Category Archives: News

Sustainable harvest vs single-use manna?

Video {downloadable] and Text: to complement or provide vigorous preaching on Harvest Lectionary.

A sermon on some lectionary harvest themes: taking scripture seriously, if not literally.

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Deut 26.1-1When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, and you possess it, and settle in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for his name. You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time, and say to him, ‘Today I declare to the Lord your God that I have come into the land that the Lord swore to our ancestors to give us.’ When the priest takes the basket from your hand and sets it down before the altar of the Lord your God, you shall make this response before the Lord your God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous. When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labour on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10 So now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground that you, O Lord, have given me.’ You shall set it down before the Lord your God and bow down before the Lord your God. 11 Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.

John 6.25-35. 

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28 Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29 Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30 So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which[g] comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34 They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

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May the words that are spoken, and everything which we share here and now, convey your living Word of comfort and of challenge,  Our Rock and Redeemer, Christ the fruitful Vine, Wild Wind beyond control, all for the Good of the Earth…

Amen, Amen.

Yes, I did say Amen twice. That was a distinctive habit of Jesus, stylistically hidden by most of our English translations. Amen Amen.Let it be so, Let it be so…  Amen at the end of a prayer is not so much a punctuating conclusion, but ‘Get on with it!’ 

Though at the beginning of a speech, as it occurs twice  in our Gospel reading, perhaps, it’s something more. 

A call to open up our minds and hearts to possibilities which we might otherwise dismiss as unrealistic, untraditional, unacceptable. 

Or indeed, to hear voices  which we might have dismissed as primitive, backward, earthy. Like  the witness of the indigenous peoples of the from the Pacific to the Arctic, on a relationship with fellow creatures which does not reduce them to commodities. Things which challenge the foundational expectations of our  imperial, single-use, throwaway culture of addiction to fossil fuels, and of values built around the soul-less values of money above all else. As if we were the only life God made.

Amen, amen..

Such a challenge confronts us in the scientifically attested fact, that almost everything in the natural world cited  in Scripture as being reliably permanent – the seasons, the climate, the migration of birds and animals  – all these things are already out of balance and becoming more so.  

And it’s serious.  And it’s dangerous. And the things we put our trust  in, which determine how we act and spend money, use our premises, insulate our homes, travel and pray, are part of this.

‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you trust in him whom God has sent.’ 

From that trust, rather than trust in money, in the superior  value of our nation or our species, will flow your contribution to the healing of the Earth.  Your harvest!  From that trust will flow your own resilience to what lies ahead, in the things which cannot be halted, but may be transformed.

From that trust, and from awareness of the fragility of life, will flow prayer expressed as it is now in so many local churches, in the lessening of waste, the banishing of plastic….

From that trust derives your place and purpose.  

Today we are looking at what that might mean.  But also what it means in that passage from Deuteronomy about possessing land as an inheritance. “As” is a big wee word. Wildlife is given the world as a habitat. The fish are given the seas, the birds the air.  God’s gifting is gracious, though seldom exclusive.

In Jeremiah 8:7: Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons; and the turtledove and the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration; but my people do not know what the  LORD requires.

Built into that saying is the unity of the laws of God and of nature. How often have we quoted such poetry and not made the connection?

An inheritance is something which is received, enjoyed, and passed on. It’s what the people from the Amazon who spoke last year at the United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow described as wealth. Wealth as something to share, and to be jointly responsible for, rather than to keep to themselves. 

It is sacred obedience and justice that the stranger and the dispossessed are not just tolerated but welcomed. So too, livestock and wildlife both, share in the richness of the Promised Land. Inheritance is not buried with one generation, but recycled, repurposed – or lost!  

As “food which endures” is a crop where seed corn is set aside  for the next planting. The temporary, emergency manna is a provision  in which the people have no hand, thus it is neither harvest, nor an inheritance. 

Selfishness, exclusivism, and the abolition of diversity are not just immoral, they are thrombosis in  the circulation of Creation.

Inheritance is  a concern which draws many older people to become deeply engaged with the Care of Creation: bequeathing a safe, healthy, beautiful  planet, a common home, for their children and grandchildren. To delight in what delights us.  In a climate crisis, the older generations,  whose contribution, likewise; has been devalued, have the work of encouragement to do: the handing on, rather than the taking it with them. In so many ways.

