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Churches up and down the country have been running Climate Sunday services since the initiative launched in September. Operation Noah trustee, David Miller, explains how his church put on an online service.
The opportunity to help our church – currently in the middle of an interregnum – by proposing a preacher and sermon subject for Sept 6th was too good to miss! Our church, Whaddon Way Church, is an ecumenical church in Bletchley, an established town in the south-west of Milton Keynes.
So it was that the Revd Steve Barnes, retired chaplain of our local hospice, preached at our Zoom service on Climate Sunday. Steve cares passionately about the environment and for many years he and I have worked together as participants in our local Green Christian group.
Steve proposed that, in a similar way that cells reproducing in an uncontrolled way (cancer) have a catastrophic effect on our bodies, humanity’s ever-growing consumption of resources and generation of pollution including greenhouse gases, are destroying the natural world created by God and for which we are supposed to be exercising care and protection. Particularly in the rich west, we have allowed ourselves to become addicted to the pursuit of having more, better, newer, faster, and no longer recognise when enough is enough.
Whereas any member of the human race should be concerned about the way their present actions may be compromising the future for our children and grandchildren, Steve argued that for Christians this represents a spiritual problem. Referring to the old testament passage we had read (Ezekiel 33:7-11) Steve explained that we need to become modern-day prophets, warning of the wrong path being travelled and the consequences for the world God has created. Failure to do so will result in God holding us responsible.
Jesus came to give us life in all its fulness and to bring joy, peace and love. When we pray Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done on earth, we are effectively saying to God that we desire a world which is in keeping with how He intends it to be. He wants us to be participants in that project!
After the Zoom service, Steve moved around several of the breakout rooms and discovered many folks enthusiastic about exploring what actions they could take to address the environmental challenges that face us. The trustees have agreed to set up a working group tasked with proposing a way forward for the church. At the time of writing, the first volunteers have already come forward…..
Climate Sunday, an initiative proposed by Operation Noah and organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland’s Environmental Issues Network, with support almost 20 organisations, is asking churches to hold a climate-focused service between now and 5th September 2021, to make a commitment to take long term action to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and to use their voice to tell politicians we want a cleaner, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild a strong economy. Find out more.