Bishops from Fiji to Alaska to meet in Cape Town on climate change

Posted Feb 20, 2015

[Anglican Church of Southern Africa press release] Anglican bishops from some of the regions of the world most challenged by climate change – from Fiji to Argentina, and Namibia to Alaska – are to meet in Cape Town next week to work out strategies for achieving climate justice.

A briefing from the Rev. Rachel Mash, the environmental coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, follows with full details:


Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, is calling together a group of bishops from various countries impacted by climate change.

Bishops have been chosen from countries reflecting the great challenges we face, from the sea level rise of Fiji, the deforestation of Argentina, the droughts of Namibia, the tsunamis of the Philippines and the storms of New York, and the warming of Alaska. These bishops are united in their commitment to addressing these environmental challenges.

Sixteen bishops will be gathering in Capetown from Feb. 23 to exchange ideas and concerns, to share challenges and successes. First the bishops will hear about the challenges faced in different parts of the globe.

Then they will share actions and theologies that have been helpful in moving forward. The goal is to strategize together in order strategies for raising the issue of climate change and environmental degradation throughout the global Anglican Church.

What is the event?

A strategic planning meeting hosted by the primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa of a core group of bishops and archbishops whose dioceses or provinces are in areas affected by climate change or in areas that contribute significantly to conditions that lead to climate change. The bishops and archbishops identified are already active in responding to climate change and environmental degradation as a result of human activity in various ways, e.g., through theological exposition and challenge, advocacy, greening churches and communities, and supporting local mitigation.

Building on relationships already established virtually, the meeting will foster a strengthened, working collegiality among the bishops who have been identified and ultimately serve as a catalyst for further response and activities throughout the Anglican Communion.

The bishops will share their experience in responding to climate change so far, their hopes, their concerns, and ideas about how they, specifically, might organize themselves better for that purpose. They will have an opportunity to reflect and study together, and to look at the obstacles they face and discern what they can do, by working together, to move through these obstacles.

Drawing on their own experience and ideas, a strategic plan will be developed for themselves, with proposals for broader engagement in the Anglican Communion.

Science and the experience of the impacts of climate change suggest that in many ways survival is at stake – for human communities, for the ecosystems on which human life depends. We have listened to Anglicans in a number of regions where congregations face food and water shortages and other stresses that are directly linked to climate change. The meeting and the broader project will enable Anglicans at leadership level to make coordinated efforts towards upholding human dignity and the integrity of creation, and strengthening interdependence within the Anglican Communion as we become better stewards of God’s creation. It is hoped that the outcomes of this project will have an impact that reaches far beyond the present time.

Expected outcomes

To form a group of bishops and archbishops (Eco Bishops) representative of the regions of the Anglican Communion, will have participated in the core group as described above and worked together to formulate an action plan for themselves, with proposals for broader Anglican engagement in responding to climate change, faithfully, prayerfully and proactively.

The core group of bishops will become visible in offering biblical and moral leadership in the area of climate justice. Their experience and deliberations will be communicated to Anglicans and others around the world via ACEN, news releases and other forms of media.

As a resource for the broader Communion, a concise report will be produced, gathering the bishops’ lived experience and responses to climate change and setting out future actions. More Anglicans will understand that responding to climate change is part and parcel of our baptismal vocation and will be active in greening their homes, churches and communities and in speaking out on behalf of those experiencing the worst effects of climate change. The Anglican Church will become active in global advocacy.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (currently the chair of ACEN) will have shared the experiences and deliberations of the core group with his sister and brother Primates. Anglican leadership will increasingly be taking the initiative in networking effectively with ecumenical partners, other faith groups, government and UN structures. Those currently affected by the impacts of climate change will be given a voice at the international level of the Communion, and know that they are remembered and supported, both in the prayer and in practical ways.

Those who have the power to curtail carbon emissions will have a fresh sense of how their actions can have a positive impact on their sisters and brothers in other parts of the world and contribute towards climate justice.

The Anglican Communion will benefit from a shared endeavor.

The following Eco-Bishops will be coming to Cape Town:

Jane Alexander, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, Canada; Andrew Dietsche, New York, The Episcopal Church; Nick Drayson, Northern Argentina; Nicholas Holtam, Salisbury, Church of England; David Chillingworth, St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, Scottish Episcopal Church; Chad Gandiya, Harare, Central Africa; William Mchombo, Eastern Zambia, Central Africa; Ellinah Wamukoya, Swaziland, Southern Africa; Stephen Moreo, Johannesburg, Southern Africa; Nathaniel Nakwatumbah, Namibia, Southern Africa; Thabo Makgoba, Cape Town, Church of Southern Africa; Thomas Oommen, Madhya Kerala, Church of South India; Andrew Chan, Hong Kong; Jonathan Casimina, Davao, Philippines; Tom Wilmot, Perth, Australia; and Apimeleki Qiliho, Fiji, Aotearoa-New Zealand.

