Church revival meeting to urge action on climate change

By Bronislaus B. Kush, TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
bkush@telegram.com – 26/4/13

Christian church leaders from around the country will gather in Boston tomorrow for a major ecumenical conference whose aim is to prod government officials to take climate change seriously and to take action to reverse its effects.

Prominent church leaders who shepherd Central Massachusetts congregations are expected to attend, including Bishop Douglas J. Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts; Bishop James E. Hazelwood, of the New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Metropolitan Methodius, the Greek Orthodox metropolis of Boston.

The gathering, which will also include leading environmentalists, is sponsored by New England Regional Environmental Ministries; the Episcopal dioceses in New England; the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, and the Massachusetts Council of Churches.

The “Climate Revival” conference is being billed as an “ecumenical festival to embolden the renewal of creation.”

Bishop Fisher said that scientists have shown that climate change is a real problem and that politicians are doing nothing to reverse the trend, which, he said, poses a serious danger to the planet’s environmental health.

“As a bishop, I made a vow to ‘defend those who have no helper.’ Right now, with climate change upon us, we are all called to defend the very Earth we live on,” he explained.

Despite the warnings from scientists, Bishop Fisher said the nation’s politicians remain “paralyzed.”

“At this revival, we will come together to ‘celebrate the splendor of creation, mourn its desecration, and advocate for restoration and renewal’ — Sounds like defending that which has no helper, to me,” he said.

Bishop Fisher said that his faith is telling him that God wants action.

National church leaders attending the conference include the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Rev. Geoffrey Black, the general minister and president of the United Church of Christ.

Desmond Tutu, archbishop emeritus of South Africa, and Bill McKibben, the noted author and environmentalist, will send electronic messages.

The conference opens in the morning with preaching, music, and worship at the Old South Church, followed by an afternoon program at Trinity Church. It concludes with a rally at 3 p.m. in Copley Square.

Organizers said the conference’s focus is to bring attention to the rising temperatures around the world that are being brought about by the burning of fossil fuels. They said climate change is dramatically changing environmental landscapes and has caused floods and droughts.

“The Climate Revival is a gathering of God’s people who care about God’s Earth,” said Bishop Fisher. “It is a time to understand what is going on and then act for the sake of future generations.”

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