Climate change to be a central part of conversations at the Lambeth Conference

  • September 13, 2019

In a video for a recent Anglican environmental conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury gave a compelling message about the importance of the Church responding to climate change.

In the video, the Archbishop says that climate change will be ‘a central part’ of conversations the Lambeth Conference in 2020.

It’s one of numerous topics of global concern that will be explored at next year’s Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops in Canterbury.

The Archbishop’s comments were made in a goodwill message shared with delegates attending the MOANA Water of Life conference in Lincoln last month.

Organised by the Diocese of Lincoln and the University of Lincoln, the MOANA conference brought together members of science and church communities to discuss ways of caring for the environment. Delegates attended from California, Polynesia, New Zealand and Lincoln in the United Kingdom. The challenges of rising tides or falling reservoirs present serious implications in many of these places.

In the video, The Archbishop of Canterbury references a comment made to him during an official visit to Fiji last year. He was told ‘For you Europeans, climate is a problem for the future. For us it’s a problem of every day survival.’

Fiji, like many of the South Pacific islands, is one of the smallest contributors to global carbon emissions, yet faces some of the most devastating consequences of extreme weather. The nation is faced with regular cyclones causing death, destruction, displacement of people and economic difficulty.

[Stock image].

The MOANA conference was opened by a delegation from Polynesia, including Archbishop-elect Fereimi Cama. As part of the Anglican Communion, Polynesia and the Diocese of Lincoln have forged a Companion Link, which sees ongoing dialogue, networking and mutual sharing of resources and experience. In the lead up to the Lambeth Conference, the Diocese of Lincoln will host delegates from Polynesia as part of a province wide hospitality initiative.

Later in the video the Archbishop says:

‘As a Christian I believe in the words of Psalm 24. “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it…” We are the stewards of God’s creation. It’s our sacred duty to protect the natural world we’ve so generously been given, as well as our neighbours around the world who will be first and worst affected.

‘Responding to climate change is an essential part of this responsibility. I’m constantly inspired and encouraged to hear of the passionate, creative and committed ways that individuals and churches are living out their faith and responding to this call to action.

‘Working to address the causes of climate change and to reduce its effect. It’s happening across our global Anglican communion and it will rightly be a central part of our conversations at next year’s Lambeth Conference.’

Throughout the Anglican Communion, there is a wide range of activity in play to mobilise and respond to climate change. This includes (but does not fully cover the full extent of activity) initiatives like Green Anglicans, The Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN), the Eco-Bishops group, the Anglican Communion’s Presence at the UN and the work of the Anglican Alliance.

Resolutions made at the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) have also been made on the environment. At ACC-17 in Hong Kong earlier this year, measures included: recognising the global climate emergency; encouraging the communion to ‘sustain and renew the life of the earth’; promoting a day of public repentance during the season of creation; developing action plans for sustainable living, and holding strategic planning conferences for the Sustainable Development Goals and climate change. Read the resolutions in full on the Anglican Communion’s web site here.

As Archbishop Justin says, there is still so much to be done. The opportunities provided by the Lambeth Conference will be important ones.