Rev Rachel Mash was invited by the Anglican Communion Compass Rose Society to address their annual General Meeting.
Her topic was Climate Change and the work of the Green Anglicans. We looked at the impact of climate change globally in terms of drought, flooding , sea level rise and an increase in storms. Climate change is impacting on the poorest of the poor and will lead to increasing levels of poverty and suffering over the years to come.
How can the Church respond?
We need to look at our spirituality, local actions, and global advocacy
In terms of spirituality , we have been raised on a theology of dominion of the earth, which comes through in colonialism and neo- liberal economic policies. In the words of the fifth mark of mission, we need to commit to renewing the earth – and it is time to move from seeing ourselves as stewards to becoming healers of the earth. God can speak to us through nature as well as through the written word of God and we need to find ways to allow our congregations to hear from the “first book of God” – nature. There are many ways in incorporate a spirituality of care for creation in our preaching and teaching and the most effective for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa has been the inclusion of the Season of Creation in our liturgical calendar.
In terms of local action, the young people are leading the way – with creative activities around tree planting – linking this with confirmation , clean up campaigns – with a call for a global “coastal and river clean up” next year in September. They are water harvesting, teaching through drama and dance, growing organic foods and many other activities and one young Green Anglican from Swaziland has even own an Eco award from the national Ministry of the Environment.
For advocacy the challenge is to face the local issues, whether fracking, or a lake which is threatened by a shopping mall. We also need to speed up the move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and this is where we can have an impact by taking our savings out of fossil fuels and re-investing them in renewables. We cannot burn all the fossil fuel reserves which we currently have without pushing the world past the tipping point of unstoppable climate change.
The Green Anglicans movement is proud to be a partner of the Compass Rose society and you can find out more about their work on http://www.compassrosesociety.org/Page.aspx?id=68
The AGM ended with a wonderful dinner at Lambeth Palace hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. What a historic moment to end with compline in the very chapel where Archbishop Cranmer found his inspiration for the Book of Common Prayer