Churches invited to support World Environment Day

By Rachel Farmer
Posted Jun 3, 2016

[Anglican Communion News Service] Churches across the world are being encouraged to engage with World Environment Day this Sunday, June 5, and to use it as an opportunity to celebrate God’s creation and help protect the planet.

Green Anglicans, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s environmental network, has provided resources for churches particularly for use by young people in services on World Environment Day.

The Rev. Rachel Mash, environmental coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, said, “World Environment Day is a global day set aside to grow and encourage global awareness and action on care for creation. In Genesis 15:2 God gave us a mandate to look after his earth. This day serves as an opportunity for people to focus on giving back to our wonderful planet by becoming agents of change as well as curbing global warming, climate change and other related issues while cutting down their carbon foot print.”

Angola is the host country this year and the theme is ‘Go Wild for Life’ which is focusing on the high volume of illegal trading of wild life. The country is seeking to restore its elephant herds and conserve its biodiversity, and safeguard the environment as it continues to rebuild after a quarter century of civil war. Members of the young green Anglicans network in Angola have been circulating resources and encouraging churches to take part in special services to mark the event.

Angolan Environment Minister Maria de Fatima Jardim said, “The illegal wildlife trade, particularly the trade in ivory and rhino horn, is a major problem across our continent. By hosting this day of celebration and awareness-raising, we aim to send a clear message that such practices will soon be eradicated.”

Churches in Southern Africa are running a number of events in connection with the day including an earth festival and talent competition in the Western Cape dioceses, a focus on care for our common home at St. Alban’s Cathedral, Pretoria, while in the Diocese of Saldanha Bay the churches will be taking a pledge to support the environment.

Mash said, “As people of faith our actions can begin in our place of worship and from there we reach out to our communities, reminding people about how God took his time to make this earth beautiful. We can achieve this if we work together as people of God.”

Resources for services are available to download and include suggested readings, liturgy, prayers and a drama based on a story by Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai.

World Environment Day is an opportunity for churches to do doing something to take care of the earth and become agents of change. For further information visit World Environmental Day.

A video, Environmental issues and the Anglican Communion, is available here.