Anglican bishops expressed their concern for the devastating effects of climate change which they say are affecting the world’s poorest countries the most and urging churches to advocate for the environment as a moral imperative.
Churches have no option but to care for “God’s environment” because “this is our core business theologically,” said Bishop George Browning, of the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
[pullquote]”This is something that is inherent in our faith. If we are going to make significant progress internationally it will have to come from some moral persuasion – the arguments of economics and politics will not deliver.”
U.S. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who was an oceanographer before becoming a priest, said bishops have discussed how “interconnected” they all are and how climate change impacts everyone, but most of all the poorest of the poor.
“We spoke in the Bible studies today of creation as the body of God. All creation reflects the image of God, not just human beings… We’re gathered here to remind people that if we do not pay attention to all creation, the other things that concern us will be of no importance,” she said.
Bishops Browning and Jefferts Schori reflected on the bishops’ discussion on “Safeguarding Creation: The Bishop and the Environment.”
During this session, bishops shared stories about how climate change has affected their own dioceses and countries and ministries.
Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, primate of Australia and official spokesperson of the conference, acknowledged that the conference itself could have been greener.
Some bishops and spouses expressed disappointment about the lack of recycling bins and the use of plastic cups for water around the conference areas.
Bishop Jefferts Schori said, “We’ve heard a significant complaint about paper and how much more effective it would be to use projection equipment. But the fact that we’ve been walking a great deal is a good sign.”
She said there were conversations about the walk in London and how “as important as it was as a public witness” bishops had to travel in a number of coach buses to get to London and back.