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Creation month gets a push from church leaders

11 June 2008

by Bill Bowder

"Respect for our world": Giotto's St Francis Preaching to the Birds

"Respect for our world": Giotto's St Francis Preaching to the Birds

THE presidents of Churches Together in England have called on Christians in England to dedicate their worship each September as “Time for God’s Creation”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, one of the four presidents, said that placing environmental concerns at the heart of Christian worship for a fixed time each year “demonstrates our shared commitment” to a sustainable world.

Another of the presidents, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, said that the month, which would end on St Francis’s Day, 4 October, was “a sobering reminder of our obligation to respect and care for our world”.

“I have always been struck by the witness of St Francis; for he helps us to see that the beauty and goodness of creation are a reflection of God’s own beauty and goodness.”

The Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomeos I, has also called on Christians and non-Christians alike to rally to protect the environment. He marked World Environment Day last week with a statement that called on all “to contemplate the incomprehensible dimensions of the environmental crisis”.

The “catastrophe” had been caused by transgression of the divine command to protect creation, he said. “We experience the results of this neglectful and avaricious behaviour today, as weak-willed spectators of the repercussions of catastrophic climactic changes.

“We observe the pollution of fresh and ocean waters, overfishing, the loss of biodiversity, the desertification of soil, the catastrophes occurring in forests from deadly fires, and many more expressions of this unprecedented environmental crisis.”

The moment had come to stop thinking that people could take what they wanted from the world. People of all nations and faiths must now combine together to help renew the natural ecosystem. “Each of us from our own position must make every effort to confront the environmental crisis,” he said.

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Revd Samuel Kobia, said in a statement to mark the High-Level Conference on World Food Security held in Rome, 3-5 June: “While climate change is one factor behind the global food crisis, the WCC views the primary cause of the current crisis as inappropriate human actions, which have induced climate change and sky-rocketing food prices.”

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