Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Call to Come Together to Safeguard the Health of the Planet

Faith groups and others must unite to address environmental degradation and climate change. Anglicans are called by the fifth mark of mission to be good stewards of the Earth. Other traditions have come to similar conclusions. Secular society is also actively involved in environmental stewardship. The scope of the problems we face demand that groups work together to safeguard planetary health.

In recent years we have seen the ways in which diverse coalitions including religious organizations are living their convictions as they seek to divest from fossil fuels. We have seen this effort grow at both national and local levels. The rational for divestment in faith communities is powerfullly compelling. The Anglican Diocese of Montreal along with other dioceses across Canada and around the world have passed resolutions to divest from fossil fuels.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Anglican Primates Invited to Share Views on Caring for Creation

The 39 Primates in the Anglican Communion have been asked to share their views about what it means to care for God’s creation. The Primates who together represent tens of millions of people are being encouraged to write about their local environments and our common planetary home. They are invited to include illustrations, photographs, paintings and video. These creations will be featured at the launch of the Global Climate Action Summit which is being held in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on September 12, 2018. The submissions will also be exhibited in Lambeth Palace during Creationtide (Sept.1 - Oct. 4). Lambeth Palace is the official London residence and offices of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  This project will go on display ahead of the Lambeth Conference, God’s Church for God’s World in 2020. The conference is expected to bear witness to the Anglican Communion’s 5th Mark of Mission: "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior bishop of the worldwide Anglican Communion proposed the project at the Primates’ meeting in Canterbury in 2017 where they agreed on the need for climate action. In a communiqué, the primates said that they were "deeply concerned" about the severe impact climate change and said: "We understood the importance of giving moral leadership because the effects of climate change are not evenly distributed. Drought and flooding most affect the poorest of the poor, with the least resources to rebuild a home, replant a field or seek medical care for flood-borne illnesses. We recommitted ourselves to advocate for improved stewardship of God’s creation."

As explained by Archbishop Welby we have a duty to act in response to the climate crisis:

"We believe that responding to climate change is an essential part of our responsibility to safeguard God's creation. Our environmental campaign exists to enable the whole church to address - in faith, practice and mission - the issue of climate change. Actions have to change for words to have effect." 

Archbishop Welby 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 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."
Archbishops from Brazil, Australia, Central Africa, Polynesia and Cape Town have written letters about climate change and sent them to world leaders. They have specifically pointed out that the poor and vulnerable are most at risk from climate change. They further urged leaders to honour the terms of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

New Chair for the Stewardship of the Environment Committee

Richard Matthews has assumed the role of chairperson of the Stewardship of the Environment Committee (SEC). Richard replaces Rev. Elizabeth Welch, the former Parish Priest at St. Andrews and St. Mark’s in Dorval.

Rev. Elizabeth was instrumental in the passage of the fossil fuel divestment motion in the Diocese of Montreal. In addition to her environmental interests Rev. Elizabeth has served as a chaplain in both hospitals and prisons. She obtained a Masters in Religious Studies with a Specialization in Biomedical Ethics from McGill University.  Rev. Elizabeth is currently the Rector at St. Georges Anglican Church in Victoria, BC where she lives with her wife, and their daughter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Building Bridges: Stewardship of the Environment Committee's Mission Plans for 2018

The Stewardship of the Environment Committee (SEC) in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal is pleased to share our mission priorities for 2018. We are grateful to serve alongside an increasing number of faith communities that are prioritizing environmental stewardship. This year we will focus on crafting narratives that appeal to shared values. We will do this by telling stories that invite engagement.

As we embark on our newest initiatives, the SEC wishes to thank everyone who has supported us over the years, especially the delegates who voted in support of the fossil fuel divestment motion at the 2015 Synod. I am happy to report that as a function of your votes divestment efforts are underway in our diocese.

Friday, November 24, 2017

What Faith Groups can Teach us about Climate Communications

Climate communication is a complex topic but faith groups provide compelling examples of how it can be done. Rather than facts and figures, faith groups speak in terms of narratives. Climate change adversely impacts us all, especially the poor. ' So independent of environmental justice, this is a powerful social justice issue. "This is the issue of humanity," the Dalai Lama said.

"If you are in church rgualrly you are in the business of looking for moral causes, your there becaus you think your life is better for a spiritual aspect expressed in daily action and climate change, climate activism is a big part of this."

Churches and mosques can teach us a great deal about spreading the climate change message. Leading faith groups have championed the cause of climate action and encouraged their members to engage.

The Guardian explores what climate activist can learn from religion. In addition to its narratives, it specifically explores sacrifice and salvation.  It is not about blame it is really ultimately all about love and about actions that articulate that love.

The podcast narrated by Aleks Krotoski and produced by Francesca Panetta, Alannah Chance, Lucy Greenwell, Harriet Green, Jason Phipps. Sound design is by Chris Wood and original music by Matthew Herbert

Click here to go to the podcast

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Anglicans and the Environment: Creation Matters

Did you know that Anglicans are concerned about and engaged in environmental issues? Did you know that Creation Matters, The Anglican Church of Canada’s, environmental task group, wants to connect with interested Anglicans and share information via social media?

In many parts of the world local Anglican Churches have given leadership by being advocates for responsible environmental stewardship. They are also providing support and leadership to local initiatives to protect the environment and by seeking to educate Anglicans as individuals and as communities to become better stewards of creation.

Click here to connect with them on Facebook
To go to the Creation Matters site click here.

Creation Matters is premised on the 5th Mark of Mission: "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the earth." Similarly, the Stewardship of the Environment Committee in the Anglican Diocese of Montreal derives it core mandate from the same place. To see our full mandate see the right side of this page.