Pray and Fast for the Climate – Launch at Service on 1 Nov
60 -70 people attended the “Pray and Fast for the Climate Service” on 1st November at London – to launch a year of prayer and fasting for climate action.
Ellen Teague gives an excellent account in this article here reproduced from Independent Catholic News :-
“Christian organisations launched a year of prayer and fasting for climate action at special ecumenical services across the country on 1 November 2014. The initiative of the Faith for the Climate Network calls on Christians to pray and fast on the first day of every month to urge more significant measures to stabilise Earth’s climate. Their website contains useful prayer resources. The coming year is a crucial time for faith communities to act as momentum builds towards a new international climate agreement to be signed in Paris in December 2015. “The unrestricted use of fossil fuels should be phased out by 2100 if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change,” said the IPCC, a UN-backed expert panel, this very weekend.
In London, the main launch service took place at St John’s Waterloo, hosted by Christian charity Operation Noah with support from other members of the Faith for the Climate network, including A Rocha, Christian Aid, Christian Ecology Link, OurVoices, Hope for the Future, Shrinking the Footprint and Tearfund. The Baptist Union, the Church of England, the Methodist Church, and the United Reformed Church all support the initiative. Barbara Kentish of Westminster J&P, Ellen Teague of Columban JPIC and Reggie Norton of Christian Climate Action were among the Catholics attending. In line with the commitment to fasting on the first of the month, only drinks were available afterwards as refreshments.
The opening hymn was an ecological one to the tune of Kingsfold, called ‘The God who set the stars in space’ and written by retired Church of England bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith. Canon Giles Goddard, priest at St John’s Waterloo and board member of Operation Noah said during his welcome: “The need for change is urgent and everyone can help bring it about. This is an initiative about hope. Praying and fasting for the climate will inspire action and encourage people to think about what needs to happen. We are calling for justice for all those impacted by climate change now and in the future, and for an ambitious outcome at next year’s climate talks in Paris. We hope people across the country will support the initiative and tell others about it.”
The main speaker, Revd Steve Chalke, Oasis Trust founder, picked up on the first reading from Genesis 1. “A self-centred approach to our planet which picks the riches of the Earth for us and not for others is not in keeping with Genesis 1” he said. “We pray and fast because we are part of this ecosystem gifted to us in Genesis 1” he added “and real prayer moves out of the head and into campaigning and out on the street”.
There was a prayer at the service for “positive media coverage”, highlighting that the media has not always underlined that 98% of the world’s scientists are saying that global warming is happening and is human-induced.
Barbara Echlin of Christian Ecology Link and Operation Noah reminded that the latter is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It was a decade ago that hundreds attended the launch event for the Christian Climate organisation in Coventry, which included a rainbow procession through the streets, a liturgy of repentance in the ruins of the old cathedral, and a service in the new Coventry cathedral. Catholic groups, including the National Board of Catholic Women, the National Justice and Peace Network and Columban JPIC, were present.
Other services took place on 1 November across the UK, including Brighton, Coventry, Lancaster and Southwell. People were encouraged to spread the movement far and wide by hosting monthly prayer and fasting events. Political pressure is being placed on UK politicians and church leaders to make bold commitments to tackle climate change ahead of the UK general election and beyond.
This prayer movement builds upon the ‘Fast for the Climate’ initiative begun at the 2013 UN climate talks by Yeb Sano, the Filipino delegate, in the wake of the devastation caused in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan. Yeb has continued to fast on the first of every month, joined by people from all around the world.
Prayer resources and information about events can be found at: www.prayandfastfortheclimate.org.uk
Operation Noah is an ecumenical Christian charity providing leadership, focus and inspiration in response to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change. www.operationnoah.org
News of the latest IPCC report at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29855884