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Parliament lobby on climate change

Thousands of Christians from different denominations will gather in Westminster next week (Wednesday 17th June), to speak up for the things they love - from surfing to rambling - which could be lost as a result of climate change 

CLimate change lobby500The ecumenical service, organised by Tearfund and other Christian organisations, will take place ahead of the first mass lobby of the new government. Thousands of people are expected to arrive in Westminster for the mass lobby, brought together by more than 100 agencies through The Climate Coalition.

They will demand that their new MPs take a stand in the global fight against climate change and save the things they love. Ahead of the global climate summit to be held in Paris in December, campaigners from all walks of life will call on our politicians to work together across the political parties to:

Support a global climate change agreement that will end carbon pollution from fossil fuels by the middle of the century – critical if we are to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees.

Ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals to be agreed by the United Nations this autumn reflect the need for ambitious action on climate change.

End climate pollution from coal use in the UK, on the way to phasing out carbon from our power system.

Invest in warm homes, sustainable transport, and clean energy.

Baptist minister the Revd Dave Matthews, 63, pastor of a church for surfers at Polzeath, North Cornwall, will be among them. He said, 'I’m passionate about surfing, especially on my favourite beaches in Cornwall, but climate change is damaging coastlines and causing the sea level to rise, threatening beaches and the communities near them all around the world. In Bangladesh, people's land and crops are being washed away, making survival extremely difficult.

'As a Christian, I believe the church has a moral imperative to speak up for the people most affected by climate change and to care for God’s beautiful creation. That’s why I campaign with Tearfund and why I’m going to lend my voice to many others calling our government to act.'

Baptists David Golding and Gareth Davies-Jones are leaders of the regional campaign on global poverty and climate change, North East Call to Action.

They are working together to mobilise support for the national lobby of Parliament on 17 June – and believe Baptist churches are ideally suited to make a significant contribution in ensuring all North East constituencies represented.

‘Climate change is the greatest moral and humanitarian challenge facing humanity and it threatens all the things we love most,’ they said. ‘However, on 17 June, we have a great opportunity to help protect them, by meeting our newly elected MPs in Westminster to ask them to commit to strong action on climate change.

‘We would like to see most, if not all, NE constituencies represented at this event, and feel that Baptist churches are ideally situated to make a significant contribution to achieving this! Not only are they widely distributed throughout the region, but they can share the cost of travel and thus minimise the burden on those who are willing to act as their ‘delegates’ at the event.

‘Christian believers in general, and those in the North East in particular, have an enviable reputation for their support for action on global poverty.

‘And our efforts have been blessed by God with, for example, massive debt cancellation and a reduction in child mortality of over 50 per cent - amazing! Now is not the time to let ourselves down – still less to betray the world’s poor and our own children and grandchildren - by a failure to rise to this great challenge.’

During the service, which will be held at  St Margaret's, Parliament Square, people will have the opportunity to pray and worship together, while hearing from The Bishop of Salisbury, about the church’s mandate to speak up about climate change, and the devastating effects climate change is already having on the world’s most vulnerable people.

The Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury said, 'The changing climate is affecting all of us but is pressing hardest on those who are most vulnerable. As the church, we are called to serve the world's poorest people, that’s why we need to speak up and call our government to act now.'

The Climate Coalition’s combined membership totals more than 11 million people across the UK.


Baptist Times, 08/06/2015
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