For more information contact: The Rev. Rachel Mash – 



Comments (14)

  1. Richard McClellan says:

    How does this make disciples of all nations?

    1. The Rev. Lucretia Jevne says:

      Caring for creation and exploring the effects of our ways of life on the climate are part of loving our neighbors and ourselves.

      1. Doug Desper says:

        I have an inspired idea and one that I am totally serious about. It would actually be a trend-setter and would lead the way to preserve this world in better fashion than our wasteful niching and grouping habits.
        Tear down 815 Second Avenue. Return it to a green space as a gift and example. A nice park. A prayer garden in a overly important day. Move the few necessary (down-sized) General Convention offices to the grounds of the National Cathedral. The College of Preachers went broke some years ago and that space would do nicely. Don’t we only need about 4 office suites and 6 support offices anyway?
        Now THAT’s right use of resources. That’s leaving a smaller carbon print. That’s wise stewardship for activities that do not require office space that competes with the Stock Exchange. Beats burning up plane tickets and fluorescent bulbs to get together to talk about what other people should be doing.
        ..or, are our liberal friends thinking about someone else to do the trendsetting, and someone else to exercise the generosity and creative stewardship?

  2. Ron Davin says:

    It was zero near Boston today, without global warming we could very well have been in the negative range. How cold do you want it to get here ?

    1. William A. Flint, PhD says:

      My friend, it appears God has engaged in the debate. God bless you and stay warm. Humans think they are in charge of creation, it is good to see God has not abdicated His Authority.

      1. Richard McClellan says:


  3. Richard McClellan says:

    God’s word specifically declares that climate change will always exist. There are four different seasons ya know?

    1. Pamela Payne says:

      Yes, there are four seasons, and the climate has varied over the course of thousands of years. The issue at hand is that climate change is happening much more rapidly now than in the past. Much of the rapidity of change is related to the impact that larger numbers of humans and the byproducts of our technology have had on the generally slower pace of natural variation. God gave us brains to address the issue, and God expects us to use them. We must adapt more quickly to the more rapid changes, and acknowledge our responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation.

  4. Richard McClellan says:

    “stewards of God’s creation”. Something nobody ever said about an abortionist.

  5. John Van Leer says:

    Accelerating Sea Level Rise will impact the global coastlines with impacts which will challenge rich and especially the poorest among us. The Pacific islander driven from his of her home had almost no impactful emissions of green house gases. The degraded coral reefs they depend upon are impacted by global warming. That global oceans and growing warmer and more acidic are a sure signs of trouble. Oysters are having trouble making shells. The Inuit, whose permafrost supported villages are literally melting from under their feet, are being forced to move their settlements inland away from their traditional oceanic food sources. It took billions of years for this beautifully balanced earth system to evolve. How much damage can man unkind do in only a century?

    We have the means of generating renewable energy today, so we don’t need to keep burning fossil carbon into the future, since the natural god given systems can’t absorb it fast enough, to avoid rising temperatures, melting glacial ice and Sea Level Rise. We should save the fossil carbon for future generations to use for the many petrochemicals the modern world depends upon. The Citizens Climate Lobby has put forth the revenue neutral Shultz Becker plan, which puts an escalating tax on carbon which is refunded to all the households in the USA which can reduce carbon emission as much as 90% by 2030 giving the world a real shot at recovery.

  6. Fr. Will McQueen says:

    I completely believe in climate change, except I prefer to call it weather. This is money so well spent.

    BTW, Richard McClellan, that’s a slam dunk comment! Thank you.

    1. Richard McClellan says:

      I’m pro life. Abortion, war, you name it. Saving lives and souls should be TEC’s main focus, not controlling something that God alone controls.

  7. Doug Desper says:

    SKYPING this meeting would have made a smaller carbon footprint – especially considering that it is advocacy by people who don’t create legislation or policy.

  8. Ron Davin says:

    So how much colder must it get here in Boston for that Pacific Islander to be more comfortable ? If next year that -4 degrees becomes – 10 degrees in Boston will we have done enough ? Do they still use the scientific method to develop a theory ? If so, it should be easy to tabulate how much colder we need to be. How will life be, how will the economy be in this country if we reduce carbon emission 90m %. All while China and India have expressed a reluctance to cut their emissions despite their smog and pollution problems.

Comments are closed.