The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Desmond Tutu, and church leaders from the regions most affected by climate change will speak out from a faith perspective during the Copenhagen UN climate summit this Sunday.
A gathering on 13 December, preceded by a high-level ecumenical celebration, will be held on the occasion of an international bell ringing initiative, uniting thousands of churches around the world in an ecumenical call for climate justice.
The conference will be entitled 'Beyond politics and business – Climate change from a religious and ethical perspective'. Christian leaders are urging world leaders to agree on a fair, effective and binding climate deal that puts the needs of the poor first.
Speakers will include the Rev Dr Samuel Kobia (General Secretary of the World Council of Churches), Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace Prize laureate 1984 and anti-apartheid champion), Bishop Sofie Petersen (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark and Greenland) and the Rev Tofiga Falani (President, Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu)
the event takes place at the Church of Our Lady (Vor Frue Kirke), Copenhagen's Cathedral.
Before a press conference, at 11.30 am, on the Rådhuspladsen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu will hand over half a million signatures and pledges for climate justice to Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC executive secretary.
At 2.00 pm, participants at the UN climate summit will be invited to an ecumenical celebration in the presence of COP15 leaders and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark at the Copenhagen Cathedral. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will preach the sermon.
The celebration will be broadcast live on Danish television and can be watched later on the website of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
At 3.00 pm, the churches in Denmark will ring their bells 350 times in what will be the central act of a worldwide international bell ringing initiative, carried out by thousands of churches around the world. The bell ringing symbolises the 350 parts per million that mark the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere according to many scientists.
Church leaders and the WCC say that church policies and actions on climate change are rooted in the Bible, which teaches the wholeness of God's creation and the centrality of justice in the Christian message.
In addition to ecological, social, economic and political aspects, the ecumenical movement states that addressing climate change involves a spiritual dimension. From an ethical point of view, it regards climate change as a matter of justice, as impoverished and vulnerable communities in the global South are and will be those most affected by its consequences.
National Council of Churches in Denmark http://www.danskekirkersraad.dk
World Council of Churches http://www.oikoumene.org/climatechange