We’re marking World Environment Day with the launch of Climate Sunday, an initiative organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland with support from Operation Noah and other charities including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund and A Rocha UK.
We’re encouraging local churches to hold a local Climate Sunday at any time during the 12 months starting on 6 September 2020 (the first Sunday in the annual season of Creationtide). Climate Sunday will provide free resources to suit every tradition and style of worship to help each church do this. During their local Climate Sunday, we invite each church to do one or more of three things:
- Climate service: Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action.
- Commit: Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions.
- Call: Join with other churches and wider society by adding its name to a common call for the UK government to take much bolder action on climate change in this country in advance of COP26, and to strengthen its credibility to lead the international community to adopt a step change in action at COP26. The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5 September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26.
More than 3,400* local churches are already registered with the main church greening schemes, but with the climate crisis accelerating and the UK due to host the rescheduled COP26 climate talks in November 2021 in Glasgow, we believe the time has come for all churches across the UK to pray about and act on the climate crisis.
Director of Global Advocacy at Tearfund, Dr Ruth Valerio, author of Saying Yes to Life: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s 2020 Lent Book, said: ‘The current crisis has changed the way we see the world. It has reminded us of the fragility of life, exposed the gap between rich and poor, and revealed the damage we’ve done to the wider creation. But it has also helped us love our neighbours and brought communities together. Climate Sunday is a great opportunity to respond to these societal shifts; to pause and reimagine what life could be like; to commit to living differently ourselves and to call on the UK government to rebuild our economy in a way that tackles the climate emergency and builds a better world for everyone.’
Chief Executive of A Rocha UK, Andy Atkins, and chair of the coalition, said: ‘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 COP26 conference.’
Read a blog about Climate Sunday by Andy Atkins, CEO of A Rocha UK and Chair of the Climate Sunday Steering Group.
* As of 31 May 2020, more than 3,400 of the UK’s 50,000 churches were members of one of the following schemes: Eco Church (England and Wales) 2,800; Eco Congregation Scotland 500 and Ireland; Live Simply (Catholic Churches in England and Wales) 120 parishes.