On Sunday 3rd October St Mary's church celebrates Harvest Festival. This is set in the context of the Season of Creation which runs from 1 September to 4 October. The Anglican church, which we are part of, has 5 'Marks of Mission'. The fifth mark is 'To safeguard the integrity of creation, and to sustain and renew the life of the earth'. At St Mary's we have been praying for the earth and particularly for the United Nations Climate Change conference COP26 which will be held in Glasgow from 31st October to 12th November. The summit will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change. The UN secretary General Antonio Guterres says that the earth is on 'Red Alert'. 'The major emitters must step up with much more ambitious emissions targets' he says if we to limit climate change to 1.5C. Do such summits make a difference? There is evidence that they do.
On 16 September 1987 the Montreal Protocol was signed by 197 countries. It was the first treaty in the history of the United Nations to achieve universal ratification. The Protocol was designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of nearly 100 man-made chemicals that are responsible for ozone depletion. The most well known of these are Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). In August this year, new research has revealed just how critical the Montreal Protocol was. A team of international scientists from the UK, US and New Zealand found that if CFCs had not been banned in the late 1980's, their continued use would have contributed to average global air temperatures rising by an additional 2.5C by the end of the century. That 2.5C would have been in addition to the rises we already have. The concerted international response averted 'a scorched Earth scenario' according to the research team.
In addition to international agreements, we can all play our individual part in finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. And we can pray. As Christians, we believe in the power of prayer to change things. Please join us in praying for COP26, for the delegates and their decisions. Here is a prayer by Canon John Payne-Cook who preached on climate change at the service at St Mary's on 5th September. You can find his sermon on our You Tube channel.
Prayer for the COP26 Climate change conference - Canon John Payne-Cook.
Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of this world, we thank you for the wonder, the beauty but also for the fragility of the life you have given us. Help us to be aware of the grave dangers we face through our dependence upon fossil fuels for our energy, our industry and our comfort.
We pray for the leaders of all nations as they prepare to meet in Glasgow that you will inspire them to listen to, and to learn from what the scientists are saying, to plan binding resolutions to radically reduce carbon emissions here and in every country We pray too for all who are seeking new ways to shrink the carbon footprint of humanity, those researching new green technology, hydrogen power, carbon capture and whatever will enable future generations to live free from the fear of environmental catastrophe, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Joy (Vicar of Eaton Bray with Edlesborough)
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About the Vicar's Letter
The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.
The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the Vicar's Letter area for these.