Monday, January 22, 2018

Anglican Primates Invited to Share Views on Caring for Creation

The 39 Primates in the Anglican Communion have been asked to share their views about what it means to care for God’s creation. The Primates who together represent tens of millions of people are being encouraged to write about their local environments and our common planetary home. They are invited to include illustrations, photographs, paintings and video. These creations will be featured at the launch of the Global Climate Action Summit which is being held in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on September 12, 2018. The submissions will also be exhibited in Lambeth Palace during Creationtide (Sept.1 - Oct. 4). Lambeth Palace is the official London residence and offices of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  This project will go on display ahead of the Lambeth Conference, God’s Church for God’s World in 2020. The conference is expected to bear witness to the Anglican Communion’s 5th Mark of Mission: "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior bishop of the worldwide Anglican Communion proposed the project at the Primates’ meeting in Canterbury in 2017 where they agreed on the need for climate action. In a communiqué, the primates said that they were "deeply concerned" about the severe impact climate change and said: "We understood the importance of giving moral leadership because the effects of climate change are not evenly distributed. Drought and flooding most affect the poorest of the poor, with the least resources to rebuild a home, replant a field or seek medical care for flood-borne illnesses. We recommitted ourselves to advocate for improved stewardship of God’s creation."

As explained by Archbishop Welby we have a duty to act in response to the climate crisis:

"We believe that responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God's creation. Our environmental campaign exists to enable the whole church to address - in faith, practice and mission - the issue of climate change. Actions have to change for words to have effect."

Archbishop Welby wrote in the New York Times:
"As people of faith, we don’t just state our beliefs — we live them out. One belief is that we find purpose and joy in loving our neighbours. Another is that we are charged by our creator with taking good care of his creation. The moral crisis of climate change is an opportunity to find purpose and joy, and to respond to our creator’s charge. Reducing the causes of climate change is essential to the life of faith. It is a way to love our neighbour and to steward the gift of creation."
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment explained:
"There is no doubt that the Care of God’s creation is a priority for the Anglican Communion. It is an issue where a strong consensus continues to grow about the urgency for action to make the transition to a low carbon economy and to address the degradation of biodiversity. This subject strongly engages young people, is missionary and evangelistic, and is a major aspect of our care for the poorest in God’s world."
Archbishops from Brazil, Australia, Central Africa, Polynesia and Cape Town have written letters about climate change and sent them to world leaders. They have specifically pointed out that the poor and vulnerable are most at risk from climate change. They further urged leaders to honour the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement.

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