To Faith Leaders of Southern Africa
I am sure you are all becoming aware of the impending crisis of climate change and the need to deal with it realistically at Copenhagen when the UN Climate Change Conference meets from 7th to 18th December.
There is also an increasing acknowledgement that it may only be through the intervention of faith communities that we will be able to bring about the changes needed if we are to leave a sustainable world to our children. Climate change is a moral issue and therefore involves us.
I now write as a matter of urgency to ask you to promote and join in the following:
- A Call to prayer
I hope we can all join in this. The suggestions are:
- 23rd to 25th October: We ask you to hold prayers and sermons over the week-end of 23rd to 25th October in support of the day of symbolic action on Saturday 24th October.(See paragraph 2 below)
1.2 Preparatory prayers for the build up to Copenhagen. We hope to send weekly prayers with suggested sermon outlines as we approach the Copenhagen Climate Conference.
- 11th to 13th December: Special prayers and worship over the weekend during Copenhagen from 11th - 13th December. This is when the WCC will be holding a worship service and the Archbishop of Canterbury will be preaching.
- A daily mid-day prayer: I believe this to be most important. Some of you will recollect that during the years of the struggle, many people of faith held a daily two-minute time of prayer for justice and peace for South Africa. We now need to pray for justice and peace globally, praying for “Climate Justice Now” for all people and all of creation.
If you have any suggestions for brief prayers, we would welcome them.
A few suggestions are:
- We pray for Justice for all people and all creation, that peace may reign – throughout the earth.
2.2 Keep 1 minute of silence
- I pray for the courage and love to bring forth a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling community and world, and I pray the same for our leaders.
- I pray for justice and peace in my home, community, country and world.
- May we be Earth keepers (Genesis 2:15) to all for whom the earth is ‘home’.
- Participation in the day of symbolic action – 24th October.
I attach a request from Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, and Prof. Mary Evelyn Tucker of The Forum on Religion and Ecology, asking us all “to help make this the most widespread day of witness the world has ever seen.” Please offer prayers and bring this to the attention of your congregations over that week-end. If you can’t ring your bells or undertake some other symbolic action on Saturday 24th October, please do so on Friday 23rd or Sunday 25th October as part of your regular worship.
- Raising awareness
I hope that you will continue to raise awareness among your faith community of the importance of caring for God’s creation. We will attach a list of resources available from SAFCEI which will help you in this important work. There is also a12 minute DVD available, entitled: Religious Leaders for a Sustainable Future.
- SACC Statement: Climate Change – A challenge to churches in South Africa
This 90 page Christian document provides an excellent theological background to climate change and the challenge it presents to us. It emanates largely from a group of theologians working with Professor Ernst Conradie, following a meeting between SAFCEI and Kerkinactie – of the Protestant Church in Holland. Electronic copies are obtainable from SAFCEI (firstname.lastname@example.org) or the South African Council of Churches (email@example.com). We ask you to consider endorsing this and distributing it among your congregations.
Please let us know if you would like to receive prayers and outline sermons over the next few weeks.
With all good wishes as you seek to care for God’s creation.
Bishop Geoff Davies