Leaders of the UK’s mainstream churches are today calling for repentance over the prevailing ‘shrug-culture’ towards climate change by signing Operation Noah’s Ash Wednesday Declaration.
‘Traditionally, Christians commit themselves to repentance and renewed faith in Jesus Christ on Ash Wednesday,’ said David Atkinson, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Southwark. ‘We must live out that faith in relation to our damaging consumer economy, over-dependence on fossil fuels and the devastation we, as a species, are inflicting on God’s world. We believe that responsible care for God’s creation is foundational to the Gospel and central to the church’s mission.’
The Declaration is framed around seven biblical themes and argues that, to be a Christian is to accept the call to radical discipleship and to work through the implications for church life of a real change in lifestyle. In 1934 the Church took a stand with the Barmen Declaration which rejected Nazism. The lead author, Karl Barth, had guts. He mailed the declaration to Hitler personally. The authors believed that the subordination of the church to the Nazi state was a confessional issue, an issue which touched the very heart of faith, not something that they could politely disagree about. Operation Noah believes climate change to be a confessional issue of similar magnitude.
The declaration affirms that God wants a richly abundant earth. It states that now we know the dangers of climate change, repentance is the responsibility of every Church and every believer. It argues that the challenges facing us are not merely economic and scientific but are moral and spiritual as well, and that we must hold our governments and corporations to account.
Operation Noah is encouraging individuals and church fellowships to read through the Ash Wednesday Declaration carefully and then, if willing, to sign the pledge on their website, where you will also find a wide range of resources to support the Declaration: www.operationnoah.org.