Dear Sisters and Brothers,
One starting point for a Christian approach to the climate emergency can be found in the New Testament Letter to the Colossians (1: 15-20.) The writer shatters any illusion that the world was created for our convenience and is ours to use and abuse as we wish. Talking about Christ we read, "all things have been created through him and for him." (v.16.) We then read about God's purpose that is made known in Christ which is "to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross." The message is that the whole of creation is destined to be caught up in God's promised salvation.
For Christians, facing up to the challenge of climate change is not just an option for the enthusiasts nor a distraction from our main purpose. It is how we can join in God's mission in the current age and be part of God's movement for the renewal and reconciliation of all things. For Christians, taking action about climate change is a sign of hope in God's future and a way of making known the gospel of God's reconciling love that encompasses all things.
The fact that global warming is caused by human activity that releases tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is beyond dispute. The results are having a devastating effect already, particularly on those who are most vulnerable. Those who have contributed the least to the emergency are suffering the most. Oxfam points out that droughts and floods are becoming more frequent while growing seasons for crops are more unpredictable. The result is that millions go hungry.
The focus is currently on the COP26 gathering in Glasgow. The success of that gathering will not be shown in grand statements, but in the action that needs to be taken by nations working together as a matter of urgency. We can do things that make a difference in our own lives and as churches. Several of the churches in the Gloucestershire circuit have bronze awards from Eco Church, and some have achieved the silver award. This means that we are making progress to becoming an Eco Circuit. Doing this means making changes that are a stretch, but achievable. The awards programme involves looking at buildings, land, personal lifestyle, engagement with the local and global community and reviewing worship and teaching programmes.
If you want to know more about your church working towards an eco award get in touch with the Circuit Social and Climate Justice Group. (If you contact me I can send the details.)
With every blessing,
Revd John Hellyer