Newsletter April 2015 Building the faith voice for climate justice Saturday 13 June, Birmingham Supporters' Day and AGM Following our successful d

         
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Newsletter April 2015

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Building the faith voice for climate justice

Saturday 13 June, Birmingham

Supporters' Day and AGM

Following our successful day in March to stimulate climate action in churches, we will be repeating aspects of the workshop at our supporters’ day and AGM on Saturday 13 June in Birmingham.

The climate movement is bringing together many issues across the economic, political, environmental and social justice arenas to address the common goal of creating a fairer and safer world for all. The Christian community has an important role in mobilising the voice of faith for climate justice. Come to our supporters' day to explore how we can mobilise our church communities to speak out, to consider what is unique to our Christian calling and how we can support faith-led climate campaigns.

You can listen to Bishop Richard Cheetham's talk from our recent workshop here: 'Your Gospel is Too Small'. Some comments from participants on the day were: 'Well worthwhile to meet with other struggling green campaigners!' 'I came doubting I was getting anywhere – now I feel more hopeful!'

Please book your place at our Supporters' Day here. The cost is £10 / £5.

Climate Change drama tour

This Autumn Riding Lights Christian theatre company will be touring the UK with their new drama production on climate change. The play aims to educate and inspire new faith audiences to take action on climate change, both individually and through collective political action. The performance will be both profound yet entertaining and will focus on the four themes of food, water, fuel and temperature rise. This project is funded by the Diocese of Lichfield in partnership with Operation Noah and Christian Aid. The launch performance will take place in York on 16 September and the piece will also be performed at the Reconciling a Wounded Planet conference at Coventry Cathedral on 18/19 September.

If you would like this production to come to your area and you can suggest an appropriate venue then please get in touch as tour dates are currently being scheduled. They are looking for 120 - 300 audience capacity and they will be touring from mid-September to mid-November. Please contact Amanda Mackey on email: amanda@rltc.org or phone: 01904 655317. Further details will be available on our website shortly.

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BRIGHT NOW NEWS

United Reformed Church of Scotland commits to disinvest!

At its meeting from 20 to 22 March, the United Reformed Church’s Synod of Scotland made the decision to disinvest from fossil fuels and agreed that no further investment in fossil fuels shall take place. Read our blog on the decision here.

Birmingham Diocese calls on Church of England to disinvest

On Saturday 21 March the Diocese of Birmingham passed a motion calling on the Church of England to disinvest from tar sands, coal, oil and gas companies, and to seek alternative investment in renewable energy and low-carbon technology. This follows a similar motion passed by the Diocese of Oxford in November last year, which is due to be debated at General Synod this July.

Global Divestment Day 2015

Thank you for all the messages you sent in for the divestment Valentine’s Day cards! During Global Divestment Day week, we delivered the cards to the Church of England and Methodist Church. They were filled with your messages asking the Churches to disinvest for the love of all the things you care about that are threatened by climate change, calling them to ‘invest in the future and not the past; the Kingdom of God and not the fossil fuel industry’.

At the Church of England General Synod in the same week, Christians dropped a banner calling for disinvestment during the Synod and held a prayer vigil outside Church House.

On 14 February Christians took part in an action outside City Hall. Since the action the London Assembly has voted in favour of disinvestment.

New report: Is it ethical to invest in fossil fuels?

Bright Now has launched a new report exploring the ethics of fossil fuel investments, with contributions from Christian theologians, scientists and environmentalists. A longer version of reflections from the contributors is also available here.

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Keep it in the Ground

Check out the new Guardian campaign for divestment with news and blogs from leading scientists, environmentalists and campaigners and a petition calling on the charitable trusts, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, to divest. Keep up with news at Keep it in the Ground.

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Is climate change on the political agenda in your area?

There is still time to lobby your MPs and political candidates ahead of the general election in May. The voice of faith groups is critical to the climate movement. Your church can organise a local hustings event or attend one in your area. Another great way to involve your church community is to hold a climate write-in to encourage lots of people to write letters for greater impact. Check out Hope for the Future's compilation of useful resources to help you get politically active in your church and Churches Together in Britain and Ireland elections website for information about organising local hustings.

