Thousands of people from Midlands churches including over 600 at Lichfield Cathedral called for climate justice today, Friday 20 September.
A climate change emergency has been declared by Parliament and hundreds of climate strikes have taken place across the UK and elsewhere, led by young people. Today kick-started a global week of action to coincide with the UN Climate Summit on 23 September.
Lichfield Diocese called on churches to get involved in solidarity with many young people and adults who are took a stand across the globe.
Clergy across the diocese and diocesan staff stepped aside from their usual duties to participate in events, activities and advocacy.
Over 500 local primary schoolchildren plus school staff and others took part in a special service at Lichfield Cathedral. They voiced their concerns about climate breakdown, forming a giant ring around the cathedral to call for climate justice and planted wooden lollipop sticks containing green pledges. The event took place with the full support and involvement of the schools of those children attending as part of their education.
Across Lichfield Diocese, over 30 events hosted by or involving churches or Church schools in Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Black Country took place with more planned in the coming days. These included community clothes and toy swaps, prayer walks and stations, petition-writing, planet pledges, vigils, banner-making, worship services and craft making. At least a dozen local churches rang their bells for climate justice. A full list of local activities is at https://www.lichfield.anglican.org/climateactionday/
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Right Revd Clive Gregory, Lichfield Dioceses lead on environmental matters, said:It has been wonderful to see so many people at the cathedral and in churches across our diocese leading calls for climate justice.
As we follow Jesus, we are called to love the whole world and our neighbour, including the worlds poorest people who are most affected by climate breakdown. Care of creation should be at the centre of the Churchs mission not the margins.
Young people are leading the way and as a Church we stand in solidarity with them, working for justice as people of hope. We need to keep this momentum going, calling people to sustained action and prayer in the coming months. It is not too late we can all make a difference in big and small ways.
Lichfield Diocese is committed to taking climate change seriously. In March a new Diocesan Environmental Policy and Action Plan was passed. Dozens of parishes across the diocese are registering for Eco Church a national award that recognises and supports churches who are working to become more environmentally friendly.
Diocesan Environmental Officer the Revd Richard Clarkson said: Its vital that as Christians we make our voices heard on this, the defining issue of our age, because we know from the Bible that God cares about the wellbeing of this earth and its inhabitants even more than we do. The effects of climate change are being seen right now we stand in solidarity with young people, with our global neighbours, and with farmers and others in our own communities whose lives and livelihoods are increasingly being impacted by this.