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11 February 2014

Christian charities welcome Church of England environment debate

Christian charities welcome Church of England environment debate

Alliance member, Tearfund, has joined other Christian charities led by Alliance council member Ruth Valerio, to welcome the General Synod's debate on climate change and the environment.. 

Paul Cook, Tearfund's advocacy director, says: "We believe that the Church is most effective when it is fulfilling its biblical mandate to care for God's creation and those whose livelihoods depend on it.

"The Church is uniquely placed to help our neighbours live today and prepare for the changing tomorrow. The world's poorest people who have contributed the least to global emissions are being hit the hardest by unpredictable storms droughts and floods, as many farmers told me when I visited Bangladesh and Brazil."

Canon Giles Goddard, who will present the General Synod motion tomorrow, writes: "The intention of the motion is very simple - it's to get the different parts of the Church of England facing in roughly the same direction, so that we can speak more clearly on the complex range of issues which climate change involves. My hope is that this motion will enable and encourage the Church of England to be a clearer voice on climate change; that we will go beyond changing light bulbs and speak and act prophetically to a world that has lost its way."

The motion which was proposed by Southwark Diocesan Synod, acknowledges the damage being done to the earth by the burning of fossil fuels. It calls upon the Church of England and its national investing bodies to steward the earth and its resources in the recognition that "the earth is the Lord's", and to take its previous environmental work forward under a General Synod Working Group on the Environment.

The supporting charities led by Ruth Valerio, who is theology director of environmental conservation project A Rocha, stated: "We recognise the crucial importance of this issue to all life on earth, both human and non-human, and the imperative for the Church to be acting on its biblical mandate to care for God's world. As England's national Church, the Church of England occupies a unique position of authority and visibility and is thus ideally placed to take a lead on these issues.

"Together, we encourage General Synod to address this debate with the utmost seriousness and support the proposed motion. We commit ourselves to supporting the Church of England and relevant bodies in their future endeavours."

Christian Ecology Link (CEL), which is a Christian resource on the environment, has signed a Statement to the General Synod which reflects those of a number of other organisations, asking for support for the motion, and for people to contact their General Synod representative on this matter.

Some of CEL's members will be taking part by contributing social media on Twitter, Facebook and CEL's website. Ruth Jarman, trustee of CEL said: "Bold green words have been spoken. Now, perhaps, it is time for action with an urgency and scale commensurate with the enormous risk that climate change poses to the next generation and to God's creation."