By Rachel Mash of Green Anglicans
Archbishop Thabo, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, calls on Anglicans to join our Catholic, Orthodox and Lutheran brothers and sisters as well as many others in a Global Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.
On 10 August 2015, Pope Francis called for the establishment of a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation to be celebrated annually on 1 September. Pope Francis said:
As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through…
In the face of the current ecological crisis, Pope Francis says that a day of prayer will provide people with “a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation.”
Pope Francis said was inspired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, who have been praying for the environment on that date since the late 1980s. The Ecumenical Patriarch has long placed care for the environment at the heart of his ministry and has gained the nickname “Green Patriarch”.
“The celebration of this day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters,” the Pope said.
“We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective.”
The prayer day “will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation” and reflect upon “the adoption of appropriate lifestyles,” the letter said.
The Lutheran World Federation too will be fasting and praying on 1 September.
The Fast for the Climate movement was continued by a coalition of civil society, faith and youth groups – including the Lutheran World Federation and World Council of Churches – after the disappointment of the lack of progress at the COP 19 climate change conference in Warsaw. Inspired by Yeb Saño’s two week fast in solidarity with victims of Typhoon Haiyan, the call to fast for the climate on the first day of every month is a way for both religious and secular communities to act upon their concerns for climate justice.
One year later, during the climate talks in Lima, COP 20, Fast for the Climate launched the 365 Days of Fasting: a human chain of fasters from Lima to Paris, with one person fasting each day for a year.
This call for prayer comes amid efforts to forge a worldwide deal on climate change in Paris in December, with the aim of limiting global warming to 2C over pre-industrial levels.
As part of the 365 Days of fasting, Archbishop Thabo will be fasting and praying for climate justice on 1 of September and he shares his motivation:
I fast in solidarity with children who will go to bed hungry tonight because their parents cannot afford the rising prices of food.
I fast in solidarity with climate refugees who have lost their homes and livelihoods due to climate change.
And I fast in solidarity with people of faith around the world because we know that hope is rising.
When people of all faiths can come together around a common cause to pray for our common home, then hope truly is rising.