Churches in Britain have joined the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and aim to mobilize Christians to take stewardship of a threatened earth just as a critical United Nations conference on the planet is taking place in Nairobi.
The Anglican Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, led churches' Operation Noah campaign supporters bearing banners to a rally at London's Trafalgar Square on 5 November where thousands of people gathered.
Chartres told Ecumenical News International: "This is not a political campaign. It is something that springs out of the Bible. We are all participants in the web of life. This is a deeply spiritual initiative."
Chartres in his sermon cited practical actions, such as that taken by a north London church which installed solar panels and is now contributing to the national power grid. He also announced that the (Anglican) Church of England is making a 5 million British pound investment in Impax, a fund supporting alternative energy.
The Noah initiative, sponsored by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, joined around 30 organizations that included faith-based and women's groups as well as development charities and single issue pressure groups like Surfers Against Sewage that met on the eve of the Nairobi conference which began on 6 November.
After a service at the 18th century Grosvenor Chapel in London's Mayfair district, worshippers were asked to sign a climate covenant undertaking to cut carbon emissions. Those present were shown a video of floods threatening the Pacific island state of Tuvalu and read a message from the Anglican Bishop of Bangladesh, Michael Baroi, who relayed fears that if action is not taken much of his country will disappear under the sea in 40 years time.
Baroi said: "The UK government and people should raise their voice in such a way that the people in the USA, China and India hear them and pursue their government to sit together to find some solutions to the problem."
The rally followed a British government-commissioned report the preceding week in which Nicholas Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank, warned that basic elements of life were threatened by global warming and that mass displacement of populations would occur if urgent collective action was not taken to lessen the harmful effects of fossil fuels.