“God is never indifferent to climate change that weakens the already weakened, impoverished and scattered populations throughout our world,” said Rev. Dr Nestor Friedrich, from Brazil, as he delivered the sermon during an ecumenical prayer service held on 8 December, in the Spanish Evangelical Church, in Madrid, during the United Nations climate change summit COP25.
“Confessing that our world is not abandoned to a blind destiny, that there is a God leading us, strengthening and calling us to be witnesses of life, we must realize that we have a mission to care for God’s creation,” said Friedrich, who is from the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil and serves as vice-president for the Latin American region of the Lutheran World Federation.
Promoted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Spanish Evangelical Church, the Ecumenical Prayer for Climate Justice brought together members of the several church and church-based organizations attending COP25. The program included the premiere of “As Ice was Melting,” a song tribute to the young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, written by Rev. Per Harling, a well-known Swedish writer and composer of liturgical music and hymns.
After the prayer service, a panel discussion on the topic of climate justice in view of Christian faith was held. The conversation, moderated by Rev. Henrik Grape, moderator of the WCC Working Group on Climate Change, explored topics related to the changes that are needed to avert and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
As COP25 goes on until 13 December, ecumenical climate justice advocates continue to express their concern about the lack of willingness to curb emissions fast enough to keep temperatures from rising over 1.5 /2 C as called for in the Paris Agreement.
On 25 November, the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches issued a “Statement on Climate Change Emergency,” calling on COP25 “to set the groundwork for committing to more ambitious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions as part of Nationally Determined Contributions with a view to attaining carbon neutrality by 2050 and limiting warming to not more than 1.5°C” and “to ramp up commitments by wealthy nations to provide sufficient, predictable and transparent climate finance to low-income nations for adaptation and resilience-building.”
Read the WCC Executive Committee "Statement on Climate Change Emergency" (25 November 2019)
“See humans as part of creation” in addressing climate emergency" - WCC news release 6 December 2019
"Interfaith dialogue prior to COP25 calls for unity, action to confront climate crisis" - WCC news release 3 December 2019