Churches are staging dozens of events across the region as part of a global day of action to call for climate justice on Friday 20 September.
Lichfield Diocese has called on churches to get involved in Climate Action Day in solidarity with many young people and adults who are taking a stand.
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 Friday, 20 September.
Clergy across the diocese and diocesan staff have been asked to step aside from their usual duties to participate in events, activities and advocacy on Friday.
As well as a special event at Lichfield Cathedral, a variety of events hosted by or involving churches or Church schools in Shropshire, Staffordshire and the Black Country are planned. These include community clothes and toy swaps, prayer walks and stations, petition-writing, planet pledges, vigils, banner-making, worship services and craft making. Several churches will also be ringing their bells for climate justice. A full list of local activities is here.
The Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Right Revd Clive Gregory, Lichfield Dioceses lead on environmental matters, said:There has been a lot of momentum building as Climate Action Day approaches and it is fantastic that local churches and church schools are at the forefront of this.
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 need 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.
At Lichfield Cathedral on Friday 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.
Lichfield Diocese is committed to taking climate change seriously. In March a new Diocesan Environmental Policy and Action Plan was passed. Dozens of 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 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.