CEL participated in Mission Earth – A Christian Response to Climate Change at York Minster on Saturday 21st April when the results of the Christian Census on Climate Change http://cconcc.wikispaces.com/were announced.
The opening service was led by an ecumenical group including the Bishop of Middlesbrough and students from local Quaker schools. The Archbishop of York gave the address, saying, “We must not abuse what does not belong to us.” “For Christians,” he went on, “the best way to deal with climate change is to infect the world with God’s goodness. The world is charged with God’s grandeur…..May God give us the eyes to see it.”
The service was followed by short speeches by Martin Hodson of JRI, on What is Climate Change?, (link to talk below), Ben Niblett of Tearfund on The Impact, and Ruth Jarman of CEL and Operation Noah on Our Response . Ben Niblett declared that climate change matters for its own sake because it is God’s creation and He said that it was good. “The church is well placed to deal with climate change,” he went on, “We know there is more to life than shopping.” Ruth Jarman urged people to read, reflect and sign the Ash Wednesday Declaration and ended with a call to conversion.
“The transformation that needs to happen to society requires nothing less than a transformation of desire brought about through repentance. But repentance is not something that we can decide to do. It is something that happens to us when, in true humility, we open ourselves to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Only then will we, and the world, be saved.
So the church has a whole new field of mission. There is now new urgency, impetus and meaning to Jesus’ exhortation to us to ‘preach the good news to all creation.’”
For the afternoon the conference delegates moved to York St. John University where CEL had a stall run by Richard and Nicky Kierton and the results of the census were presented. Of the 700 respondents three quarters were aware that climate change was due to human activities and over half thought the government should make it at least a major policy, with 20% wanting it to be of “utmost importance”. Isabel Carter, Operation Noah’s chair, gave a presentation A call to the church; responding with hope and urgency, where she said, “You are precious in God’s sight. Make yourself available to be used by him in what is probably the biggest challenge the church has ever faced.” Workshops followed, including Lost for words? – Responding to Scepticism and ‘shrug culture’, run by Isabel Carter and Ruth Jarman.
The event was organised by Emma Casson and other members of the Ecumenical Working Group from the Catholic Diocese of Middlesbrough.
Report, photos and videos of York Minster service and speeches can be found here.