Churches can work together to help tackle the climate emergency

The climate crisis is an existential crisis that will determine everybody’s future. Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, has said that the Church should repent of the way it has treated the planet.  

At a gathering in 2019 he said, “We confess that we have polluted our own atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change that have increased poverty in many parts of our planet. We have contributed to crises and been more concerned with getting gold than keeping our planet green. We have loved progress more than the planet. We are sorry.” Read more here

Working for climate justice is sometimes referred to as the ‘fifth mark of mission’ – ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth’ (read more about the five marks of mission).

At CTE we support and encourage the work that Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) does around this fifth mark of mission.  

Climate Sunday is an excellent starting point for churches, with free resources available to help churches mark this occasion on a specific Sunday of their choice. During their local Climate Sunday, CTBI explains that churches are invited to do one or more of three things: 

  1. 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. 
  1. Commit: Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions. 
  1. 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 5th September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26. 

Further resources 

There are also other resources and opportunities for churches to go beyond their own church communities and partner together. 

Christian Climate Action describes itself as a “community of Christians supporting each other to take meaningful action in the face of imminent and catastrophic anthropogenic climate breakdown. Inspired by Jesus Christ, and social justice movements of the past, we carry out acts of non-violent direct action to urge those in power to make the change needed.” (Read more about their pilgrimage ahead of the G7 Summit).

Green Christian is another movement started in the early 1980s which has the tag line ‘ordinary Christians, extraordinary times’. They have excellent resources on developing a Green Christian way of life, which includes four disciplines including prayer and devotions, living gently, public witness and encouragement. 

Other excellent organisations are:  

  • the John Ray Initiative – an educational charity with a vision to bring together scientific and Christian understandings of the environment. 
  • A Rocha UK is Christian charity working for the protection and restoration of the natural world and committed to equipping Christians and churches in the UK to care for the environment. They are part of CTE’s Charities and Networks in Association.
  • the Young Christian Climate Network – established in 2020, they are an action-focused community of young Christians in the UK aged 18-30, choosing to follow Jesus in the pursuit of climate justice. You can follow YCCN on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (all @YCCNetwork).