A number of times this year I’ve been face to face with the most beautiful and inspiring fellow creatures. But will there be puffins in the Scottish islands in fifty years’ time? Quite possibly not. 

Because the crisis of nature, that accumulation of disasters which can no longer be seen as natural, is right now. 

At the World Council of Churches  in Germany  a few weeks ago, a young woman from the churches of Pakistan made it abundantly clear; that the unprecedented floods in her country are not merely tragedy without a cause, but an injustice with a cause. And with responsibility.

In the disruption of climate, even heaven itself – as the writers of the Bible present and understand it – is shaken out of balance.  For whatever else we may understand Heaven to be, it’s also always sky.   

So when Archbishop Justin Welby says of prayer,

 ‘it’s not about sending requests into the sky, it’s about allowing God to make us more like Jesus Christ’  

He’s both right and wrong, for spiritually, biblically and realistically speaking, the sky is no neutral dumping-ground. 

Jesus Christ, the Word as Flesh deals firmly with just such problems in the Gospel reading today.  Looking, as we pray  – in obedience to him –   in the Lord’s Prayer for the will of God to be done in the whole of Creation, in sky and soil. 

Or perhaps I should put it this way: for the will of God to be done in the Earth including Heaven. On this planet including the atmosphere. The sea and the sky, both warming, changing.

The Bible becomes far more coherent than I had ever been led to believe, when we accept that our cherished scripture is experiential – written out of the knowledge and practical learning of humanity. That is it terrestrial – written from the point of view of those who look up and see the curvature of the Earth as a dome which God has set in place.  

Scripture comes  with real knowledge of the natural cycles of air and water; indeed, the water cycle is mentioned in the same breath as the Word of God.  It speaks substantially the same language as  the indigenous peoples in respect and love for life beyond human life.  Scripture is built on the observable  habits of wildlife,  even of insects,  which is presumed to be schooled by God. The Wisdom of Solomon was in his familiarity with trees, animals birds, creeping things and fish.   ‘Speak to the Earth and the animals and the birds of heaven and the fish of the sea’, says the book of Job, and they will pass on that knowledge. 

But as we have done with minorities of language and race and identity, we speak about them, rather than to them. Stewards rather than partners. As if “heaven” were part of a superior Creation, and Earth the work of an inferior God.

Yes, it’s inspiring and wonderful to look  out into outer space, as with my children, I did last week, when Jupiter came closer  to the Earth than for sixty years, and from our back garden we got such a good view of the planet and five of their moons,  perhaps sharing something with those of Jesus’ disciples who were rudely admonished by the Angel at Christ’s ascension: we are here to be concerned in our life, our prayer,  our choices, with this common home we share with everything which, having breath, praises God. 

Even with the trees, who breathe out the oxygen which we breathe in.

It’s no accident that the central sacrament of Christianity,  for which our Gospel today is an important support,  is one which involves the most basic and visceral processes not just of our life, but of all life.  The bread of heaven is not given other than with the gift of the bread of Earth. The gift of God’s self, God’s Son is not given without the Word becoming flesh. Eating and drinking.

Scholars and preachers love to pile in at this point with the dismissive insistence that our human language is inadequate to the task.  They don’t “let it be so”:  for as they explain away the poetry of John’s Gospel, they point to the confusion amongst Jesus’ first hearers: which bread is which? 

And  yet, the more I work in churches with an awareness of the frightening gravity of the myriad environmental crises the more I face the  discipline of letting Jesus mean what he sounds like, rather than dismissing him as inaccessible and incomprehensible. Jesus is, after all, proclaimed as the clearest view of God we’ll get.

So many times in wider Scripture, God is recognised as the Creator of Heaven and Earth, of Sky and Soil both. Creation is that one unified realm into which Christ, risen from death, ascends, to be present wherever we engage with that “Work of God, which is to trust in the one”  who referred us to the birds, the trees and the signs of the times in the skies; to the flowers of the meadow; Jesus, who spoke  as firmly and personally to the wind and the waves as to any human being who was in need of healing or putting in their place.

Thus we meet Jesus in person on those occasions, in those places where the alienation between what we might call Heaven and Earth is swept aside. When we take at face value the holiness of what we touch, taste smell and love.

Because you cannot have the one without the other. You cannot enjoy Creation without Creation.

I managed to arrange things about 27 years ago, and indeed also at the ordination of my late wife,  that the first Eucharist at which we presided was a Harvest festival.  

