On Wednesday 20th October 16:00-17:30: Young Christians will meet with church leaders, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace to challenge them on climate action ahead of the crucial COP26 climate talks in November.
The meeting will be a valuable opportunity for young people from across Britain to engage directly with leaders representing a wide range of Christian denominations and networks on the climate crisis. They will challenge church groups to respond practically - from regularly preaching to their churches about climate justice to divesting the denomination’s finances from fossil fuels.
The Archbishop of Canterbury will answer questions from the young activists and there will be an opportunity for the young people to sit down face to face with the church leaders.
They have also put their questions to COP26 President Alok Sharma, who will respond via video during the event. Nick Baker, the UK COP26 Unit’s deputy director for engagement, will be there for a time of question and answer.
The young people present have been campaigning in creative ways for more urgent action on the climate crisis - including a relay pilgrimage from the G7 in Cornwall to COP26 in Glasgow organised by Young Christian Climate Network.
One of the key issues young people are campaigning for is funding from countries like the UK to support communities who are already impacted by droughts, floods and storms made worse by the climate crisis. In 2009, the year some of the young people attending the event were born, world leaders promised $100 billion a year to help communities adapt, but this promise has still not been met.
The event is hosted by Lambeth Palace and organised by the Young Christian Climate Network, Christian Aid and Tearfund.
Naomi-Ruth Bookless, 20, an organiser with Young Christian Climate Network, said:
“As Christians, we're called to steward God's Earth and love our neighbours. The effects of climate change are damaging creation and threatening the lives of humans and animals across the world, now and for future generations. This event is an opportunity for church leaders to listen to their young people, and understand why and how to respond to the climate crisis. Together, we must Rise to the Moment.”
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:
“Caring for God's creation is at the heart of our calling as Christians. In doing so we offer thanks to the God who created us. It protects those who are suffering from climate change. It witnesses to a care for justice. I am deeply grateful to Tearfund and Christian Aid for bringing together a group of passionate young activists ahead of COP26. I hope people will join me in praying for their work, and for a world where we love God and neighbour, worship Christ and show our commitment by treasuring our creation, as part of ensuring abundance and flourishing are made possible for all.”
Dot Tyler, Head of Youth and Emerging Generation Team at Tearfund, said: “Church leaders need to sit up and listen to young people - they are real leaders when it comes to responding with the vision and scale the climate emergency requires. The church has a vital role to play in caring for creation and creating a better, fairer world for our global neighbours, and we hope that today's time of listening and conversation can be a real turning point within the UK church.”
Richard Baker, Campaigns, Youth and Schools Lead at Christian Aid, said:
“Young people are leading the way on the climate crisis with their prophetic words and action, the Young Christian Climate Network’s Relay to COP26 being just one shining example among many. Their faith, hope and love is capable of moving us all to the level of change and action required – and if their leadership is matched by the commitment of church leaders and the Church at large then real change will ripple through our communities. If it is matched by the leadership of politicians too, then the world may yet get to breathe a huge sigh of relief.”
Notes to Editors
In 2020 Tearfund surveyed young Christians in the UK on climate, the church and their faith. 66% of young people surveyed said they had not heard a sermon on climate change on a Sunday, and only 9% felt their church was doing enough on the issue. Further details can be found in the Burning Down the House report.
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Tearfund is a Christian relief and development agency and a member of the Disasters’ Emergency Committee. Tearfund has been working around the world for more than 50 years responding to disasters and helping lift communities out of poverty. For more information about the work of Tearfund, please visit www.tearfund.org
About Christian Aid
We have more than 70 years’ experience of working in partnership to support communities to thrive. We tackle the root causes of poverty so that women, men and children the world over are strengthened against future knocks. And if disasters happen, we get people the help they want straight away. www.christianaid.org.uk/