10 July 2007

Empowering and equipping the Church in the face of climate change

Receiving the report 'Caring for creation in the face of climate change', the Methodist Conference is encouraging local churches, circuits and districts to monitor and reduce their carbon emissions and made a commitment to identify resources to support this work.

The report expresses concern that current government policies are unlikely to achieve the target of a 60% cut in UK carbon emissions by 2050. It draws attention to the devastating impact of climate change on the world's poorest communities and calls for decisive action, not only by governments, but also by churches and those in the business and voluntary sectors.

Anthea Cox, Coordinating Secretary for Public Life and Social Justice, says; "There are so many ways we can all make a positive difference to the way our environment is changing. As Christians, we have a responsibility to care for creation and to live in ways that respect our planet. It is essential that we take responsibility for the impact that our lifestyles have upon the environment and communities around the world. Through the Connexional Team and local churches we hope to empower and equip people to make the small changes that can add up to a big difference".

'Caring for creation in the face of climate change' also expressed support for Christian Aid and the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) in their work for justice for those most affected by climate change and noted the need to monitor the ecological impact of every aspect of the Church's life and work.

MRDF are using a giant red 'carbon footprint' at Conference to show the impact of the world's richest countries in causing climate change. It represents the average UK citizen's carbon footprint and is accompanied by other smaller footprints representing those of Nigeria, Cameroon, India, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Myanmar that demonstrate the disproportionate responsibility for climate change between rich and poor countries. Representatives from the Methodist churches of the different countries were pictured holding their footprints.

Resources to help individuals and churches to take action on climate change are available from Creation Challenge, the environmental network of the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, at www.creationchallenge.org.uk. A video resource for use in churches, house groups and district meetings is now available on the Creation Challenge website.

A hi-resolution version of the footprint photograph is available here.

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