Church leaders will join mass protests in London and Glasgow this weekend, which aim to put pressure on governments over climate change at the impending UN talks in Copenhagen.
Almost 20 senior church leaders are joining 'The Wave' on Saturday to call for an “ambitious, fair and effective deal."
The Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, will attend The Wave in London.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland and the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church will take part in Scotland.
“The weekend’s events should send a clear message of urgency and hope to the Copenhagen Summit” said Rowan Williams.
“This is a very important moment for us all in trying to keep everyone’s eyes open to the serious environmental challenges we face. The world’s leaders need to hear from the world’s people about their desire for a safe, sustainable environment in which God’s care for all he has made is honoured by us. This weekend’s events should send a clear message of urgency and hope to the Copenhagen Summit.”
16 senior leaders of Christian Churches in the UK will attend an ecumenical service in London on 5 December. 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.
Thousands of people will also descend on Scotland’s biggest city. A 'family-friendly' march will finish with in a mass rally with music, entertainment and speeches in Kelvingrove Park.
Right Reverend Bill Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, and Most Reverend David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, will take part in a joint ecumenical church service before the rally.
Right Reverend Bill Hewitt, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “We need to be sure that the negotiators gathered in Copenhagen are aware of our support and our belief in the importance of their task.”
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, added: “People from all faiths and none will suffer the effects of catastrophic climate change if world leaders fail to deal with the problem.
”The leaders of the industrialised nations meeting in Copenhagen next week must deliver a legally binding agreement to tackle climate change urgently. “
Next Sunday (13th December), churches across the world will ring their bells 350 times to highlight the importance of the international summit.
The ringing will begin at the high-profile ecumenical service at the Lutheran Cathedral in Copenhagen, and it is hoped that Christians around the world will echo them by sounding their own bells, shells, drums, gongs or horns.
They are ringing 350 times, because this refers to 350 parts per million (ppm) – the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, according to scientists, climate experts and government figures.