Responding to COP 26 and the Climate Crisis

What is COP 26?

The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.

It will see world leaders will gather to set urgent targets to tackle the climate crisis.

It’s a once in a generation chance (some have say our ‘last best chance’) to take the steps we need to halt the climate emergency, and agree to limit emissions so the global temperature rise we see does not go over the critical 1.5 degrees.

This brilliant video from our friends at the Joint Public Issue Team (JPIT) explains a bit more about why it matters. This video can be used in churches and can be downloaded here.

JPIT have also put together a brilliant briefing sheet here

How can we respond to COP 26 in the coming weeks?

Churches across the UK have the chance to use this as an opportunity to jump deeper into prayer and action for creation. More urgently, we also have the chance to raise our voice, and call for ambitious action from our leaders to bring about climate justice.

This blog from our friends in Diocese of Southwark explains more of why this matters and how the Anglican Communion is responding.

There are a number of creative ways we can ALL take action in the next two weeks.

  • Ring Out for Climate Change is asking churches to ring their bells at 6pm for 30 minutes on Saturday October 30th as a warning of the climate emergency and to mark the start of the conference. Many churches across the Diocese of London have said they will take part. More details here.

  • Christian Aid are encouraging us all to make simple origami ‘prayer boats’ and send them to our MPs. More details here. You can find out who your MP is here. It’s not too late to do this and keep up the pressure!

  • The Right Revd Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton has recorded some prayers to use in our gathered church services in the next three weeks as COP26 is in the news. He focusses particularly on praying for the impact of the climate change on our brothers and sisters in the global south. You can find this prayer video below and can download it for use in church services here.
  • Renew Our World, Tearfund and 24-7 Prayer have created a brilliant COP 26 prayer resource for churches in the run up to COP which can be downloaded here.

  • St. Marys Eco Church is “Making Room for COP26 in London” from 1st-16th November, with a series of creative events: prayer; music, lament, writing. Held at St George the Martyr, opposite Borough Tube & open to all.

  • Many of us, including the Bishop of Kensington walked with & supported the Young Christian Climate Network team in their London leg of their “Relay to COP26”. They and the flag is now approaching Glasgow and you can follow thier progress and pray for them here.

  • There are prayer vigils in churches across London during COP 26 to gather and raise our collective voices; to hold vigil, and to demand action. Check out your local deanery/ borough networks!

What more can we do to tackle the Climate Crisis?

COP 26 is a great opportunity for us to focus our attention and demand action on climate change as people of faith, following Jesus and loving our neighbour. But what happens when COP26 ends?

The challenge is to continue the journey beyond COP in our churches, on a whole-life discipleship of caring for God’s creation.

There are two things that churches might want to consider as a longer term response.

Hold a Climate Sunday Service

The Climate Sunday initiative is a coalition of Christian environmental charities, calling on all local churches across Great Britain & Ireland to hold a climate-focused service each year.

It can happen on any Sunday! There have been over 1000 churches holding Climate Sunday Services in the run up to COP 26.

But the climate crisis will continue and so therefore does the need to pay attention and raise awareness in our churches.

The call is to Worship, Commit and Speak Up about the Climate Crisis.

You can register your Climate Sunday Service here.

There are brilliant resources with everything you need to play a Climate Sunday service here.

Can your church hold a climate-focused service to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action?

Register for Eco Church

Eco Church logo

Eco Church is an initiative from A Rocha and is one of the best ways for churches to take long term, practical action on the Climate Crisis and Caring for God’s Creation.

As a Diocese we are supporting Eco Church and working towards being an Eco-Diocese too! The Map of all the Diocese of London Eco Churches is here

Starting your Eco Church journey is simple! Gather anyone together who wants to be part of it, and register your church here.

  • Churches need to register, and then complete the unique online Eco Survey about how they are caring for God’s earth in different areas of their life and work.

  • There are five key areas of church life you consider: Worship and Teaching, Building Management, Land Management, Community and Global Engagement, and Lifestyle.

  • The answers a church provides will collect points towards an Eco Church Award - Bronze, Silver and then Gold

  • the more your church does, the more points you get!

Eco Church have put together brilliant resources to help you on each of the five themese, which you can find here.

We recently held a webinar with A Rocha for Diocese of London churches who are registered and starting to think about Eco Church which can be found below.