Letter from the Bishop of London: Taking action in response to climate change
To all licensed clergy
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Taking action in response to climate change
Christians across our diocese are engaged in seeking to respond prayerfully to climate change. Jesus commands us to love our neighbours as ourselves. Climate change impacts our poorest and most vulnerable ‘neighbours’ most severely. These are the very people we are instructed to show particular care for.
Next year our Lent Appeal will be focussed on ALMA, the diocesan partnership between the Anglican Church in Angola, London, and Mozambique. Precisely the kind of neighbours to which I refer. Out of love for them, and all those affected, please join me in asking God to guide and inspire us to find the courage to live and act differently that we may be good stewards of the earth.
Having just celebrated harvest festival and remembered God’s provision in creation, here are some ways that you might wish to engage in promoting the care of creation this autumn.
During October (7-20th), Extinction Rebellion UK are organising various actions in central London. As a diocese we may not be able to fully endorse all of these, but nonetheless we know that in the London diocese many churches and individuals are already concerned and are praying, talking and taking actions.
We are now encouraging churches to between October 7th and October 20th to raise awareness and to take time to reflect on the issues we are all facing.
Begin with prayer
The Bishop of Oxford has written this helpful prayer, encouraging us to play our part in caring for the earth. Consider joining with churches across the diocese in using this or a similar prayer in your Sunday services or midweek gatherings in October.
Creator of our common home,
You fill the earth and sea and sky with life
Forgive us our neglect of your creation
The choking waste of our pollution
The damage done by careless habits
And our indifference to future generations.
Help us to amend our lives
To refuse more plastic if we can’t reuse it
To lift our voice for lasting change
And to live well and gently on the earth
To the glory of your Son, the Living Word
Through whom you made this fragile world.
Rt Revd Steven Croft
Bishop of Oxford
Consider your personal response
Brian Cuthbertson, Head of Environment and Sustainability for the Diocese has written a helpful article on how we can make responsible decisions personally in light of climate change.
Open the doors of our churches
We are also encouraging all churches to open their doors so that people can come together to pray and reflect during the two weeks of action, reaching out to both congregation members and those outside the church. There may already be those in your congregations and parishes who are grieving for what is happening to God’s beautiful creation, and this may be a time when we as clergy can come alongside individuals in their sorrow and desire for action.
Protest peacefully and legally
We recognise that not veryone across the churches of our diocese will be comfortable with public protests, even when non-violent and peaceful. It is worth noting however, that there is a long history of Christians taking a public stand for matters of faith and justice. We cannot however, condone any approach that breaks the law.
Some churches may have been approached to consider coordinated ringing of their bells as an audible sign of our collective support for Global Climate Action.
For your information, Christian Climate Action have been working for many years to raise awareness of climate change and support Christians in thinking about their response to this. Between October 7th and October 20th this year, Christian Climate Action will be joining with Extinction Rebellion to highlight the serious perils that the world is facing. They will be joining with other faith groups on Lambeth Bridge during that period to pray, talk, sing, and dance.
Equip our churches
There are resources for Sunday services produced by A Rocha as well as study material that can be found here.
Operation Noah, another Christian organisation working to inspire action on climate change has produced a four part study series that helps churches to reflect on the challenges of climate change.
In the meantime for more general information and where to find out information please visit the environment pages on our website as well as those of the Church of England.
If you would like someone to speak to your deanery or to your church please contact Brian Cuthbertson, Head of Environment and Sustainability for the Diocese.
The Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dame Sarah Mullally DBE