MAKING THE LINK WITH CLIMATE CHANGE
The Diocese of Oxford (UK) and the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman are link Dioceses and held a Summit to build on the relationship and to see how they can journey together. One of the topics discussed was Environmental Degradation and Climate Change.
David Morris from “K and K” challenged the concept of being “on earth” (as we say in modern Lord’s Prayer wording and might think rationally through pictures from the moon etc) or “in earth” (as per Cranmer et al) which is actually scientifically, environmentally and theologically better.
Rev Rachel Mash who coordinates the Environmental Ministry of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa known as Green Anglicans, challenged the delegates with the reality of Climate Change in Africa. The reality is although Southern Africa is producing much less carbon emissions that the UK, the impacts will become more and more devastating. Temperatures will rise by double the global average so when the Paris treaty talks of 1.5 degree rise , we will experience 3 degrees. Agricultural productivity will be reduced devastatingly. All of the impacts of climate change, drought, flooding and sea level rise, will impact most severely on the poorest of the poor. One of the biggest challenges in the UK is apathy to climate change . In this context, Link Dioceses can be an extremely important way of taking the reality of climate change to the Churches of the North . Numbers and statistics don’t change hearts, but real stories about people affected by climate change can lead to change.
We also looked at the theology of Care for Creation and how it needs to be mainlined into our life and ministry as part of the gospel message, it is not an added extra but a key part of our theology.
In a workshop delegates identified their own heartbreak issue – whether it was plastic and waste, the loss of rivers, the blockages to a fossil free future or water wastage and worked in groups around those issues. Both Dioceses will explore how to make this issue more central to their life and ministry and how to journey together sharing stories of change and hope. We were challenged by the quote to explore our particular role as people of faith in the environmental movement.
“I used to think the top environmental challenges were biodiversity loss, eco-system collapse and climate change. I thought with 30 years of good science we could address those problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy. And to deal with those we need a spiritual and cultural transformation . And we scientists don’t know how to do that” Gus Speth. US Environmental Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.
On the Sunday delegates visited various churches throughout the Diocese, and a group were blessed to join the Season of Creation celebration at St Barnabas. Rev Rachel spoke on the theme of Water justice and Maranda St John Nicolle on caring for the earth. Some high energy team building took place at a fun outing to an obstacle course followed by a wonderful Braai. It was a wonderful event to be celebrating the Season of Creation with brothers and sisters from around the World!
In between lots of hard work and learning together at the Summit much fun was had, with great input from the youth and a beautiful gala dinner to mention but a few!