Quakers in Britain are also hosting a national debate on Thursday 9 April, Building a sustainable community, at Friends House Euston from 6.30pm.

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Speak Up for the Love of …

Wednesday 17 June, a month after the election, will be your big opportunity to tell newly elected politicians about the issues you care most about. Join with thousands of others at Westminster for a day of action and be part of the UK’s biggest ever meeting with MPs on climate change. The day will be a fun festival atmosphere with music and activities, an ecumenical service, interfaith moment and a rally. The aim is for all UK constituencies to be represented and each MP will come out to meet with them. Please encourage your church to get involved. There is an excellent lobby guide that explains more, posters and a short talk available on the CAFOD website.

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Love in Nature

Spring is a good time to express our love for God’s creation by taking part in the Climate Coalition’s Love in Nature photo competition. They are looking for inspiring shots that capture love in nature. Wildlife photographer Simon King says, 'Once we are reconnected with the natural world, we love it more, we respect it more, care for it more and appreciate the central role in plays in our very existence.' The closing date for entries is Friday 1 May.

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The World is Our Host: A call to urgent action for climate justice

A group of 17 Anglican Bishops from all six continents recently met in Cape Town and have called for urgent prayer and action on the 'unprecedented climate crisis' for the 85
million-strong Anglican Communion. They have launched a Declaration that sets out a commitment to specific actions including: energy conservation in church buildings; more renewable energy; nurturing biodiversity on church land; supporting sustainability in water, food, agriculture and land use; reviewing churches' investment practices including a call for divestment; and closer ecumenical and interfaith co-operation. The bishops also stated their support for fasting and praying for the climate on the first day of every month.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Dr Thabo Makgoba, said, 'The problem is spiritual as well as economic, scientific and political. In the words of St Theresa of Avila, we are "God's hands and feet on earth" - now is the time for us, rooted in prayer, to step up and take action on the climate crisis.'

Read Operation Noah's press release here.

Upcoming events

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Pray and Fast for the Climate - 1 April

Some excellent prayer points to focus your reflection for this month's prayer and fasting for the climate are available here. Don't forget to register your event on the website or let us know what you are doing.

Thursday 9 April: Building a sustainable community national debate, Quakers in Britain, Friends House, Euston, 6.30pm

Saturday 18 April: Think! Environment Day, A Rocha UK, Ashburnham Place.

Thursday 23 April: Climate change and the common good, St Paul’s Institute & Diocese of London, St Paul’s Cathedral Crypt, 6.30pm.

Saturday 25 April: Health, faith and environment day, Southwark Vegans and Veggie Society.
This event for faith groups will look at the health and environmental benefits of eating less meat and provide information for promoting Meat Free Monday and Meat Free May in your church community.

Meat Free May: A good way to involve your church in thinking about the carbon footprint of the meat industry and to encourage low-carbon and sustainable consumption.

Saturday 13 June: Operation Noah supporters’ workshop and AGM

Wednesday 17 June: Mass lobby of MPs at Parliament, The Climate Coalition

Saturday 20 June: End Austerity Now, People’s Assembly
Join the climate justice block of the anti-austerity national demonstration to highlight the need for climate jobs, investment in renewable energy and low-carbon solutions and an economy that works for the people and the planet.

NEW RESOURCES

Mission and Creation Care for Christian Disciples
The John Ray Initiative in association with Tearfund have released these excellent new group study and discussion resources designed to challenge our understanding of Christian discipleship and encourage us to practice sustainable lifestyles including the care of creation.

The Ethics of Climate Scepticism, Martin J Hodson
There is an overwhelming scientific consensus on the reality of human-induced global warming yet scepticism still features in public discourse. This booklet explores the motivations behind such scepticism and discusses the role of Christian individuals and communities in the debate about climate change. Copies of the booklet or an e-book version can be ordered from Grove Ethics Ltd for £3.95.

Please help us to continue campaigning for climate justice

You can support our work through setting up a regular donation or giving a one-off donation here.

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