (EIN), is the UK’s largest joint project planned by the British Churches on climate change .
The vision of Climate Sunday is to leave a lasting legacy for thousands of churches better equipped to address this critical issue as part of their discipleship and mission and to make a meaningful contribution to civil society efforts to ensure adequate national and international action at COP26.
The collective action and commitments of local churches across Britain and Ireland will be presented to the UK government at a Nations Climate Sunday Service in Glasgow on Sunday September 5, 2021. More details on this event will be published shortly.
Climate Sunday has formal support from CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund, The Salvation Army, A Rocha UK, Operation Noah, Climate Stewards, Eco-Congregation Scotland, Eco-Congregation Ireland, Green Christian, Church of England, Conference Catholic Episcopal Church of England and Wales, Methodist Church, Baptist Union of Great Britain, Baptist Union of Wales, United Reformed Church, Church of Scotland, Churches united in Wales, the Union of Welsh Independents, Church in Wales, World Vision, The John Ray Initiative, USPG, The United Reformed Church, The Salvation Army, Joint Public Issues Team, Churches Together in Britain & Ireland, Christian Concern for One World, Church of Ireland, Young Christian Climate Network, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Free Climate Sunday Resources: www.climatesunday.org
The time is now Statement: https://thetimeisnow.uk/
Church greening programs:
Eco Church, run by A Rocha UK, for churches in England and Wales – https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk
Eco-Congregation Scotland – www.ecocongregationscotland.org
Eco-Congregation Ireland – www.ecocongregationireland.com/
Live simply – https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Livesimply-award
Keywords: COP26, # Faiths4COP26, EcoCongregations, Time is Now Declaration, A Rocha
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