World Council of Churches

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Bellringing liturgy by NCC Denmark

This material was compiled by members of The National Council of Churches in Denmark Climate Change Working Group as an inspiration for congregations taking part in the international bellringing for climate justice on 13 December 2009.

14 December 2009

Prepared by members of The National Council of Churches in Denmark Climate Change Working Group:

  • Keld B. Hansen,pastor, Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Jacqueline Ryle, Catholic
  • Hanna Smidt, staff,  National Council of Churches in Denmark
  • Martin Ishøj, pastor, Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church

The texts below focus on alarm, hope and action for creation. They are meant as an inspiration for congregations taking part in the international bellringing for climate justice on 13 December 2009.


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(E.g. improvisation on Torsten Borbye Nielsen’s ”Bells of the World” which has 350 notes to it. See more at the end of this material)

Welcome and introduction

Opening prayer

Heavenly Father, you created the sky and sea, the comfort of the moon and stars at night, the warmth and brightness of the sun. You gave us light and life, the beauty of the earth. You gave us your love. Father, we thank you for your never-ending love. We thank you for the wonders of your Creation. Forgive us that instead of caring for your gift, we seek to become masters of your creation. Amen.

Hymn with 350 notes
Music and text: Torsten Borbye Nielsen
Translated to English by Edward Broadbridge


Together we pray for all of God’s creation:
Eternal God and creator:
You created the earth and all things, visible and invisible.
As those you created to care for all creation
We stand before you in awe,
We praise you. 

God, Jesus Christ, saviour of the world:
In becoming human you entered into creation
In you the created world is reconciled with the eternal God.
Standing before you we acknowledge our responsibility towards all of creation
We confess that each time we think only of ourselves and of our own needs we are guilty of neglect towards your creation.

Your creation is groaning and crying out our mistakes to you. 

Holy Spirit, breath of God:
Through your power you renew all creation.
You bring life to everything and create life anew.
We thank you for making us part of life
And we thank you that when we strive to care for creation and
live in awe and respect in the world,
we know you are making use of our gifts.

Together with all creation we offer you our thanks.


Ecumenical prayer by the ecumenical church grouping ACK Sachsen, Germany


Responsive reading of Psalm 8, 1-9

Leader (L): O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

Congregation (C): Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

L: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

C: What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

L: Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.

C: You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,

L: all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

C: the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

L: O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

(New Revised Standard Version)

2nd hymn

Reading: Planet Earth, our sick patient

Our earth is sick
Its temperature is soaring.
The earth is fever-struck.
We’ve wrapped the earth in blankets.
It can’t cool down.

Each increase in greenhouse gasses
Piles on more blankets,
Heats up our suffering earth even more.
The climate of the earth is changing.
Ice is melting, sea levels rising.
Storms gain in strength,
Bush fires rage ever stronger
Water supplies disappear
Animal species die out
Coral reefs are destroyed
The earth is a sick patient! 

When we are struck down by illness
When our temperature soars to dangerous levels
When our glucose levels rise
When our cholesterol levels rise
When our blood pressure rises
We do something.

We call in sick
We stay in bed
We call a doctor
We take medicine
We take it easy
We focus on our health
And we hope with all our strength
Until we recover and get going again

But what are we doing to help the earth?
This precious place
That was and is the gem of the Universe?

How are we helping this sick patient
Who is getting sicker by the day,
by the month,
by the year?
How do we stop where we’re going
and start helping the earth
start giving it the peace and calm
the tender loving care
it needs
to get well?

Keld B. Hansen 2009

The Apostolic Creed


Alternative creed

We believe in God, who creates all things, who embraces all things, who celebrates all things, who is present in every part of the fabric of creation.

We believe in God as the source of all life, who baptizes this planet with living water.

We believe in Jesus Christ, who is with the suffering one, the poor one, the malnourished one, the climate refugee, who loves and cares for this world and who suffers with it.

And we believe in Jesus Christ, the seed of life, who came to reconcile and renew this world and everything in it.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, who moves with God and who moves among and with us today.

We believe in everlasting life in God.

And we believe in the hope that one day God will put an end to death and all destructive forces.


Gurukul Theological college, India / adapted by Keld B. Hansen 2009

3rd hymn


Suggested texts for preaching:

Genesis 1,1 – 2,4; Exodus 23,10-13; Deutoronomy 30,19-20; Isaiah 24,4-6; Ezekiel 18,30-32; Psalm 104 1,24-31; Psalm 146,1-10; Luke 15,11-31; Luke 19,1-10; Acts 2,42-47; 1. John 5,1-5.

Silence / lighting of candles for Creation


Lord, you created heaven and earth and
the stars that glow in the dark,
you gave us the beauty of the earth in all its diversity
you gave us your unending love
you gave us warmth and love of our neighbour
to share the joy of your creation with others.

We thank you for all that you entrusted us with.
Forgive us that we have not
cared for your gift as we ought.
We ask you:
lead us to walk new paths that respect your creation,
respect the fragility of life and the earth
respect and love our neighbour.

Loving Father, without your grace and love,
without your help
we can do nothing.
Help us rebuild and heal all that we have destroyed,
Help us rediscover your wisdom of love.

Jacqueline Ryle 2009 

The Lord´s Prayer

4th hymn 

Bell Ringing Prayer:

Jesus Christ, Saviour of the world:
There's a ringing in our ears and our hearts throb
as temperatures rise
an image emerging ever clearer
of communities gasping for breath
of ecosystems gasping for breath
of the earth experiencing increasing climatic change
species dying and ordinary people becoming
climate refugees.
Drought, floods, cyclones, sickness
destroy landscapes,
All the plagues of Egypt, only created by humans. 

Almighty, love, Jesus Christ,
You who takes upon you our death - and gives us life
We are weighed down by guilt and idealism
Bring us under the protective wings of faith
You who are the truth, the way and the life!

Show us your way again and give us the will to follow it.
Give our politicians and parliaments the will and courage
To choose and want to walk your path,
Where all people are equal and there is no arrogance,
Where everything you created flourishes in its own right in your honour
There’s a ringing in our ears and our hearts throb
And not without reason.
Let bells ring across the land and through cities
Take away the power of the sandgrains trickling through
the hour-glass of fear.
Scatter the sand instead as exquisite chimes
350 chimes of beautiful sound for the health of the earth
in your honour.

Martin Ishøy 2009 


5th hymn:

1. Can't you hear the distant bells are ringing?
People waken as they hear their song.
Everywhere the air is filled with music.
Now we see a new day has begun

2. So we know the darkness is behind us,
and the morning waits for us to sing.
Everywhere the light of God is shining.
Hear the joyful bells of heaven ring. 

3. See the light that conquers over darkness
God has given us a brand-new day.
We're rejoicing of this new beginning.
Celebrate this Easter gift today.

Estonian liberation hymn by Heli Vith
Tune: Piret Pormeister-Rips
Translated to English by Kristin Markay 

Final prayer

Loving Father, you gave us yourself in your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us through your grace renewed insight to live according to your Word, to respect and care for your creation. Empower us to follow your will, to speak out, to act now. Stay with us, Lord, that we may learn from you. Holy Spirit, help us to see where our treasure is, for where our treasure is, there will also our hearts be. Stay with us, Father, as we leave your house. Holy Spirit, we pray, lead us and guide us day by day.


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