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Ash Wednesday 10th February, 2016
Press Release from today’s Australian Anglican Climate Change Forum
Day 2 of the Anglican gathering at Trinity College started with morning prayer. Two confronting prayer videos were shown. The first was a montage of images from around the world of the beauty that we have been entrusted with and then some of the impacts that humans are having on it. The second was “A Pacific Prayer for the Moana Ocean EPLD” by Archbishop Winston Halapua, from the Anglican Archdiocese of Polynesia.
The Rev’d Andy Bowerman, Co-Director of the Anglican Alliance, then opened the forum. You can download a copy of Andy’s talk here. He then introduced Dr Rose Elu from the Torres Strait and Lay Member of NATSIAC (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council) and Tagolyn Kabekabe from the Solomon Islands and Pacific Coordinator for the Anglican Alliance.
Mick Pope, eco-theologian and lecturer in meteorology and climate, then talked to the forum about reconciling science and theology. “It’s a commitment to the truth.” “Creation has a future.” “A God who loves justice.” “Being a prophetic church: Prophetic proclamation – speaking truth to power; Prophetic presence in protest; Prophetic practice – divestment; Prophetic patience.”
Professor Neil Ormerod from the Australian Catholic University, talked about Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ climate encyclical with attendees. Climate Change is “a debt that is owed to the world’s poorest nations”. “We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth. The pace of consumption, waste and environmental change has so stretched the planet’s capacity that our contemporary lifestyle, unsustainable as it is, can only precipitate catastrophes.” “Environment destruction is a sin.”
After lunch, people heard from other forum participants about how their local church is engaging with the fifth mark of mission (protect, care for and renew life on our planet).
Ncumisa Magadla, from the Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) Environmental Network, talked about what they are doing to reverse the effects of climate change. ACSA are training clergy in a “reverence for creation: green theology training; use of season of creation; blessing of sacraments; creation Church; action and advocacy; liturgy; and carbon fast.” An example given was that when a baptism takes place, the family are encouraged to plant a tree so they can see the tree grow as their faith grows. ACSA also introduced a “Carbon Fast for Lent” resource with 40 actions for each day of Lent.
A World Cafe discussion event then took place where participants were asked to consider the questions: What should the Anglican Church do to respond to the challenge of Climate Change? They were encouraged to look at the question from a local, national and global perspective. The World Cafe discussion was based around four tables, each with a facilitator, talking about the question for 15 minutes and then moving onto another table to continue the conversation.
PRESENTATIONS FROM THE CLIMATE CHANGE FORUM DAY
Presentation 2 – Mick Pope: Focus on theology and science of climate change
Presentation 3 – Neil Ormerod: Focus on Laudato si’
Presentation 4 – Ncumisa Magadla: Focusing on ACSA Environmental Network