We join in with COP 26 as a community of faith with so many other communities of faith this fortnight trying to be a church that acts as though we believe that God made the earth in all it’s wonder.
The Moderator, Lord Wallace, has written to encourage every congregation in the Church of Scotland to do all that we can do to ensure that this gathering succeeds in addressing the huge challenges that we are facing as a planet. And we’re going to play our part as Newbattle Parish.
A call to prayer and worship
We want to encourage people to pray; to focus on the climate in our worship and preaching around COP26, and to join the many opportunities for in-person and online worship that have been planned, across Glasgow and elsewhere, We are also arranging a local event where people can come together to pray for justice for the poorest and for our planet. Last week, as we are already a registered Eco Congregation, I registered us for the church’s COP 26 campaign and pledged that we will have a special prayer service on Tuesday the 9th November at 10am, in person at Mayfield and Easthouses church during the COP.
At this prayer meeting, we will pray for our leaders involved in momentous decisions; for those whose lives are most blighted by climate injustice; and for the earth which is part of God’s beautiful creation. We will also remember in our prayers all those working on behalf of our Church in relation to COP26, including the chaplaincy provision offered through Glasgow Cathedral, which will be open to any who would value an opportunity to reflect in a safe and sacred space. This Chaplaincy is involved in arranging a special COP26 ecumenical service to be held this Sunday on the 7th November at Glasgow Cathedral, which will be live-streamed.
A call to witness on the streets
The Moderator wanted to encourage as many people from congregations to take part in the global day of action and mass mobilisation which will take place on the 6th November next Saturday in Glasgow and around the world.
Pray for the rally which will gather in Kelvingrove Park from 11.30am and will parade through the city streets, arriving in Glasgow Green at 3pm. Faith and belief communities will be a specific part of this rally and many congregations will be there but of course, as the pandemic rules out travelling and gathering in large numbers for members of congregations, and those unable to travel for other reasons, we are invited to do something visible outside our own churches as a public sign of solidarity and support for climate justice and care for creation. Our church will be at The Pool in Newtongrange that day where we will have our climate justice banner displayed. This banner will then move to outside Mayfield and Easthouses church for the special service on the 9th.
- Hear the voices of those people most deeply impacted
The third request from the Moderator is to ensure that the wisdom and experience of our sisters and brothers in the countries most affected by global warming and in societies least able to cope with measures to mitigate the impact, is uppermost in our thoughts and actions. Because with climate change, it is the poorest who are often excluded from decisions which hurt them most. There is a real fear that this will be even more the case in Glasgow where many people will be unable to travel to the UK because of COVID restrictions.
As a church we have a specific commitment to the poorest and most marginalised and we want to ensure that their voices are heard. In partnership with Christian Aid, SCIAF, Tearfund and the Church of Scotland, Glasgow Churches Together COP26 Group have produced some short videos to help the voices of the poorest to be heard to ensure that the reality and plight of those most deeply impacted by climate injustice is heard over these coming weeks. Because we stand, with Christ, in solidarity with them, we commit to really listen and we will watch some short videos from these countries at our special service.
We recognise that there are many demands on people’s time and energy, but we hope that you will agree that the future of God’s sacred earth, and the decisions which will be taken over coming weeks, are amongst the most urgent.
Let us together pray and strive to be a church that acts as if we believe that God made the earth in all its wonder.