Theological Reflections on the Climate and Creation Emergency

In preparation for COP26, Green Christian invited some leading faith leaders, theologians and climate activists to offer reflections on how our faith, and wisdom from our traditions, could inspire us to hope, pray and act in the face of the task ahead.

Post-COP26, we find these reflections are still helpful and hope you do too.

The Very Revd Dr Frances E F Ward

The Very Revd Dr Frances E F Ward, now in parish ministry in Cumbria. Author of Like There’s No Tomorrow: Climate crisis, eco-anxiety and God 

The Wild Patience of God: A Christian Perspective

Humanity needs to listen out for the wild patience of God, who creates and sustains the universe, despite the human sin that desecrates the natural world. The sound of God’s moral purpose is there – not only for humanity, but for the whole of creation of which we are a part.

Professor Tim Gorringe

Professor Tim Gorringe, MA, MPhil, DD (Oxon) is Emeritus Professor of Theological Studies, University of Exeter.

COP26 reflection from Professor Tim Gorringe

The second creation story begins by telling us that “adam” – the man – was taken from the earth, adamah (Genesis 2:4b). In other words, humans are part of creation. They do not live in an “environment” but are indissolubly linked with every other part of creation: “everything is related to everything else” as the ecologists tell us.

Elizabeth Theokritoff

Elizabeth Theokritoff is an associate lecturer at the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge. She is the author of Living in God’s Creation: Orthodox Perspectives on Ecology (St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2009) as well as numerous articles.

The Ascetic Vision: An Orthodox Christian contribution

The ascetic discipline holds such an important place in Christian tradition, as the way we learn the practice of love. Ascesis (“exercise”) is training for the wrestling match with our self-will, the wants and desires that enslave us and torment us when we cannot fulfil them on demand. 

Edward P Echlin

Edward P Echlin (1930-2019) as an academic became an intellectual pioneer for the Christian environmental movement. He wrote extensively relating Jesus Christ to the Earth. Barbara Echlin has chosen these two extracts from The Cosmic Circle, Jesus and Ecology (2004)

A new way of thinking

The threat King Alfred confronted when Danes, “with horned heads” and “scarlet beards like blood”, swept into Wessex, demanded faith, hope – and resolute damage limitation. The climate crisis is even more frightening than that which faced Alfred and Wessex. 

Melanie Nazareth

Melanie Nazareth, mother to four young adults and a barrister with a practice in children work, whose ecological conversion followed an encounter with Extinction Rebellion in April 2019, is an activist within Christian Climate Action.

COP Reflection from Melanie Nazareth

Environmental degradation, climate change and the structural sin of social inequality march together. As we seek urgent action to mitigate and adapt in relation to the effects of rising global temperatures and ecological destruction, this acknowledgement must be the bedrock of our advocacy and agitation.

Revd Andrew Norman

Andrew Norman, co-chaplain in Green Christian, Quaker and Anglican priest, counselling therapist in the private & voluntary sectors. He is promoting a nine-day time of prayer (traditionally called a novena) to start in September which is Creation Season so as to prepare minds and hearts for the crucial opportunity which this summit represents for the world. 

Pray not to lose hope

“Prayer” goes beyond its religious expression. All those making their way to Glasgow will have their deepest thoughts in their hearts. The world holds its breath. Prayer is the sense that hope is a resource we can truly access.

Hannah Malcolm

Hannah Malcolm is an ordinand in the Church of England and is writing a PhD on a theology of climate and ecological grief. Editor of Words for a Dying World.

 Our Duty and Our Joy, even Here and Now

The call to offer thanks and praise at all times and in all places requires a continual stance of gratitude and witness: for our lives to be testament to the gifts we have received and the ways we have been made as a gift to others. 

Bishop David Atkinson

Bishop David Atkinson, Bishop of Thetford in Norwich Diocese (2001-2009) and former Operation Noah trustee. Author of Renewing the Face of the Earth.

‘Our Christian story is not about “the acquisitive society” but rather about a cooperative society and the common good, which implies an approach to economics based not on the assumption of individual self-interest, but on living within God-given limits, on shared human values and the welfare of all God’s creation.’

Bishop James Jones

Bishop James Jones, Bishop of Liverpool (1998-2013), and Green Christian Patron. Author of Jesus and the Earth and Justice for Christ’s Sake

‘St Mungo prayed, “Lord, let Glasgow flourish” which became the City’s motto. Glasgow and every other community can flourish only if the whole earth flourishes. So our plea for this global conference should be “Let the earth flourish”.’

Other articles will follow shortly.



Author: Ruth Jarman | Date: 1 January, 2021 | Category: Climate Emergency Opinion | Comments: 1

Comments on "Theological Reflections on the Climate and Creation Emergency"

Iain Climie:

July 1, 2021

These are commendable views but remember James Gaius Watt, appointed by Ronald Reagan to Interior Secretary in the early 80s. He argued along the lines of "If God hadn't you'd open cast mining, he wouldn't have created coal seams close to the surface ". He was undoubtedly devout but the attitude of feeling not just entitled but obliged to loot the world contrasts dramatically with those of various religions (including animists) who argue for careful usage instead.

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