Environment Bishops Meet on the Cape

by Gerry Lynch last modified 24 Feb, 2015 09:45 AM

Bishop Nicholas joins Anglican bishops responding to South African Primate's call to combat climate change.

The Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of Southern Africa, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, who is the Chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, has called together a group of bishops from various countries impacted by climate change. Bishop Nicholas, as the Church of England's lead environment bishop will be one of sixteen bishops from every continent attending this significant global Anglican strategic planning conference in Cape Town. 

Science and the experience of the impacts of climate change suggest that in many ways survival is at stake - for human communities, for the ecosystems on which human life depends. Anglicans in different parts of the world are already seeing parishioners face food and water shortages, along with other stresses directly linked to climate change. 

Bishops have been chosen from countries reflecting the great challenges the world faces, from the sea level rise of Fiji, to the deforestation of Argentina, the droughts of Namibia, the tsunamis of the Philippines, the storms of New York, and the warming of the Canadian Arctic. These bishops are united in their commitment to addressing these environmental challenges. 

The bishops and archbishops attending are already active in responding to climate change and environmental degradation as a result of human activity in various ways - through theological exposition and challenge, advocacy, greening churches and communities, and supporting local mitigation. They aim to become visible biblical and moral leaders in the area of climate justice. 

The bishops will learn more from one another about the challenges faced in different parts of the globe, then share the actions and theologies that have been helpful in moving forward in their countries. The goal is to develop a strategic for raising the issue of climate change and environmental degradation throughout the Anglican Communion, making it a leader in combatting climate change globally. Anglican leadership has often been effective in bringing together networks of ecumenical and interfaith partners to change attitudes in government and UN structures. 

The bishops have already built relationships through the internet and have planned carefully to get the most of their time together. The meeting will strengthen these working relationships and aim to act as a catalyst for further action throughout the Communion.  

It isn’t just about bishops and archbishops, however. An important aim of the conference is to inspire more Anglicans to understand that responding to climate change is part and parcel of our baptismal vocation. Change begins when we green our homes, churches and communities and in speak out on behalf of those experiencing the worst effects of climate change. 

Giving a voice to those already deeply affected by the impacts of climate change is a particularly important aim of the conference. They must know that they are remembered and supported, both in prayer and social action.

The following Eco-Bishops will be coming to Cape Town:

Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town and Primate of Southern Africa; Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury; Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare; William Mchombo, Bishop of Eastern Zambia; Ellinah Wamukoya, Bishop of Swaziland; Stephen Moreo, Bishop of Johannesburg; Nathaniel Nakwatumbah, Bishop of Namibia; Apimeleki Qiliho, Bishop in Vanua Levi and Tavueni (Fiji); Thomas Oommen, Bishop of Madhya Kerala (South India); Andrew Chan, Bishop of Hong Kong; Jonathan Casimina, Bishop of Davao (Philippines); Jane Alexander, Bishop of Edmonton (Canada); Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop (Canada); Andrew Dietsche, Bishop of New York; Nick Drayson, Bishop of Northern Argentina; David Chillingworth, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane; and Tom Wilmot, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Perth (Australia).

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