That, in that tiny village church in Wales, the Lord’s Table was also a table full of the produce of the gardens and allotments of the congregation; it spoke of their partnership and the partnership of the Earth. How blessed are you, Lord God of All Creation.

Those Harvest tables, and the ones in my subsequent pastorates also displayed, by tradition, a piece of coal – that dirtiest of fossil fuels, which particularly in Wales had nonetheless been for generations, part of what had kept folk going. 

People have recently asked me whether we should take away the coal. I would say no. The coal, the oil and the gas are a sign of our current relationship with the earth, and if that’s problematic, we need not to pretend otherwise.

but bring that, with a listening ear, to God, who in Christ says to read the signs of the times and take note: 

we bring to God in openness and honesty, what we have and what we are, for God to make life better.

Amen….Amen!

Am Anfang… [we plough the fields and scatter, fresh translation]

 Matthias Claudius, 1740-1815. This translation: DJMC 2005  Looking at the German text of a familiar harvest hymn, I found a lot more joy and playfulness, and acknowledgement of the partnership with Creation that is Harvest

1) To start with, earth was  gloomy, and empty dark and bare

if anything should  come to light, it must be from elsewhere!

And that’s the way it happened

When God spoke in the now

As from that first beginning 

This very day that’s how..

Refrain

All good gifts we’re given

Come forth from God the Lord

So thank him, thank him ,

Thank him, place

your trust and hope in God

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2)We plough and then we scatter

The seed across the land

Though flourishing and growing

Are held in heaven’s hand

In softly-blowing breezes

God rises and comes near 

And trickles on our turning

to him all growth and cheer

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3) God sends both dew and raindrops

and shines through sun and moon

and artful, weaves his blessing

his care so opportune 

so nimbly, lightly gently,

in field and daily bread

so all we think we’ve fashioned 

Comes forth from God instead

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4.) The close things and the distant

– through God they come to be

The blade of straw, the star-filled night

The sand-grains, and the sea.  

From God  the fronds and forest

From God the fruit and grain

The lovely springtime showers

The snow and frightful  storm

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5) God calls forth sun a-rising

Lays out  the pale moon’s way

Instructs the winds in blowing

Send clouds in sky to play

God’s gift is joy and laughter

Life radiant, free from dread:

He gives the cows their meadow

and all his children bread

Reflection for a meeting

‘Talinoa’ dialogue tableau from WCC. NB equal numbers of men and women in this crop

God Sustainer

Word made flesh

And Wild Wind Untamed

The signs are out in the open

Earth’s groaning loud and clear

The forecasts superseded .

We are in a crisis.

Yet churches still ponder the dancing of angels on  pinheads.

We wring our hands and say

with such piety

how good it will be 

when finally we get round to it

when desks are clear

to hear the Voice 

the poor/youth/women/Earth/ Voice-

still insulated in tokenism

still boxed up as an issue

long since screaming anyway.

We are Moses too concerned with sheep

to waste time on blazing bushes.

But things have changed. 

Christ’s gone ahead of us.

The Crisis has united us

whether we like it or not

and there’s real Emergency, 

even if we haven’t declared it.

The time for anger, lament, and panic is short;

the time to choose despair

or courage, hope and joy 

is now.

is for our lives

for Good

with Christ incarnate in the Earth

without whom we are truly futile

with whom… who knows what?

thank God

Amen.

Prayer for Day of Care

Sanderlings on Iona North End beach

As the World Church gathers in Karlsruhe for the Assembly of the World Council of Churches:

1st September is the beginning of the Season of Creation and the ‘World Day of Prayer for Care for Creation. As I’m in Karlsruhe as an observer (annual study leave) here’s a reflective contribution to that day…

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Note: I hope we are recovering from the damage done by over-eager theologians who some while ago maintained – in defiance of the exemplary life of Christ – that Christian love can only be 100% self-giving, self-sacrificing.  That and the equally harmful, entitled  and imperialist suggestion that the church is an organisation concerned only with the care of those who are not its members.   Care is much more nuanced and interactive than that….especially care of Creation, who cares for us.

Created, we are sustained.

Not past: ….right now

Not looking back.

(We’ve done enough of that!)

for so much lies before us:

and Christ….

Christ walks beside us.

Showing us the wisdom 

of the trees and the birds and the Earth.

