Pray and fast for the climate launch speeches

Posted in: News
Date posted: 19 November 2014

‘Pray and fast for the climate’ was launched on Saturday 1 November 2014 with special services in London, Brighton, Lancaster, Coventry, Southwell and Bracknell.

You can listen to Revd Steve Chalke’s talk from the London service at St John’s Waterloo here.

Holly Petersen from SPEAK spoke about why she is inspired by this movement.

“I’m going to talk to you about why I’m really excited about the ‘Pray and fast for the climate’ initiative, and why I believe that it is exactly what is needed for this point in the journey of our fight for climate justice.

Firstly, I’m excited because the issue of climate change is one of the most important, if not the most important issue of our generation. I’m sure that the very fact you have all chosen to attend this service means that you don’t need convincing that the issue of climate change is real and human-caused, and that we all have a duty to be part of the solution.

But just in case a few of you have been dragged along by your friends, I just want to say that this isn’t a peripheral issue for some keen greens to get into, but one that is central to our basic Christian mandate. It isn’t a case of ‘are you passionate about the climate or the environment?’ But actually the question is ‘do you care about anything?’ Because nothing can exist without the environment and the climate that it has evolved to live within.

Why am I so excited about this particular initiative – this pray and fast for the climate? Well there’s two reasons:

  1. Because the Church has a vital part to play in the battle against fossil fuels.
  2. I believe in the power of prayer.

The Church has a vital part to play

What is the Church? A modelling of community, morality and love here on Earth. And as it currently stands, the main Churches of the UK (excluding the Quakers) are currently investing millions of pounds in the fossil fuel industry.

And here is where the value lies. The Church has a history of being at the forefront of fights for morality, of being on the right side in the battle for justice. It played a major role in ending apartheid, for example, and it can still play a major role in addressing the issues of injustice and oppression today.

If these millions of pounds were disinvested from fossil fuel intensive industries and into areas of renewable energy, it would create space for innovation, for progress and a real shift in how fossil fuels are perceived around the world. And as a person who loves the Church, it gives me great joy to think of the potential that lies within it.

Because I believe in the power of prayer

The time for talking, conferences and debates is over.

Around us is a world on the brink of social, environmental and climate catastrophe. Where the extinction rate is 1000 times higher than it should be compared to baseline levels and over 800 million people go to bed hungry every night.

What we need now is action. But what action?

I’m sure you’re all a little bit like me. A bit deflated and frustrated when the marches you’ve been on, the letters you’ve written, the campaigns you’ve joined in with, your posts on facebook, have all been, by enlarge, ignored. And we’re still trundling along the path to runaway climate change. You’re left feeling powerless and asking, what on Earth am I meant to do now?

The answer is… I don’t know. And that is the very reason why we need the power of prayer…

Most of us aren’t even tricking ourselves any more that we know what the real, tangible solutions to this problem are, but as Christians we believe that God does. And so we need to listen to him.

We need to take this initiative to our cell groups, our families, our Churches, our communities and pray and fast together on the first of every month. Go to the website and have a look at the resources and events that you can join in with.

We need to pray regularly together in groups and ask God, with no boundaries, clauses or conditions, to lead us. And see what happens.

What I can guarantee is that the solution is not going to be straightforward or easy. But the real part of faith comes when we step outside of our comfort zone. Creation waits in eager anticipation for the children of God to be revealed. To step up to the plate and play their role in creating Earth as it is in Heaven.

I’m really looking forward to following the journey of this initiative and seeing the exciting things that come from it.”

Holly Petersen


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