The climate change challenge
The challenge of climate change is no longer a distant threat; it has become a destructive, daily reality for millions in our world.
Climate change is not simply a political or scientific issue – it’s a Church issue! This is why, with the important United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November 2021, Elim hosted an online event called ‘The Climate Crisis and the Church’ to equip and resource Christian leaders and churches.
Taking the form of an online panel discussion hosted by Elim's Catherine De Souza (City Church, Cardiff), our guests included Dot Tyler, Hannington Muyenje and Malcolm Duncan, plus there's an interview with Israel Olofinjana.
Catherine De Souza and her husband Dominic are the Senior Leaders of City Church Cardiff. Catherine co-chairs the Elim Justice Forum and serves on Elim's Regional Team for Wales. She is a Trustee Director of Tearfund; a member of the Evangelical Alliance Council; and is Kyria Network's National Leader for Wales.
Dot Tyler is the National Youth Director for Tearfund and co-Director of the Justice Conference UK. She is a regular speaker and preacher, specialising on the intersection between theology, creation care and youth engagement.
Hannington Muyenje is a Senior Associate for Global Campaigns at Tearfund. He has worked with eight countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and China to help churches build social movements for change. Through these movements, Christians have influenced governments, institutional policies and created platforms for ordinary people to speak to global leaders.
Malcolm Duncan is the Lead Pastor of Dundonald Elim Church and Convenor of Agora, Elim’s Public Theology, Justice and Pastoral Ethics Taskforce. He is Theologian-in-Residence for Spring Harvest and Essential Christian. Malcolm is also a broadcaster, a writer and is actively engaged in a number of areas of advocacy.
Israel Olofinjana is the Director of the One People Commission at the Evangelical Alliance. An ordained Baptist minister, he is the founding director of Centre for Missionaries from the Majority World, helping Christians to work together in mission. He is a member of Christian Aid’s Working Group on Climate Justice.
Each of our panel members is excellently placed to speak with expertise and guide us forward on this serious matter of climate change, so join us for this important conversation on the Elim YouTube at elim.org.uk/youtube or watch it below.
Elim Climate Crisis Resources & Challenge
What is climate change?
The Earth’s surface is warming, and as a result, average conditions such as temperature and rainfall are being impacted. Climate change refers to these fluctuations and the resulting shifts in weather patterns.
Why does it matter?
Climate change presents significant global, local and church challenges.
Measurable increases in rainfall mean that 5.2 million homes in England alone are currently at risk of flooding.
The UK average sea level has risen by 16cm since 1900 and will continue to do so for centuries due to time lags in the climate system.
The chances of experiencing hot summers like in 2018 have doubled in recent decades. By 2050, it is projected that every other summer will be a heatwave.
As of July 2021, the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is the highest it has been in human history.
Right now, 800 million people across the world are vulnerable to climate change impacts such as droughts, floods, heatwaves, extreme weather events and sea-level rise. The poorest 3.5 billion people are responsible for just 10% of emissions but are already facing the worst of the climate crisis’ crushing consequences.
A challenge to the Church
What would happen if the Church became a prophetic voice for creation care?
As Pentecostals, we believe that the Church is called to speak into the culture and have a profound impact on society. We are divinely appointed custodians of creation, and it is our responsibility to look after it well (Genesis 2:15; Psalm 24:1; Psalm 50:10-11).
God’s people are uniquely positioned to bring a voice of hope in times of uncertainty and upheaval. We can show the world that not only do Christians care about the climate crisis, but we are also committed to taking meaningful action to combat the climate emergency.
What can I do?
It could be easy to look at an issue as large and pressing as a global climate crisis and become overwhelmed. But when God’s people come together with passion, power and purpose, we can bring about remarkable change.
Where should I start?
The UK is hosting this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October to 12 November 2021. COP26 is the 26th meeting of the most influential global leaders on the issue. This event has the potential to be the most monumental gathering on climate change so far. So, in the run-up to COP26, we invite you and your church to engage with the resources below.
Also, download the following content as a single, sharable document entitled The Elim Movement and the Climate Crisis.
We are encouraging Elim churches to pray during Sunday 7 November 2021 which is the Sunday that falls in the middle of COP26.
Pray for those affected most by the climate crisis across the world, that their voices would be heard and the impact on them would be at the forefront of decisions made during COP26
Pray for political leaders making decisions and commitments on climate change to be bold and to act with righteousness
Pray that we the Church would use our voice prophetically to speak God’s love, hope and truth into the issue of climate justice.
To help highlight the climate change challenge we have also produced a short video for use at church events which is also available to share across social media. It will be available from Sunday on our YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels.