Hundreds of schoolchildren will join together at Lichfield Cathedral to call for climate justice as part of a global day of action on Friday 20 September.
The Bishops of Lichfield, Wolverhampton, Shrewsbury and Stafford are encouraging churches and schools across Lichfield Diocese an area with a population of over two million which includes Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, the Black Country and most of Shropshire to get involved in the Climate Action Day.
A climate change emergency has been declared by Parliament and a series of climate strikes have taken place across the UK and elsewhere, led by young people. From 20-27 September there will be a global week of action to coincide with the UN Climate Summit on 23 September, starting with a Global Climate Strike on 20 September.
At Lichfield Cathedral on 20 September at 1.45pm hundreds of children and staff from local primary schools will take part in a short service at the 1,300-year-old worship site. They will voice their concerns about climate breakdown and plant wooden lollipop sticks with green pledges on them outside the cathedral. The event is taking place with the full support and involvement of the schools of those children attending as part of their education.
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Right Revd Clive Gregory, Lichfield Dioceses lead on environmental matters, said:
As we follow Jesus, we are called to love the whole world and our neighbour, including the worlds poorest people who are most affected by climate breakdown. Care of creation should be at the centre of the Churchs mission not the margins.
Young people are leading the way and as a Church we stand in solidarity with them, working for justice as people of hope. We want churches, schools and others in our diocese to campaign for the big system changes urgently needed, including an end to the age of fossil fuels and climate justice for all. We are calling people to action and to prayer from 20-27 September and beyond.
This is the biggest challenge we face. But together we can restore Gods Earth. Its not too late and we can all make a difference in big and small ways.
Lichfield Cathedrals Canon Precentor, the Revd Canon Andrew Stead, said: Our planet and the life it sustains is a gift of God and an expression of his love. As with any gift it needs to be treasured and valued for not only what it is but also in respect of the giver. As a human race we have not treated this gift well and have done irreparable damage to this planet as well as placing our own continued existence as a species in question too.
This day is an opportunity to make lament for our planet and recognise our negative impact upon it, as well as providing opportunity to make changes to the way in which we move forward. This day of action is a call to account by our children and young people.
Lichfield Diocese is committed to taking climate change seriously. In March a new Diocesan Environmental Policy and Action Plan was passed. Parishes across the diocese are registering for Eco Church a national award that recognises and supports churches who are working to become more environmentally friendly.
Diocesan Environmental Officer the Revd Richard Clarkson said: Its vital that as Christians we make our voices heard on this, the defining issue of our age, because we know from the Bible that God cares about the wellbeing of this earth and its inhabitants even more than we do. The effects of Climate Change are being seen right now and by engaging with the Climate Action day on the 20 September we stand in solidarity with young people, with our global neighbours, and with farmers and others in our own communities whose lives and livelihoods are increasingly being impacted by this.
Find out more about activity planned across Lichfield Diocese click here.