(Churches Together in Britain and Ireland)
The following letter is from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland regarding a new initiative - Climate Sunday.
Re: Climate Sunday
I write to inform you about an important initiative being planned for this year, when the UK will host the UN climate negotiations or COP26, in November. This is Climate Sunday. Its purpose is to help churches across the country engage well with this massive moral, practical and increasingly pastoral issue, and to contribute their actions and voice to achieve much faster progress in addressing climate change. Your organisation may already be involved at some level and we are keen to ensure senior figures/General Secretaries/CEOS are aware of Climate Sunday before it is announced more publicly in the weeks to come.
The Climate Sunday initiative is calling on all local churches, denominations, ‘streams’ and networks to hold a climate-focused service on 6 September preferably, but definitely during the period of 1 September - 4 October, which is recognised by a growing number of denominations as ‘Creationtide’.
At this service congregations will be encouraged to make a short and simple commitment to greater action to address climate change in their own place of worship and community, and to raise their voice to urge bolder action by governments. A variety of service materials and other resources will be made available in advance so that churches can select what is most appropriate to their tradition and needs. 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 start of this most critical decade.
Climate Sunday is being organised by the CTBI’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, Operation Noah, Green Christian, the Church of England, the Methodist Church, The Baptist Church, the United Reform Church, The Church of Scotland and the Church in Wales.
As you will be more than aware, public concern about climate change has soared in the last couple of years as stark evidence of its impact on people and nature now, comes to the fore, and casts a shadow over future generations. We believe that an essential part of the Churches’ mission is to care for God’s creation in the environment – which sustains all life – to defend the poor and the vulnerable who are most affected by climate change, and to offer practical hope in these anxious times. We also believe that the UK churches have unique moral and physical assets – including a presence in every village, town and neighbourhood – which they can bring to the generational challenge of addressing climate change. And in the year when the UK hosts the critical UN negotiations, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to encourage our own government to be ambitious for what COP can achieve, and to lead by example by instigating much bolder domestic climate change action.
We are in the process of recruiting a project coordinator and expect to have a simple dedicated website available by the end of April. In the meantime, more information about Climate Sunday will be published on the CTBI website and those of some participating organisations by the time we launch publicly in March.
If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either of us.
Secretary General, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
CEO of A Rocha UK, Chair of EIN and Climate Sunday Steering Group