As political leaders around the world prepare for COP27, Edward Gildea, a Christian Aid Climate Action Organiser, invites churches across the diocese to ring out their bells and come together as families and communities to raise their voices for climate justice.
Edward, a former headteacher who, as well as taking to the streets with movements such as XR, Reclaim the Power, Climate Reality and the Green Party, is Eco Church team leader for his local church and contributes to a variety of environmental working parties to drive strategy locally.
Edward says, “Our experience of 40°C temperatures this summer alerted us to the appalling reality of heatwaves and droughts in India and the Horn of Africa, while the floods in Pakistan were of a new, devastating order of magnitude. Humanity has embarked on a calamitous journey in abusing God’s creation.
“This year, COP27 takes place in Egypt, in a region of the world that is already paying a high price for climate change. Despite the tragedy of Ukraine and the devastating impact of rising gas prices, the conference really must deliver solutions to the crisis.”
Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has said: “Nearly a year has passed since world leaders met at COP26 and I’m not sure many changes have yet been made to combat the climate emergency. As we look to COP27 I would like to offer my support to the idea of ringing out church bells and for congregations, communities and families to come together and express their hopes and fears for our environment and our future.”
Bishop Graham of Norwich, the lead bishop for the environment has also demonstrated his support: “I am happy to endorse a second nationwide ‘Ring out for Climate!’ on the eve of the COP27 as a reminder of the necessity to commit to and build on the promises made at Glasgow last year. As I heard first-hand from many other bishops at this summer’s Lambeth Conference the impact of climate change is being daily experienced, especially in the world’s economically poorest and most vulnerable countries who are not the nations that have caused this emergency. We must work together to safeguard our wonderful single island planet home and care for all God’s creation.”
Edward says, “Many churches came together last year, holding vigil as the bells rang with their prayers, songs, poems, candles and banners. ‘Ring out for Climate!’ enabled families and communities to express their hopes, fears and concerns about our environmental crises.
“COP27 starts on Monday 7 November, so I am suggesting that we ring out on Saturday 5 November, perhaps at 5pm so that families can go on to their firework celebrations afterwards. But all such arrangements can be made locally. Invite your local councillors and MPs. Get on social media. Inform your local radio station, take photos and issue a press release. The world needs to sense the urgency felt by those of all faiths and none.”
You can download a poster to share here: Ring out for Climate poster COP27
Visit www.edwardgildea.co.uk for more information.