The bishops led prayers, at dawn in Horsham and at dusk at Firle beacon, and welcomed supporters amid heavy wind and rain.
Bishop Will, who holds the remit for environmental issues in the diocese said: "We have a clear obligation as stewards of the earth and its resources that calls us to be responsible in caring for our common home the earth."
Outlining ways in which parishes and communities can focus on the challenge ahead, the bishop said that starting with prayers was crucial: "Reflecting deeply in prayer, meditation and worship to discern how to care for the earth and each other, and to encourage our respective communities to do the same."
At the same time, the bishop said that practical action was needed: "Making transformational change in our own lives and in the lives of our communities through individual and collective action" is crucial.
But with the network of parishes and communities representing the household of faith across the Diocese, Bishop Will said that voicing both our concerns and hopes was important at this time.
He added that we need to be "advocates for justice by calling on governments, businesses and others who exercise power and influence to put into effect the Paris agreement; to make the transition to a just and green economy a priority; and to commit to science-based targets that are aligned with a healthy resilient, zero emissions future.”
The two events gave people opportunities to come together for general prayers and specific prayers shaped by the aims imagined for the forthcoming COP26:
- Adapt and protect communities and natural habitats already impacted by climate change - enabling them to safeguard forests and other ecosystems and to build resilience infrastructure and adopting agricultural practices to cope with and mitigate climate change;
- Mobilise finance - for developed countries such as our own to release the 100 billion dollars a year in climate finance promised at the Paris 2015 COP but not yet fully realised, enabling developing countries to adapt and mitigate against climate change; and for those countries that have contributed most to the causes of climate change to contribute funds to compensate for loss and damage upon the least and poorest nations and communities who feel the impacts of climate change the most;
- To work together to deliver - to break through the distrust and barriers that have grown between nations over the past decade, seen in the poor global response to Covid19 and rolling out of vaccines across the world, and in the slow response so far to tackling climate change. Only by working together can nations overcome these global problems - as Jesus said, “each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil 2v4).
Here are some prayer points that will help churches and individuals seek God for COP26 over the coming couple of weeks :
- Pray that the UK government will lead by example and show clearly how we will achieve our own targets for climate action and achieving net zero.
- Pray for justice and fairness to be at the heart of the decisions that are made.
- Pray that representatives from developing countries will not be limited from attending due to COVID19
- Pray for Government ministers and others leading the conference.
- Pray for the voices of young people to be heard in every aspect of the conference.
Limiting global emissions to 1.5 degrees
- 70% of the world’s economies have committed to this on paper; pray their plans and actions will make this a reality.
- Pray that richer nations and financial institutions will help finance poorer nations to develop the technologies to provide cleaner energy.
- Pray for Green jobs to be created across our world, bringing hope to millions of lives.
The stewardship of nature as God intended
- Pray for the protection of threatened habitats across our world, in particular the rain forests.
- Pray for the rewilding and restoring of habitats so that we allow nature to restore eco systems and create sustainable agriculture across the world.
- Pray for Christian organisations engaged in encouraging our stewardship of God’s creation, including Arocha Uk, Tear Fund, and many others.
- Pray for our farmers as they will change practices in the coming decades.
Extreme weather events
- Pray for National and local Government leaders as they plan for more extreme weather events.
- Pray for those who determine planning decisions for new developments, that they will plan for extreme weather events.
- Pray for those affected across the world by flooding and forest fires.
- Pray for those parts of the world for whom rising sea levels could be catastrophic.
Climate and Environmental Scientists
- Give thanks for the gift of science that has allowed us to see how our use of fossil fuels is affecting people and nature around the globe in the present and the future.
- Prayer for scientists working of new IPCC reports on the impact of Global Warming and ways to mitigate against its worst effects due to be released next year.
- Pray for scientists and engineers who are using their creativity to develop ideas and technology that will help reduce the intensity of Climate Change and moderate its impact.
- Pray for a new generation of scientists who have an appreciation of the wonder of creation and are motivated to find ways to protect both people and the whole community of creation.
The role of the Church
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to awaken the hearts of all Christians to our complicity in harming God’s creation and then to see ourselves as those who should lead by example.
- Pray for our church communities to invest in green solutions within our buildings and land, and a willingness to share best practice.
Pray for Christian voices to speak up against the injustice of climate change as it effects the poorer nations disproportionately, and for richer nations to financially support green solutions across the world.