Saturday, March 19, 2016

Earth Hour Activities of Anglicans Faith Communities and Spiritual Groups Around the World

WWF's 10th annual Earth Hour takes place between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 local time on Saturday, March 19, 2016. Six continents, over 170 countries and more than 7000 cities and towns are expected to participate. This annual event calls everyone including people of faith and spiritual communities to turn off their non-essential lights and focus on environmental stewardship and climate action throughout the year. Participating spiritual organizations are being asked to register their involvement and add themselves to the online Earth Hour map.

This year's theme is: Protecting the places we love. We are encouraged to consider the places we love and what impact climate change may have on those places now and in the future.

Churches around the world are very much involved with Earth Hour activities. Anne Meikle, the head of WWF in Wales, said, “Churches can play a vital role in raising awareness of Earth Hour, engaging with your community and inspiring others to live sustainably.”

In Montreal CBC Montreal and the Choeur des enfants de Montréal are teaming up to present the 3rd annual Earth Hour concert at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral. Five youth choirs will perform and all of the Cathedral's lights will be extinguished and candles will be lit.

Anglicans from around the world are taking part in Earth Hour. In Australia 500 people are expected to come together at the Grafton Anglican Cathedral to share their Earth Hour stories and learn more about what they can do to mitigate the harmful impacts of climate change.

In the UK Westminster Abbey, Durham Cathedral, Old Trafford, Canterbury Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey, will also turn off their lights for Earth Hour. In Scotland, more than 120 churches will be taking part in the initiative.

Churches across Wales are being urged to switch off all lights or hold candlelit vigils to mark Earth Hour. This includes St Peter’s Church in Carmarthen town center.

“We’re encouraging all churches and parishioners to mark Earth Hour,” the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, the Rt Revd John Davies, said. The bishop, who speaks on behalf of the Church in Wales’ environment group, CHASE (Church Action for Sustaining the Environment), added: “Switching off our lights for an hour or holding a candlelit service is a small gesture which has huge implications. It reminds us of the part all of us have to play in combating climate change and being responsible stewards of the wonderful gift that is creation.”

The Press Office of the Holy See announced that Vatican City will once again participate. Catholic involvement in Earth Hour has never been more enthusiastic in light of the Pope Francis' environmental encyclical Laudato Si'. St Peter's Basilica is participating and the dome will go dark on Saturday evening. Bernini's colonnade surrounding St Peter's Square will also extinguish its lights for Earth Hour.

The Martha Spirituality Centre in Charlottetown Prince Edward Island will offer a candlelight service of music, readings and prayers for the health of planet Earth during Earth Hour 2016. 

There will also be a number of interfaith activities to commemorate the occasion. North east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light (PA IPL) a nonprofit organization that encourages communities of faith to respond to climate change, will be hosting events at Webster’s Bookstore Café. There will be live music from Revamped, JB5-3 and Los Tikis, poetry readings, silent auctions and more,

"Earth Hour is symbolically important because it shows how people all around the world are going dark to celebrate Earth Hour," Cricket Eccleston Hunter , director of program and outreach of PA IPL, said. Peter Dawson Buckland , academic programs fellow at the Sustainability Institute, will be reading poems related to climate change from his book of poetry, “Heartwood ."

Jonathan Brockopp, associate professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State College said: "People say every day should be Earth Day. Well, every hour should be Earth Hour."

Many other faith communities will also be turning off their lights, this includes mosques like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman and Turkey's Edirne's Selimiye Mosque. Indonesia's iconic Borobudur and Prambanan temples will also be darkened during Earth Hour.

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