Christians to lead 'funeral march' over climate change

By agency reporter
March 19, 2009

Christians from across the country will gather in Coventry today (Thursday), for a national Climate Change Day of Action, which will include a funeral procession through the City.

The day will begin with a midday service in Coventry Cathedral, followed by a march and rally in the city centre.

The Day of Action is being organised by Christian Aid in partnership with CAFOD, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and the World Development Movement. Campaigners are calling on the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown and other world leaders to ensure that the plight of the world’s poorest countries is central to crucial climate change talks taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark in December.

The Very Reverend John Irvine, Dean of Coventry will welcome the congregation to the service at which participants are to hear first hand testimony from a CAFOD partner James Galgallo, from northern Kenya, about the devastation caused by climate change. Prayers and addresses will stress the moral obligation of Christians to take action on climate change now.

Following the reading, Luke 8:1-8, the parable of the sower, the sermon is to be given by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones.

He will say: "The climate is changing and there is no justice in the change"..."Those most affected by the changing climate are powerless to do anything about it and those who have the power to make a difference don't yet feel the full disastrous effects."

The Bishop will describe the lack of climate justice in Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Malawi where each person produces less than 0.1 ton of carbon compared to 10 tons from each person in Europe.

James Jones will also call for prayer for the Heads of State at the G20 summit and the leaders at Copenhagen. His sermon will end with the words: "when the Son of Man comes again will he find faith on earth in the God of justice?"

World renowned climatologist Dr James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who is to attend the service in a private capacity, will then speak on the threat of climate change.

Jude Mackenzie, director of Advocacy and Communications at Christian Aid, will say: "The scriptures make it clear that as Christians we have an imperative to care for the vulnerable and to continue Jesus' work of establishing a kingdom of peace and justice. Climate change is an issue of the profoundest injustice."

The order of service includes an Act of Commitment at which the congregation are invited to read the Christian Aid climate change pledge in which individuals commit to:

• campaining for a fair and just deal in Copenhagen

• lobbying the richest to repay their carbon debt

• doing all they can to reduce their own carbon footprint and encourage friends and family to campaign on climate change.

The congregation will be joined by award-winning gospel soloist Sandra Godley from Coventry and the Visual Ministry Choir from London. Following the service, the congregation will be invited to follow the choir in a procession out of the building and to the site of the Old Cathedral.

From here a New Orlean’s style ‘funeral march’ will proceed through the city, mourning those in the developing world who have already died because of the effects of global warming.

The march will end with a rally addressed by speakers including Christian Aid director Dr Daleep Mukarji and actress and environmental campaigner, Greta Scacchi said: "When world leaders meet in Copenhagen in December they must put poor communities in developing countries, who are already suffering the devastating effects of climate change, at the top of the agenda."

Organisations participating in the Climate Change Day of Action say the next UN climate change summit which takes place in Copenhagen in December must agree new carbon capping limits to come into force when the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

Vulnerable communities in countries with the least responsibility for carbon emissions are now bearing the brunt of the impact of climate change through droughts, floods, desertification, an increase in extreme weather and a higher incidence of disease.

Campaigners are concerned there will be no agreement in Copenhagen unless countries show leadership by cutting their own emissions and agree to shoulder the cost of helping the developing world with clean technology and adaptation to climate change.

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