Christ be sharing with us

as in prayer of word and thought

and prayer embodied as action and commitment

we seek the Wild Wind Spirit’s help and guidance

to renew and repurpose your Church

keeping  faith

with fellow creatures 

-known and unknown-

on whose care for us, unbeknown 

we have always depended:

That family of the Earth

whose value and whose rights

so vastly exceed whatever price

with which we brand them;

with which we discount them.

Christ teach us again that Kingdom

you brought within our reach:

to live the Way the Skies are Ruled

whom birds make Heaven;

into whom trees breathe life

that we may breathe at all.

And  Christ, as you gave all,

and yet enjoyed hospitality:

(needing to be strengthened and prepared for that giving)

Liberate in us

that powerful  balance of giving and being given

making and making new:

a path and a direction for all who have breath…

though now, for now, 

even Heaven suffers;

cries with all Creation

May we add this cry:

Break down the barriers

of race and class and  species.

And fill the gap with respect and order.

of predator and prey

of life and decay

of death and hope

that even endings be beginnings.

Show us what and how to value

What you sustain and love. 

Yes, love.

And loving, care.

And caring listen

And listening change.

Through Christ, the Word, the Flesh.

That’s us!

And as Jesus loved to say:

AMEN: get on with it!


Join us towards Net Zero with HeatHack

Net Zero: Introduction to HeatHack
Improving energy efficiency and thermal comfort in community spaces
Tuesday 16th August 2022
7.00pm – 8.00pm

https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/event/introduction-to-heathack/

DO YOU WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT A NET ZERO FUTURE MEANS FOR YOUR CHURCH OR COMMUNITY BUILDING?

Join us to hear from HeatHack, partnering with The Surefoot Effect for a new programme funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering recruiting small groups from community buildings including churches to start from September. The remit includes heat loss mitigations, changes in how the building is used, and local generation – and includes the kind of planning plus a community engagement event that helps in accessing grants. HeatHack previously helped solve heating problems and inefficiencies in Edinburgh churches. 

You can read more about the programme here:

HeatHack – Improving energy efficiency and thermal comfort in community spaces

HeatHack director Jean Carletta explains: “Thanks to the Royal Academy of Engineering, we have a new programme of facilitated group sessions that community building operators can use to understand what a Net Zero future holds for their own premises.”

“It will help you understand energy efficiency and thermal comfort in what are often very difficult buildings. It will also help you think about what your local community needs from your buildings, whether that means changes, and how to make change happen. We want to help you devise a plan for the future and equip you with the knowledge and confidence to instruct heating engineers and architects with briefs that will get you where you want to be.”

Each group will link with a volunteer engineer to take them through some simple technical concepts and exercises on heat transfer, health and safety and managing complex projects. Engineers Without Borders UK are helping to recruit engineers, but you may know one in your own area to support this work.  Join us on Tuesday to hear more by registering here:

https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/event/introduction-to-heathack/


Climate Fringe Festival launch

Join us this September at the Climate Fringe Festival! You can find Climate, Community and Justice events all across Scotland on our events map: https://climatefringe.org/cff

The festival aims to bring communities together, generate conversation about Climate Justice, and raise awareness of the need to move towards a green, fair, zero carbon society. Over 50 events have already signed up, including repair workshops, festivals, climate justice talks, live music, and more. Are you planning an event in September? Add it to our calendar and get involved here: climatefringe.org/cff-organise-event/ 

We are adding more amazing events each week so keep an eye on the Climate Fringe, and follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Eco-Congregation Scotland is keen to encourage all eco-congregations to please consider holding a Climate Conversation, local activity or event in your own church and community during the Climate Fringe Festival and will be in touch directly to offer ideas and support.

This period also includes Scotland’s Climate Week from 26th September, organised by the Scottish Government to help raise awareness of the global climate emergency and celebrate organisations taking action against climate change.

Our next confirmed events, activities and training are being updated to share online. Please get in touch to share what you are doing locally:

https://www.ecocongregationscotland.org/upcomingevents


Climate Justice resources

Today we spotlight our partner Christian Aid and their wide range of materials available for churches looking to learn more about climate justice. Whether you’re looking for an all-age arts project or a discussion guide for making a church action plan, you’ll find something to suit on the Climate Justice Church Resources page, or check out video resources on Christian Aid’s YouTube channel. 

