Jenny Newman and I were at the March Synod meeting at Bridgwater. It included a discussion and resolution on disinvesting at the earliest opportunity the shares Synod holds in fossil fuel companies such as Shell, BP and Chevron. There was an alternative resolution which proposed a more ‘softly-softly’ approach involving working together with other parts of the URC and engaging with the fossil fuel companies as shareholders, to get them to move away from investing in fossil fuels. Voting was very close and so a decision was deferred to the next Synod meeting.
There was another resolution, which was passed – “the Synod resolves to reduce its impact on the environment” by amongst other actions becoming an Eco Synod (Yes, there is such a thing!). We are one of 14 URC churches in the South Western Synod signed up to Eco Church. Hopefully this resolution and the publicity within the Synod generated will help to increase the number substantially. In a break from routine business, there was a series of ‘break-out’ sessions in the afternoon, one of which was an Eco Workshop. Revd Rob Weston from Tavistock URC gave a
lively and persuasive talk on what we can do about global warming as individuals and churches, and there were eco questions and issues explored by representatives of churches not yet registered with Eco Church as well as those like ourselves who are.
Noel Harrower passed on a booklet produced by Christian Aid for Lent, “Rise up against climate change 2019”. We agreed to use this material in place of his “Noel’s Prayer Page”:-
It describes how Christian Aid’s partner ICODE helps small, remote islands in the Philippines to thrive. The Philippines is seriously affected by climate change and more than half the
population live in disaster-prone areas. Work is carried out to restore damaged fishing ecosystems, such as building an artificial reef to prevent illegal fishing and protect fish stocks.
Training is provided to enable fishermen to diversify, including production of seaweed ice-cream (!), noodles and pickles. And they are taught what to do when typhoons hit, such as
Typhoon Haiyan which battered the Philippines in 2013. Let us give thanks for organisations like Christian Aid who carry out such fantastic work to help people “rise up against climate change”. Let us be willing to do our own bit to reduce the effects of climate change and to give back to the environment what we have wrongfully taken. Let us pray that richer nations stop the activities which are destroying the environment and violating the rights of the poorer nations. Let us rejoice too in the beautiful created world which God has given us.
Here is a prayer from Christian Aid’s website written by Katrina Rowland:
You spoke into the silence, llght suffusing darkness
You spoke into the silence, blowing clean life-giving air into the space.
You spoke into the silence, warmth and cold infusing the air.
You spoke into the silence.