07 July 2009

Church calls on all to repent of climate change sin

The Methodist Church is urging Christians to repent of the sins that contribute to climate change. A report received by the annual Methodist Conference in Wolverhampton today encourages people to acknowledge their complicity in systems that exploit creation and prey on the powerless.

But the Church also wants to empower Christians to make positive lifestyle changes, in line with the report's title, Hope in God's Future.

Revd David Gamble, the President of the Conference, said, "The first step in making a difference is the recognition of what we've done wrong so far. But we can't just stop there. We must not be beholden to economic growth at the expense of our world and the lives of those who are most vulnerable.

"In the face of climate change, do we give up and treat it as a lost cause? No. We are people of faith. We can turn the tide if we commit ourselves to acting together to make our planet a safer space. So the report challenges the Church to tackle the issue head on, committing itself to significant action over the coming years."

The report outlines plans to reduce the Church's carbon emissions by 80% by the year 2050, in line with the target set by the UK Government. The Government is criticised in the report for its failure to outline how these tough targets can be achieved.

"But we are also challenging ourselves," added David. "We cannot expect the Government to take the issue seriously if we fail to do so ourselves, and this report outlines some big changes for the Church."

Bishop Michael Baroi of the Church of Bangladesh urged the British Church to prioritise this work. He said, "By 2050, two thirds of my country will go under water and about 30 million people will be displaced and have no place of their own to live on this planet Earth, if we do not deal with this issue of global warming and climate change urgently and seriously".

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