World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Ecumenical Review traces religious perspectives on climate change in Africa

Ecumenical Review traces religious perspectives on climate change in Africa

Ecumenical Review traces religious perspectives on climate change in Africa

Photo: Peter Williams/WCC

26 October 2017

Many scholars have contributed to ongoing reflection on climate change in Africa, but relatively few voices have addressed the interface between religion and climate from within the African context, according to the guest editors of the latest issue of The Ecumenical Review, the quarterly of the World Council of Churches.

The African continent will be adversely and disproportionally affected by climate change, and “authentically African voices need to be heard in the international and ecumenical contexts, since African scholars may make distinctive contributions to the wider debates,” the guest editors, Ezra Chitando and Ernst Conradie write in their editorial for the October issue.

The issue is published under the title, “Praying for Rain? African Perspectives on Religion and Climate Change.”

Zimbabwe-based Chitando serves as the World Council of Churches’ theology consultant on HIV and AIDS for the Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy, and Conradie is senior professor in the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

The issue includes ten contributions from various religious and contextual perspectives, organized around the question of praying for rain in the context of climate change.

“This is based on the recognition that the most obvious way in which climate change is predicted to influence African countries, especially but not only in the southern and eastern parts of Africa, is through prolonged and regular droughts and irregular weather patterns,” the guest editors write.

“The standard response to extended periods of drought within religious communities is to pray for rain,” they continue. “If it still makes sense to pray to God in the context of climate change (as all the contributors seem to assume), what exactly should one pray for?”

The question is addressed in the ten articles in diverging ways in different regions and in different religious and confessional traditions, so that a variety of perspectives reflect differences of culture, gender, race, class, discipline, or area of study and educational context.

This issue of The Ecumenical Review also includes the text of an address given by the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomew I, at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva in April 2017 as part of his official visit to Switzerland on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his enthronement as Ecumenical Patriarch.

Contents of the latest issue: "Praying for Rain? African Perspectives on Religion and Climate Change"

Read a free sample article from the latest issue: 'Praying for Courage: African Religious Leaders and Climate Change,' by Ezra Chitando

More information about The Ecumenical Review (including subscription information).