Canadian church leader's climate change appeal

By staff writers
January 17, 2010

Mardi Tindal, the Moderator of Canada’s largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Canada, has issued an open letter this Sunday (17 Jan) about climate change and action to combat global warming.

The letter, entitled ‘Where Is the Hope after Copenhagen’, was written following the Moderator’s recent travel to Denmark to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Tindal attended the conference as part of a World Council of Churches delegation.

It is a letter that Tindal describes as being primarily inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr. She explains that, in particular, King’s 1963 letter from a Birmingham jail galvanised her sense of purpose in wanting to address what she describes as “one of the most urgent moral challenges in human history.”

The timing for the release of the letter is linked both to the one-month anniversary of the end of the climate change talks and to the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States on Monday 18 January 2010.

The Canadian church leader says King’s powerful witness when faced with those who criticised him for his actions in fighting racial segregation, served as a primary source of inspiration for her when she was writing this letter.

Tindal first read her letter, during the Sunday morning worship service at Sydenham Street United Church in Brantford, Ontario on 17 January. Sydenham Street is Tindal’s home congregation, and the place she sought comfort immediately following her return to Canada from Denmark.

“The day after I returned home from the climate change talks, I needed a place to go where I could safely cry tears of lament, “ says Tindal. “I needed somewhere where I would be supported as I wrestled with the bitter disappointment I felt with the result of the Copenhagen talks.”

She says it is fitting to return to Sydenham Street United Church this Sunday to deliver a message that she hopes will be a source of inspiration and hope for those who, like her, were heartbroken by the missed opportunity of Copenhagen.

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