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NEWS RELEASE

23rd November 2009

(See also News Release of 5 Dec 2009)

 

CHURCHES SAY 'ACT NOW ON CLIMATE CHANGE'

16 Church leaders to attend a Climate Service on Saturday 5 th December

as part of The Wave

 

Sixteen leaders of Christian Churches in the UK will attend an ecumenical service in London on 5 th December to urge political leaders meeting in Copenhagen to 'ACT NOW ON CLIMATE CHANGE'. Among them will be

Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury ;

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster ;

Revd David Gamble, Chair of the Methodist Conference;

Revd. Pat Took, Chair, London Baptist Association;

Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance ;

Colonel Brian Peddle, Chief Secretary for The Salvation Army UK and Republic of Ireland .

At least 3,000 Christians are expected to join them, carrying an array of colourful banners and dressed in blue. They will be travelling from their parishes around the country in special trains and coaches. After the service some church leaders and the congregation will join tens of thousands of people marching to form a blue wave around the Houses of Parliament. Churches on the march will be a key part of the growing movement for action on climate change. It is expected to be the UK's biggest ever demonstration in support of action on climate change, ahead of the crucial UN climate talks in Copenhagen.

 

Time of service : 11am - noon

Location: Westminster Central Hall , SW1H 9NH .

 

Photo opportunity outside at 10.40am

(on the opposite side of the road to Westminster Abbey's West Door)

The photo opportunity outside the venue will involve around 16 church leaders, including Archbishops Rowan Williams and Vincent Nichols.

They will be standing under a banner reading:

CHURCHES SAY 'ACT NOW ON CLIMATE CHANGE'

Some of the bishops will be wearing blue gloves, highlighting their contribution to the blue wave being created later on in the afternoon.

 

From 10am , the following people will be available for interview outside:

Revd Dave Bookless, Moderator of Environmental Issues Network of Churches Together in Britain & Ireland, author of 'Planetwise - Dare to Care for God's World';

Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Anglican Bishop of Reading ;

Revd, Paul Butler, Anglican Bishop Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham and President of the Church Mission Society;

Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton , Head of the International Department of the Catholic Bishops' Conference;

Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam, Chair of CAFOD;

Nicki Smith, who has walked from Huddersfield, setting off on 5 th November;

Bruce Kent, anti-nuclear weapons campaigner who sees climate change as a security issue;

Ruth Jarman, a campaigner against new airport runways and coal-fired power stations;

Mary Colwell, advisor on environmental issues to the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales ;

Rosemary Read, coming from Nottingham with three generations of her family.

 

12.50pm

Some church leaders and heads of Christian agencies will be at the head of the main

Stop Climate Chaos march, setting off from Grosvenor Square to Westminster around 12.50pm .

The keynote address at the morning service will be given by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. The churches are calling on the UK government to take a leading role in securing a fair, ambitious and binding climate deal in Copenhagen . For Christians, tackling climate change is urgent for two major reasons. Firstly, it is a social justice issue since it is having immediate and devastating impacts on the world's poorest people, who are least responsible yet hardest hit. Secondly, humanity is charged by God with protecting and preserving the diversity and beauty of God's creation, which is depleted and threatened by climate change. Church leaders urge that the UK must commit to stringent reductions in carbon emissions and provide money for adaptation and clean development to help poor communities in their response to climate change.

Prayers will be led by the Vincent Nichols, Head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales , plus other church leaders and visiting partners from the global South. Steve Clifford, General Director of the Evangelical Alliance, will MC the service.

The event is organised by A Rocha, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Christian Concern for One World, Christian Ecology Link, Columban JPIC, MRDF, Operation Noah, Progressio, SPEAK and Tearfund.

 

Notes:

 

10.00 - 13.00 Wave activities for children and young people in the lobby of Westminster Central Hall , SW1H 9NH , organised by CAFOD. This will include children having faces and hands painted blue, and creating a climate justice graffiti wall.

 

One of the church fliers for 'The Wave' is available at:

http://www.arocha.org/gb-en/6927-DSY/version/default/part/AttachmentData/data/0908%20Ecun_wave_flyer.pdf

 

On 5 December between 11.00-12.00 there will be a time of quiet prayer and reflection for the Copenhagen Summit at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square, and the chance to visit the powerful Hard Rain Exhibition which St. Martin's is mounting on the railings of their courtyard and throughout their downstairs foyer. Hard Rain, by Mark Edwards, is a photographic elegy and an impassioned and moving cry for action on climate change, habitat loss and human rights. Hard Rain explores the issues that are defining the 21 st century.

 

The website of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland is offering prayer resources for churches and individual Christians praying for bold and legally binding agreements at the Copenhagen Summit. www.ctbi.org.uk/climatechangeprayer

 

Churches internationally will be ringing their bells at 3pm local time on 13th December to coincide with the Copenhagen Summit:

http://www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/countdown-to-climate-justice/bellringing.html'

Westminster RC Cathedral is one of the churches doing this in Britain .

 

The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition represents 11 million members across 100 UK organisations, including many Christian agencies such as CAFOD, Christian Aid and Tearfund. Go to: www.the-wave.org.uk and www.stopclimatechaos.org for a full list of activities and the exact route of the march on 5 th December.

 

Images are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stopclimatechaos/sets/72157621653678149/

 

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