Walk2COP27

Walk2COP27

Eco-Congregation Scotland is working with a new initiative called Walk2COP27. Please join us with your participation and support, registering your interest today:

https://www.walk2cop27.com/i-am-interested

Volunteers, churches and faith groups across Scotland welcomed thousands of pilgrims and visitors for last year’s COP26 climate conference, including Walk2COP26 which you can hear more about here. This has developed into Walk2COP27 as we join people from different countries, faith groups, charities, businesses and education establishments to “educate each other on climate challenges and action, forge a sense of solidarity, connect with like minds and catalyse action”.

Walk2COP27 aims to accelerate climate action in the run-up to the COP27 climate conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, based around a virtual journey over 45 days from COP26 host city Glasgow. Twelve countries between Scotland and Egypt will host a hybrid or virtual Townhall meeting that showcases how climate change is impacting that location and solutions that are being deployed.

Eco-Congregation Scotland invites individuals, churches and faith groups across Scotland to take part in the virtual journey from 22 September to 7 November:

  • WALK each participant will be encouraged to walk – or run, cycle or wheelchair – as far as they can over 45 days, in their chosen locations, with progress tracked on the platform atlasGO and trees planted by the Jane Goodall Institute for kilometres travelled
  • TALK all participants will be encouraged to attend the Townhalls and other dialogue sessions run in between
  • ACT participants will be encouraged to fundraise, provide input to a proclamation to be published for COP27 and engage in local climate actions

Open to participants all over the world, organisations, teams and individuals can participate by tracking their kilometres travelled on an app in their own locations. It will be great opportunity to walk or take part in other active travel in your own area and with others in your church and community.

Participants can share their climate-related projects, and learn from others via the planned Townhall meetings and social media – including a participants’ forum on the Clubhouse app where all involved can chat. We look forward to supporting discussion on the issues that matter to you.

Towards the end of our journey, participants will contribute to a proclamation which will be delivered to the formal participants at COP27. Climate Justice is always a strong motivator for faith-inspired action and this offers a timely opportunity to join voices around the world, speaking as one on tackling the climate crisis.

How to participate

The journey starts on Thursday 22 September at 12.30pm with the Glasgow Townhall hosted by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. This is an open, hybrid public meeting that you can attend in person or join online, with panel discussions on Scotland’s climate change challenges and solutions plus the intersection between health and climate globally.

Participants will be able to register on an App and join a team from 1 September. Once the journey starts participants will be able to:

  • Have trees planted on their behalf by tracking the distance they travel up to 6 November 2022
  • Communicate with their team on the app and see how others are progressing – we hope you will join us and other Scottish faith groups
  • Participate in the 12 Townhalls which are run across the 45 days
  • Lead or participate in sessions on climate action on Clubhouse run by participants
  • Raise funds for the Jane Goodall Institute
  • Contribute to a proclamation summarising the views of all those participating for COP27 delegates to hear

Participants can do as much or as little as you want. Many are planning local activities to complement those above.

What to do now

We look forward to you joining us in September. For now, please:

Please also think about how you would like to get involved or organised through your own group or eco-congregation. Contact our own team with ideas for Eco-Congregation Scotland in your church or area, and for all our volunteers across the country.

A request to register on the app will be sent out on Wednesday 31 August, a link to the app with our code will also be directly accessible on the website from that date.

You can follow Walk2COP27 on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and Linktree. Please register your interest today:

https://www.walk2cop27.com/i-am-interested

Faith communities’ open letter to COP26 President

Scottish faith communities call on COP26 President to honour Glasgow Pact commitments

Eco-Congregation Scotland chairperson Richard Murray is among diverse faith leaders and groups calling on COP26 President Alok Sharma to honour the Glasgow Pact commitments.

The Pact includes commitments from 197 nations to build resilience to climate change, curb greenhouse gas emissions and provide finance for both, agreed at the COP26 United Nations climate conference in Glasgow last November.

Religious leaders and faith organisations across Scotland have signed a letter requesting a meeting with Mr Sharma to discuss progress.

At COP26, Mr Sharma said the pact was a “fragile win” and that “unless we honour the promises made – to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action – they will wither on the vine.”

Scottish religious leaders at the COP26 Vigil on 31 October 2021 courtesy of kelvinstudio.co.uk

Representatives of Scottish faith groups are concerned that world developments have diverted attention from COP26 commitments.

