Over 20 Christians from around Redditch in Worcestershire gathered at the Emanuel Church in the town centre on 17 January for a special service about climate change. Together with Jackie Marsh of the Emmanuel Church, the service was led by Jane Lavery and Jim Quinn, two CAFOD volunteers from Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish Redditch. They were both in Paris last December for the UN climate change summit.
All the major Christian development charities; Christian Aid, Tearfund and CAFOD are currently campaigning on climate change and because of Jane and Jim’s recent campaigning visit to Paris Churches Together in Redditch invited them to speak about their experience. The ecumenical approach to this issue was particularly appropriate as the service was one of a number taking place around the town as part of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Illustrated by photos Jane shared some impressions of her visit. One of them showed the members of the CAFOD party holding a huge banner showing the logos of various faith organisations under the words “United For Climate Justice”. Jane said “this banner drew a lot of media attention. Sad but not surprising that in our broken world a sign of inter-faith cooperation is newsworthy. The banner contained, side by side, the emblems of Christian, Jewish and Muslim charities.
Jim spoke about why climate change was important and what was agreed in Paris by the 196 countries at the conference. “Climate change”, he said, “is real and affecting the lives, sometimes fatally, of people now. The poor are suffering the most and they have done least to cause it.” He continued “let’s hope that all the counties, including ours, step up to the mark a
nd deliver on the Paris Agreement.
Jim also spoke about Pope Francis’ encyclical – Laudato Si: on care of our common home -issued last year in which the Pope described climate change as “one of the principal challenges facing humanity”.
Towards the end the congregation were invited to make a personal act of commitment to do something to help combat climate change. Jane concluded the service with a prayer of commitment composed by one of their friends with them in Paris.
Sarah Leeson, Lay Pastor at The Emmanuel church, described the service as “very thought provoking”