Climate Emergency recognised by our Diocese

by Michael Ford last modified 20 Nov, 2019 04:24 PM

Our Synod has voted unanimously to recognise the present Climate Emergency and encourage every part of the Diocese to strive to “safeguard the integrity of creation”.

Climate Emergency recognised by our Diocese

Ruth Valerio- original photo by Richard Hancock

The motion, presented to representatives from all over the Diocese, which has 436 parishes and 194 church schools was moved by Archdeacon of Sherborne, the Ven Penny Sayer.

The Motion said:

“This Synod recognises that there is a Climate Emergency and
"i. Encourages every part of the diocese to engage with the Fifth Mark of Mission as exemplified in the Strategic Aims set out in the Diocesan Environment Policy.
"ii. Welcomes the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2020, 'Saying Yes to Life' and recommends it for use in the parishes of the Diocese of Salisbury.”

The Fifth Mark of Mission adopted by the Church of England calls on Christians to "safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth."

On Saturday the Diocese of Bristol also passed a motion using the language of climate emergency.

The two Dioceses are the first in the Church of England to acknowledge the need to engage with the call by The Church of England’s Environmental Working Group for all parts of the Church to recognise the Climate Crisis and step up its action to safeguard God’s creation.

Other Dioceses are expected to move similar motions over the coming months.

Bishop Nicholas, who is also the Church of England’s lead Bishop for the Environment said:

“I am glad our Diocesan Synod recognised the climate emergency. This is the lens through which we see our actions to care for God’s creation. The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book ‘Saying Yes to Life’ by Ruth Valerio will help engage us in this.”

Ruth Valerio is an Environmentalist and theologian, social activist and author who was commissioned by the Archbishop of Canterbury to write his 2020 Lent Book. 'Saying Yes to Life' lifts our focus from every day (and perfectly natural) concerns to issues that are impacting millions of lives around the world.

Ruth Valerio imaginatively draws on the Days of Creation (Genesis 1 - 2.2) in relating themes of light, water, land, the seasons, other creatures, humankind, Sabbath rest and resurrection hope to matters of environmental, ethical and social concern.

Foundational to the book are what it means to be human and, in particular, to be a follower of Jesus during Lent. Voices from other continents are heard throughout, and each chapter ends with discussion questions, a prayer, and specially commissioned art to aid action and contemplation.

The Bishop pledged to give away at least 200 copies of the book to encourage its use throughout the Diocese.

In guidance sent to bishops, dioceses and church leadership teams, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) points to the ambitious programme of action required, with future mission challenges including a need for churches to be ready to provide sanctuary for those affected by extreme weather events in this country and beyond as the impact of climate change accelerates.

The EWG, chaired by the Bishop of Salisbury, brings together experts and representatives who oversee the Church’s Environmental Programme. They plan to bring a motion to General Synod in 2020 proposing revised carbon targets for the Church with an ambition for net zero emissions by 2050, and to move faster in areas where this is possible.

Several areas of focus for 2020 are also identified, and plans for events surrounding COP 26, the UN climate change summit, in Glasgow. Climate change and the environment will also be a central part of the Lambeth 2020 Conference which brings together bishops from the global Anglican Communion.

Speaking at the time Bishop Nicholas said:

“As Christians and as a Church we hope to be good stewards of God’s creation and to care for the environment. We commit to respond to the serious circumstances we face.

“It will need the commitment of everyone in the Church to engage strongly with our communities and establish creative policy frameworks that get the best out of people, not just because of anxiety but for the love of this wonderful creation.”

The full five marks of Mission are:
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

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