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Archbishop’s Lenten call urges care for planet

07 February 2020

Steve Fanstone

The Archbishop hangs a Lenten pledge to the #LiveLent tree in Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop hangs a Lenten pledge to the #LiveLent tree in Lambeth Palace

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has urged Christians to change their lives to “rebuild our relationship” with the earth this Lent.

Launching the Church of England’s Lent campaign, #LiveLent, on Tuesday, Archbishop Welby said: “We urgently need to rebuild our relationship with our planet. To do this, we need to change our habits — in how we pray and how we act.”

The campaign comprises 40 daily reflections, actions, and prayers on the environment and climate change. For each week, there is a theme “based on the days of creation as described in Genesis 1” and a prayer. Each day, there is a theme, a picture, a short Bible passage, a short reflection, and a suggested action.

The theme for the second week is water: “This week we’ll be reflecting on water’s central place in both life and faith.” On the Wednesday, participants are urged: “Can you take part in a clean-up of a local waterway — pond, canal, river or beach? Or encourage your church to organise one?”

In the introduction to the booklet, Archbishop Welby and the Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu describe Lent as “an opportunity for us to rebuild our relationship with our planet, and in turn with the God who is Lord of everything.

“During this time, we hope you might engage in prayer, learn more about the remarkable world we have been given, and build habits that last beyond the season to protect and honour the earth.”

The campaign is based on Archbishop Welby’s Lent book, Saying Yes to Life, by Dr Ruth Valerio (Books, 17 January).

CHURCH OF ENGLANDThe campaign comprises 40 daily reflections, actions, and prayers on the environment and climate change

Dr Valerio said: “Responding to the poverty and environmental crises of our times goes right to the heart of what it means to be a Christian in today’s world, following God who calls us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him.

“My prayer for Saying Yes to Life and the Church of England’s #LiveLent campaign is that they would inspire in us a deeper love for our global neighbours and the whole of God’s creation, and would equip us to take action in our lives and in our churches.”

The Archbishops write: “Many Christians use Lent as an opportunity to give something up, to remember that Christ went without during his time in the wilderness.

“Perhaps you could consider giving something up as well to help the environment: maybe you could forgo single-use plastics, use less water, or save electricity by turning off lights. If many of us do little things, they can add up to make a big difference. Even if they are marginal, they remind us of the importance of good stewardship.”

Last week, it was announced that the Church of England Pensions Board will partially no longer invest in some oil companies, unless they set carbon-emissions targets that are in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change (News, 31 January).


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