Check out all the blog posts during 2020-21 on the Climate Sunday website.
CLIMATE SUNDAY STATEMENT 14 FEB 2022:
Climate Sunday marks collective church achievements and leaves lasting legacy
Having galvanised thousands of churches and church groups throughout Britain and Ireland to take action on climate change in the lead up to COP26, the Climate Sunday campaign has now come to a close, leaving a lasting legacy of valuable resources for churches to take further action.
Over 2,300 churches and church groups throughout Britain and Ireland participated in the Climate Sunday Initiative in the run-up to COP26, addressing climate change by holding Climate Sunday services, committing to practical action and speaking up for climate justice. This widespread take up of the initiative across diverse church traditions indicates a growing commitment by local churches to act on climate change. It has also been the largest ecumenical response to the climate crisis in the UK in the run-up to COP26.
For example, in April 2021 the Governing Body of the Church in Wales set the ambitious challenge for that Church to reach zero carbon across churches, cathedrals, dioceses and school estates by 2030.
Now, the coalition of churches and Christian agencies which led the Climate Sunday campaign plan to build on the progress made over the course of the campaign. As part of this, they will maintain the legacy website of Climate Sunday – www.climatesunday.org – which shows how local churches can take further steps to protect nature. There are a wide range of worship resources in both Welsh and English, and guidance on how to continue to Speak Up on the climate crisis. The EcoChurch and Live Simply schemes will also continue to be available for local churches to join.
Andy Atkins, co-chair of Climate Sunday and CEO of A Rocha UK explains: “The commitment to action shown by thousands of churches as part of Climate Sunday is inspiring. It should bring practical progress and hope, particularly to young people desperate for their church communities and politicians to engage on this critical issue. The rich resources created by members of the campaign will help local churches to continue to take effective action in 2022 when the UK government still has the presidency of COP.”
Reverend Judith Morris, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Wales said “The commitment of so many local churches, denominations and Christian organizations in Wales to Climate Sunday has been encouraging, with both worship and campaign material widely used in both languages. By ensuring the continuation of the bilingual website, the work done in 2020-21 will continue to be available for the churches to continue their work of caring for God’s Creation.”
Hannah Brown, Campaign and Churches Engagement Officer at the Joint Public Issues Team, said: “We know that the journey ahead as we transition to net-zero across the world will not be easy. We are grateful that church communities across Britain and Ireland have been part of enabling the legacy of COP26 to be more than a negotiated outcome, but also a transformation of grassroots churches’ engagement in climate action”.
Real examples illustrating Climate Sunday success in a range of different denominations across the four nations in the UK:
St Chad’s Church, Far Headingley in Leeds held a climate focused service on Sunday 17 October led by Anita Shaw, Leeds Episcopal Area Environmental Champion. Local MP Alex Sobel attended with Councillor Emma Flint ,a local ward member who sits on Leeds City Council’s Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, they both spoke during the service.
Meadowside St Paul’s Church, Dundee, Scotland – The young people built a climate justice boat, Seas The Day which was recycled by today’s children from a boat made years ago by a previous generation of young people. The boat was towed on a recycled homemade trolley from Meadowside St Paul’s, Dundee to St Andrew’s on 31st October. Some paper boats with the church congregation’s handwritten prayers and pledges for climate justice were placed in the hull as part of our worship. (Photo of boat available)
St Martin’s Church and St Hilary’s Church in the Parish of Killay in Swansea – In the Climate Sunday service, they heard of Salote, a seven year old living on an island threatened by storms and famine in the South Pacific; and a powerful prayer montage from contributors to COP26 and a poem entitled “If the earth were only a few feet in diameter”
Background information about Climate Sunday
1) Climate Sunday initiative, organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) was the UK’s broadest based Christian initiative on climate change in the run up to COP26. ‘Climate Sunday’ has been the broadest-based Christian coalition for action on climate change.
Climate Sunday has formal backing from CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund, The Salvation Army, A Rocha UK, Operation Noah, Climate Stewards, Eco-Congregation Scotland, Eco-Congregation Ireland, Green Christian, the Church of England, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, the Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Baptist Union of Wales, the United Reformed Church, The Church of Scotland, Cytûn (Churches together in Wales), the Union of Welsh Independents, The Church in Wales, World Vision, The John Ray Initiative, USPG, The United Reformed Church, , Joint Public Issues Team, CTBI, Christian Concern for One World, Church of Ireland, Young Christian Climate Network,
The Climate Sunday initiative motivated hundreds more churches to sign up to one of four pre-existing church greening schemes (see below), taking the total number of participating churches past the 5,000 mark in the week before COP26. At least 747 local church representatives have signed the Time is Now Declaration (joining a total of 192,230 signatory from across the public sector). This calls on the UK Government, in their role as chair of COP26, to be much more ambitious in seeking faster and deeper global emissions cuts, the delivery of long-promised finance to help poorer countries adapt to the climate disruption, and a green economic recovery from Covid.
Climate Sunday was resourced by a coalition of 31 denominations and charities, members of the Environmental Issues Network (EIN) of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). The coalition, though time-limited, aimed to leave a lasting legacy of churches committed to ongoing action. Its members will continue to provide opportunities for local churches to make climate action a significant part of their discipleship and mission and to contribute to civil society efforts to secure adequate national and international action. For this reason CTBI and EIN will be maintaining the Climate Sunday website. The website contains a ‘toolbox’ of free resources, so that churches can start or continue their climate action journey at climatesunday.org, including:
- the materials the coalition created and collected for worship;
- ways of getting involved in practical action through Eco Church, Eco-Congregation Ireland, Eco-Congregation Scotland, or Live Simply;
- updated suggestions from Climate Sunday members for speaking up.
2) Church Greening Schemes
The ‘Greening schemes’ are award based programmes which equip churches to take action on the environment, in their church and local community. They are encouraged to do this through worship and teaching, reducing carbon emissions, land and individual lifestyles, and to speak up on the climate.
There are three principal independent schemes in the UK to help grass roots churches tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and other pressing environmental issues. They work closely together. 9,248 UK churches are now registered with one or other scheme.
Eco Church, run by A Rocha UK, for churches in England and Wales – https://ecochurch.arocha.org.uk
Eco-Congregation Scotland is an ecumenical environmental charity supporting local churches throughout Scotland to care and act for God’s creation, reducing their impact on climate change and living sustainably – https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org
Eco-Congregation Ireland is a project of the Church in Society Forum, a standing committee of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting, encouraging churches of all denominations across Ireland to take an eco approach – https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/
Live Simply is the environmental award scheme of the Catholic Church in England and Wales – https://cafod.org.uk/Campaign/Livesimply-award
3) Time is Now Declaration – organised by the Climate Coalition, of which most members of the Climate Sunday Initiative are also members. https://thetimeisnow.uk