Churches commit to sustainable environmental development

By staff writers
September 1, 2010

In a message honouring the Day for Creation, 1 September 2010, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I has expressed his hope that the financial and economic crisis experienced by many societies would bring about "a powerful change in direction, to a path of viable and sustainable environmental development."

Churches from a broad range of countries and traditions will participate with prayers and other activities in the Time for Creation over the next 40 days.

In Christianity, 'creation' refers to the whole of the natural world and all life being received as a gift of God - it is quite distinct from the recent fundamentalist belief in 'creationism', which rejects modern science and theology in favour of a magical view of human origins; one rejected overwhelmingly by mainstream Christian denominations.

In 1989, the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I started a tradition of annual prayer for the environment when he proclaimed the first day of prayer for the environment on 1 September, the first day of the Orthodox church year.

Nowadays, 1 September is known to Orthodox, Protestant and Catholic Christians alike as the beginning of the Time for Creation, during which churches and congregations are called to pay special attention to the responsibility of humanity for the whole earth and all that lives, grows and exists.

In 2010, the WCC proposes to extend the Time for Creation until 10 October, so as to join a global civil society movement celebrating climate solutions around the world on 10 October 2010.

As 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, many churches will give thanks for the dazzling variety of nature and pray for its preservation.

The World Council of Churches and the All Africa Council of Churches are asking Christians to pray especially for and with people in Africa, where biodiversity and human welfare are both threatened by climate change.

Prayers and other texts and ideas that can be adapted for local use have been made available via the WCC website:


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