United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has warned it is “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

Director of Interfaith Scotland, Dr Maureen Sier said: “The fragile win achieved at COP26 is at grave risk. It is essential that all governments commit to actioning the Glasgow Pact and work together, with others, to ensure a future for all”.

The letter was developed by the COP26 Interfaith Working Group and signed by faith leaders and organisations across Scotland. The COP26 Interfaith Working Group is made up of representatives from Scottish faith groups and organisations working on climate issues. The group is chaired by Interfaith Scotland with Interfaith Glasgow acting as Secretariat.

Chair and Secretariat of the COP26 Interfaith Working Group

The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, COP President Designate

Dear Mr Sharma,  

cc Prime Minister Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP and First Minister Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Faith and Belief Communities request meeting in preparation for COP27

We write to ask for a meeting with you to hear what your Presidency has been doing to honour the Glasgow Pact commitments and what progress has been made.

As representatives of faith groups from across Scotland, we were proud to welcome delegates, campaigners, pilgrims and others to COP26.  We joined people of faith from around the globe demanding action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We are delighted to share with you our report on Faith Communities and COP26 in Glasgow.

We are increasingly concerned that developments around the world since COP26 have diverted attention from the commitments that were made.  The persistence of the Covid pandemic, a terrible war in Ukraine and dramatic energy price rises that are promoting calls for new oil and gas development put these commitments at risk.

You told us at the close of the conference that it was a “fragile win” and that “unless we honour the promises made – to turn the commitments in the Glasgow Climate Pact into action – they will wither on the vine.”  And UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has warned us it is “now or never” to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

We call on you to ensure that the COP26 commitments are put into effect and that climate justice and real energy security are available to all.  As priorities we call upon you to ensure the following:

  • End new oil and gas exploration as recommended by The International Energy Agency
  • Build sustainable economies powered by renewable energy
  • That no one lives in fuel poverty, in the UK or overseas.

As representatives of faith groups across Scotland we commit to doing our part.  Many of us are working across Scotland to promote community action on climate change. We will redouble our efforts and assure you of our continuing support to ensure the commitments made at COP26 are put into effect.

Yours, in hope,

The COP 26 Interfaith Working Group and Scottish religious leaders

The Right Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly, The Church of Scotland
Sheikh Hassan Rabbani, Chair of Scottish Muslim Forum
Acharya Ji Mishra, Priest of Hindu Mandir Glasgow
Rev Bonnie Evans-Hills, Priest, Scottish Episcopal Church
Revd Paul Whittle, Synod Moderator, National Synod of Scotland, The United Reformed Church
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche, Abbot, Kagyu Samye Ling
Sr Isabel Smyth OBE, Catholic Bishops’ Interreligious Dialogue Committee
Baha’i Community of Scotland
Muslim Council of Scotland
Richard Murray, Chairperson, Eco-Congregation Scotland
Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland
Alistair Dutton, Director, SCIAF
Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Chair, Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network, Sikh Representative, Scottish Religious Leaders Forum, Advisor, Sikhs in Scotland
Dr Rose Drew, CEO, Interfaith Glasgow
Dr Maureen Sier, Director, Interfaith Scotland
Professor Joe Goldblatt, Chair, Edinburgh Interfaith Association
Olivia Fuchs, Coordinator, Eco Dharma
Robert Harrap, General Director, Soka Gakkai International – UK
Jill Kent, Chair, Justice and Peace Scotland
Elizabeth Allen, Clerk of General Meeting, Quakers in Scotland
Rev Dr Carolyn Kelly, Chaplain, The University of Glasgow
Harjot Singh Kambo, Lead Coordinator Scotland, EcoSikhUK
Jonathan Baxter, Curator, A+E – Pilgrimage for COP26
Sister Mary McClure, Provincial Leader, Sisters of Notre Dame (British Province)
Christine Anderson, Faithful Companions of Jesus
William G Crook, The Order of Interbeing Plum Village Tradition
Aekus Kamboj, Environment Officer, CEMVO Scotland
David Somervell, Member, South Edinburgh Quaker Local Meeting
Mahrukh Adnan Shaukat, Amina Muslim Women’s Resource Centre
The Iona Community
Glasgow Baha’i Community
Brahma Kumaris
Earth Holders Edinburgh
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC)

Supporting organisations
Shanon Shah, Director, Faith for the Climate
Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith
Rev Henrik Grape, Co-Chair, Interfaith Liaison Committee (ILC) to the UNFCCC