A few weeks ago, an estimated more than 60,000 people attended ‘The Big One’, a climate protest organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR). Using different tactics from previous XR protests, the weekend brought together 200 organisations. Representatives from all three of JPIT’s denominations formed part of a faiths service held on the Friday, and the subsequent march to Westminster, demonstrating our continued concern for creation.
And yet again, it feels like when the protestors went home there was little change within the walls of the Palace of Westminster. Protests can cause hassle to politicians and members of the general public but, still, the climate crisis does not seem to be the top of our government’s agenda. Despite the critical need for structural change in order to protect vulnerable people and nations from the harshest effects of the climate crisis, we have seen little change.
The outlook feels bleak. But, as Christians, we know that there is hope:
‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.’ (Revelation 21.1)
Whilst I don’t pretend to have all the answers for what John is describing in Revelation, this passage does speak of the centrality of the renewal of creation to God’s plan for the world. Just as Jesus came to ‘bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners’ (Isaiah 61: 1), so too does God’s plan involve the healing and restoration of the planet.
The need to care for and restore creation is central to our role as stewards of God’s creation. God invites us to join in with this journey. We can pray for international cooperation, for scientists finding solutions to the climate crisis. We can attend protests and marches, write to our MPs and speak truth to power. Our churches can join the Eco Church scheme, or get involved with the Net Zero in My Neighbourhood project, engaging with our local politicians to bring our local communities closer to flourishing. And we can host a Environment Sunday service.
As we approach Environment Sunday this year, how could you or your community exhibit the hope of the gospel in the face of the climate crisis? You can find some resources from our denominations and other organisations below to support your planning for Environment Sunday.
- Climate Sunday: https://www.climatesunday.org/service-resources
- Tearfund: https://www.tearfund.org/stories/2020/08/how-your-church-can-get-involved-with-climate-sunday
- A Rocha: https://arocha.org/en/
- Methodist Environment Resources: https://www.methodist.org.uk/our-faith/worship/singing-the-faith-plus/seasons-and-themes/themes/climate-and-creation/worship-resources/
- United Reformed Church: https://urc.org.uk/could-you-hold-a-climate-sunday/ https://urc.org.uk/environmental-policy/
- Baptist Union Environment Network (BUEN): https://www.baptist.org.uk/Groups/349554/Baptist_Union_Environment.aspx