The most senior bishops or archbishops of the 39 churches (also known as provinces) of the worldwide Anglican Communion are being asked to produce a picture of what God’s creation means to them.
The Primates of 39 provinces from Australia to Zambia, who between them lead tens of millions of Christians, are being invited to create a picture of the environment in their province which can be presented at an event in Lambeth Palace during Creationtide 1 September – 4 October 2018 and exhibited on web sites as part of a programme leading up to the Lambeth Conference in 2020.
In addition, it is hoped the letters will also be featured at the launch of the Global Climate Action Summit which will be held in Grace Cathedral, San Francisco on 12 September 2018.
Primates are being asked to write about their local environments and illustrate with photographs, paintings or short films what care for God’s creation means in their province and what their message is about the care for our common home.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, as patron of the Anglican Communion's network of environment champions, suggested the project at the Primates’ meeting in Canterbury in 2017 when they discussed climate change and its effects on their Provinces agreeing that “Responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God’s creation”.
The Archbishop recently wrote in the New York Times “As people of faith, we don’t just state our beliefs — we live them out. One belief is that we find purpose and joy in loving our neighbours. Another is that we are charged by our creator with taking good care of his creation. The moral crisis of climate change is an opportunity to find purpose and joy, and to respond to our creator’s charge. Reducing the causes of climate change is essential to the life of faith. It is a way to love our neighbour and to steward the gift of creation.”
The Archbishops of Brazil, Australia, Central Africa, Polynesia and Cape Town have written to world leaders drawing attention to the significant threat posed by climate change, expressing their concerns over its impact on vulnerable communities worldwide and urging each nation’s leaders to keep the promises they made in the Paris Agreement, to restore the natural balance.
The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury, the Church of England’s lead bishop for the environment explained:
“There is no doubt that the Care of God’s creation is a priority for the Anglican Communion. It is an issue where a strong consensus continues to grow about the urgency for action to make the transition to a low carbon economy and to address the degradation of biodiversity.
“This subject strongly engages young people, is missionary and evangelistic, and is a major aspect of our care for the poorest in God’s world.
“I very much hope and expect that it will be a significant part of the agenda for the Lambeth Conference ‘God’s Church for God’s World’ in 2020 and to witness the Communion’s 5th Mark of Mission: ‘To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.’