Operation Noah hosted an ecumenical climate service before the ‘Time to Act’ national climate march on Saturday, 7 March, at St Mary le Strand Church. As party leaders made pledges to tackle climate change ahead of the election in May, civil society – including the faith community – was marching to say that the time for words and promises is over, that now is the time to act.
Ruth Jarman of Green Christian and Operation Noah, who was there with her son, said, ‘2015 is a big year for the climate. The climate talks in Paris this December are crucial if we’re going to protect all that we love. And the election in May needs to be informed by science and justice, not fear and greed.‘
The preacher at the climate service was the former US serviceman, now peace activist, Scott Albrecht, who lives on the Catholic Worker Farm with 21 homeless women and children. To a church of 200 people, which was overflowing onto the steps, he shared his insights into what the climate movement might learn from the Christian peace movement.
Scott said, ‘We are baptised as priests, prophets and kings. As priests the huge responsibility to sanctify this world rests on us. Man stands before creation as High Priest. As prophets we must do three things. Firstly, we must grasp reality – we must see the world as it really is. Secondly, we must be willing to bear the burden of reality. Third, it is only when we bear the burden of reality that we can change the course of reality. And finally, as kings we are called to serve the beloved community, especially the poor.
‘The Prophets were able to see Torah, or God’s will, and also the reality of injustice around them. A Christian should have the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other. And with that vision, we can speak truth to power. We are called to be prophets, to participate in Jesus’ prophetic reality, which means that we have to take responsibility in making this world a holy place – a place where people can live in peace and unafraid.
‘The powerful are only beginning to accept the reality of climate change and are still doing too little too late. We have a responsibility, given to humanity by the Creator, and that is to tend to the Earth like one would to one’s own mother; for indeed it is. We need to develop a relationship of mutuality, love and respect and nurse her back to health!’
Green Christian member, Westley Ingram, added, ‘What does it mean for the Christian community to act faithfully as we watch the devastation of God’s beloved creation? Since “Peace on Earth” must be our call for this election season, perhaps we can learn something from the example of people in the Christian peace movement, who have put their lives and liberty on the line for generations.’
After the service, the congregation joined other faith groups and marched through London as a multi-faith block.
Ruth’s son, Tom, aged 10, who played the bongos in the service, said, ‘I wanted to come on this march because people are behaving as if we have a million worlds to live on – as if we were aliens destroying a planet, and flying off to another one. But we’ve only got one world, so we need to look after it.’ His friend, Nick, said, ‘It was a really fun day but the best bit for me was knowing I was doing something to save the world.’
Join Green Christian and Operation Noah at the next climate jamboree in Central London on Wednesday, June 17th!