Minister's Letter September
This September, we are being encouraged to reflect on the climate crisis and what we may be able to do as individuals and churches to reduce our impact on the planet. I’m sure, like me, you have been affected by pictures on the news of people fleeing wildfires around the world, leaving their homes and belongings to the mercy of the fast-moving flames. Or the images of flooding, with rivers bursting their banks, and homes and livelihoods destroyed by the fast flowing, dirty water. For years we have seen pictures of hungry children in parts of Africa, and wondered, “What can I do?”
The UK is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) from 31st October to 12th November in Glasgow. This is an opportunity for world leaders and climate experts to make plans, and to further commit to, and accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. We hope and pray that this conference will bring real change, and a real commitment to making a difference, not only for ourselves, but for the whole world.
Sunday 5th September has been designated as Climate Sunday. Both churches will be marking this with a special service (5th September at Trinity and 12th September at Hayes Free). These services will be an opportunity not only for us to reflect on creation and to pray for our world, but also to commit ourselves to the journey, to doing what we can as individuals and churches to reduce our impact on the planet.
Genesis 1 tells us that God delights in his creation – ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ (Genesis 1:31), and yet we have damaged the world and caused suffering to God’s people. The burning of fossil fuels and cutting down forests is increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As a result, global temperatures are rising, causing ice caps to melt, sea-levels to rise and changes to the world’s climate. The flooding, wildfires and droughts we are experiencing now, are only going to get worse, particularly for those living in the poorest parts of our world.
As God delighted in his creation, he gave us the responsibility to care for it – ‘The Lord God placed the man in the garden to tend and look after it.’ (Genesis 2:15). Simple everyday actions can and do make a difference. Recycling waste, saving energy, changes to our lifestyle and diet – perhaps eating less meat or driving less, can all make a difference. There may also be changes we could make together, as a church.
We could take part in campaigns and encourage the government as they prepare for COP26. You might want to consider signing the ‘The Time is Now’ declaration, which can be found at https://thetimeisnow.uk/declaration?partner=106, or support those walking to Glasgow with the Young Christian Climate Network (https://www.yccn.uk).
And we can pray – for our world and for our world leaders as they gather in Glasgow later this year, asking that they may reach a good agreement for the future of our wonderful world.
Loving and gracious God, you call us to be stewards of your creation.
We pray for all those affected by climate change, for those who have died, those who have lost their homes or their livelihoods, for those whose crops have failed.
We pray for world leaders as they meet in November for COP26, that they may be willing to take risks, to make the big pledges necessary to minimise the effects of climate change, and then to act on those pledges.
We pray for ourselves, that we may walk softly on the earth, today and in the days ahead. Amen
With love and blessings,