Climate Pilgrimage to Paris

by Gerry Lynch last modified 04 Aug, 2015 11:43 AM

Pilgrims sought to join walk from London to the French capital to coincide with crunch global climate talks.

Schools, churches and individuals are being encouraged by Bishop Nicholas to show their support for a 250-mile pilgrimage from London to Paris aimed at encouraging world leaders to agree a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

The Church of England is launching the pilgrimage to Paris with an invitation to participate by walking some or all of the route, cheer on pilgrims as they pass by schools or other local centres, or by holding ‘mini-pilgrimages’ in local communities and prayer vigils for the success of the talks. You can learn more at the Pilgrimage2Paris website: www.pilgrimage2paris.org.uk.

The pilgrimage will begin at St Martin-in-the-Fields in central London on November 13 and finish in the French capital on November 27, as negotiators from more than 190 nations gather for the start of the talks.

The pilgrims will hand in campaign petitions to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on November 28 before joining an interfaith gathering and a mass mobilisation of prayer in Paris.

Bishop Nicholas, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop on the environment, said, “It is really important we join the journey – and we can do it in all sorts of ways, either by taking part in all or part of the pilgrimage, or by gathering people to pray within our own communities.

“Through our prayers and our pilgrimage we are strengthening and encouraging those taking part in the Paris talks to reach fair, accountable and firm commitments which will change the way we act and move us towards a low carbon economy.”

The group will be joining Christians around the world taking part in pilgrimages to raise awareness of the talks.

James Buchanan, project coordinator for the Paris pilgrimage, said, “Embarking on a pilgrimage is an important event both in Christian and other faith traditions, with both the journey and the destination having a spiritual significance. The Pilgrimage2Paris follows in this tradition, as the Church seeks to have a strong voice in the climate change talks in Paris this December, with people from across the UK making the journey in faith that a lasting agreement can be made for a low carbon future.”

The pilgrimage has the backing of the Church of England and major aid agencies, Christian Aid, Tearfund and CAFOD.

It comes after the General Synod, the Church of England’s national assembly, last month overwhelmingly backed calls for urgent action to tackle climate change, acknowledging that global warming is already hitting the poorest of the world hardest.

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