Faith leaders in Britain and Ireland have have pledged to fast and pray for the success of key international negotiations over climate change in a new declaration warning of the challenges facing the world over global warming. They released today a declaration on climate change which I post below.
Today is also the eve, of course, of a much anticipated Papal Encyclical on this subject which will be published tomorrow, 18 June. The Papal Encyclical is entitled Laudato Sii, or “Praised be”, from words used by St Francis of Assisi in a canticle in which he praises "Brother Son","Sister Moon", "Brother Wind" and "Sister Water".
The canticle can be found in our Church of England Common Worship: Daily Prayer as canticle 84 on page 641. Perhaps it could be prayed daily between now and the Climate Summit in Paris in December. Many may also know a hymn version "All Creatures of Our God and King".
The text of the Lambeth Declaration is below:
Lambeth Declaration 2015 on Climate Change
As leaders of the faith communities we recognise the urgent need for action on climate change.
From the perspective of our different faiths we see the earth as a beautiful gift. We are all called to care for the earth and have a responsibility to live creatively and sustainably in a world of finite resources.
Climate change is already disproportionately affecting the poorest in the world. The demands of justice as well as of creation require the nations of the world urgently to limit the global rise in average temperatures to a maximum of 2 degrees C, as agreed by the United Nations in Cancun. We have a responsibility to act now, for ourselves, our neighbours and for future generations.
The scale of change needed to make the transition to a low carbon economy is considerable and the task urgent. We need to apply the best of our intellectual, economic and political resources. Spirituality is a powerful agent of change. Faith has a crucial role to play in resourcing both individual and collective change.
We call on our faith communities to:
- Recognise the urgency of the tasks involved in making the transition to a low carbon economy.
- Develop the spiritual and theological resources that will strengthen us individually and together in our care of the earth, each other and future generations.
- Encourage and pray for those engaged in the intellectual, economic, political and spiritual effort needed to address this crisis.
- Work with our communities and partners in the UK and internationally to mitigate the effects of climate change on the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world;
- Build on the examples of local and international action to live and to work together sustainably,
- Redouble our efforts to reduce emissions that result from our own institutional and individual activities.
As representatives of the vast numbers of people of faith across the globe we urge our Government to use their influence to achieve a legally-binding commitment at the international Climate Change talks in Paris, and with the continuing programme beyond. Through our various traditions we bring our prayers for the success of the negotiations.
We call with humility, with a determination enlivened by our faith and with awareness of the need for courage, justice and hope. We are faced with a huge challenge. But we are hopeful that the necessary changes can be made - for the sake of all who share this world today - and those who will share it tomorrow.
Signatories to the Lambeth Declaration 2015 include:
Most Revd & Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Rt Revd Dr Joe Aldred, Acting General Secretary, Pentecostal and Multicultural Relations, Churches Together in England
Rt Revd John Arnold on behalf of Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster
Rt Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London
Rt Revd Richard Cheetham, Bishop of Kingston
Most Revd David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Most Revd Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh
Gauri Das, ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) Bhaktivedanta Manor
Mrs Gill Dascombe, Vice President of the Methodist Conference
Rt Revd John Davies, Church and Society for the Church in Wales
Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe
Revd David Grosch-Miller, Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church
Revd Torbjorn Holt, Chairman, on behalf of the Trustees of the Council of Lutheran Churches
Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and lead bishop for the Environment
Revd Kenneth Howcroft, President of the Methodist Conference
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism
Rt Revd James Jones, former Bishop of Liverpool
Mr James Laing, on behalf of the Trustees of the Council of Lutheran Churches
Rt Revd Martin Lind, Lutheran Church in Great Britain
Rt Revd Dr Geevarghese Mar Theodosius, The Mar Thoma Church, New York
Mervyn McCullagh, Executive Officer, Irish Council of Churches
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Ibrahim Mogra, Shia President of the Christian Muslim Forum
Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales
Revd John Proctor, General Secretary, The United Reformed Church
Ven B Seelawimala, Chief Sangha Nayake of Great Britain
Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York
Indarjit Singh, Director, Network of Sikh Organisations
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak
Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Dudley
Revd Dr Donald Watts, Irish Council of Churches
Vivian Wineman, Co-Chair of the Inter Faith Network for the United Kingdom
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg Masorti