Leaders of some of the Anglican Communion’s 39 provinces have responded to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s invitation to write letters to help promote the Season of Creation (Sept. 1-Oct. 4).
Archbishop Justin Welby asked his fellow primates to write about what the care for God’s creation means in their province and what they wish to say to the wider Anglican Communion about the care for our common home.
Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia — “Island nations are being impacted by sea level rising due to climate change,” wrote Winston Halapua, recently retired as one of three primates. “Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands are threatened with non-existence as the sea level rises and land becomes uninhabitable.
“Leaders from the Pacific today from different levels of society, including government and church, are reading the signs of the times. They are being motivated to speak and act so that world wakes up to the need to address the human greed and exploitation which contribute to climate change — to address abuse of Creation.”
Anglican Church of Australia — “Because of Australia’s unique position and geography (as the driest inhabited continent in the world) it is likely to be more severely impacted than many other wealthy and developed countries,” wrote Archbishop Philip Freier.
“The naturally occurring El Niño/La Niña cycle has traditionally subjected Australia to extreme weather events such as drought, floods, and serious bush/wild fires, but this situation has been dangerously exacerbated by human-induced climate change with an increase in the number and seriousness of events in recent years.”
Anglican Church of Congo — “A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor,” wrote Archbishop Zacharie Masimango Katanda.
“The dominion granted to man by the Creator is not an absolute power, nor can one speak of a freedom to ‘use and misuse,’ or to dispose of things as one pleases. The limitation imposed from the beginning by the Creator himself and expressed symbolically by the prohibition not to ‘eat of the fruit of the tree’ (Gen. 2:16-17) shows clearly enough that, when it comes to the natural world, we are subject not only to biological laws but also to moral ones, which cannot be violated with impunity.”
Anglican Province of Hong Kong — The province “faces enormous challenges to do with housing, clean water, environmental protection, ecological and biodiversity, and climatic pollution,” said Archbishop Paul Kwong. “These are realities that must be faced and addressed as constructively as possible, something that the Anglican Church of Hong Kong seeks to do by always engaging with civil and political society.”
Anglican Province of Southern Africa — “In Southern Africa we are dependent on water for life — and climate change is changing rain patterns,” wrote Thabo Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town. “The actions that we take in the next five years are crucial to stop us from reaching the tipping point where climate change becomes unstoppable. Look into the eyes of your children and grandchildren and do what you need to do to preserve the world for their future.”
The Episcopal Church — “We today are presented with a simple choice: will we live as friends, as brothers and sisters, as Beloved Community, or will we be subsumed under the rising waters of chaos?” wrote Presiding Bishop Michael Curry.
“We can do this. I know because I saw people of every nation, faith, age and race move to stand with the Standing Rock Sioux as they struggled to turn back a pipeline that threatened their sacred lands and their water supply. And I saw the Episcopal Church flag at the front of that procession. When crowds chanted ‘Mni Wiconi’ (water is life), Episcopalians chanted with full voice because we have been given new life in Jesus Christ through the waters of baptism.”
The full letters are available through the Church of England’s Creationtide website.
Adapted from ACNS