The Irish Inter–Church Committee has adopted these affirmations on climate justice and care of creation. They were presented at the AGM of the Irish Council of Churches earlier this month.
The intention of the affirmations is twofold. Firstly to stimulate reflection on how our individual and collective actions and practices impact others through our impact on the environment and to consider how an alternative perspective drawing on biblical values of contentment and thankfulness could lead us to change those practices. Secondly they aim to provide a foundation and common starting point for churches in Ireland to work together and with partner organisations to address these issues practically.
Over the next few months we will be posting reflections on each one of these affirmations on this blog to look in a little more depth at the thinking behind them and begin to explore some ideas on how churches could engage with them.
Read the affirmations below
You can click on each affirmation to read a short reflection on it by an invited contributor
A printable version is available here
Climate, creation, Christian values and discipleship
- We recognise the preciousness of creation that God called good. God’s continuing love for all that he has created is shown in his promise to restore all things.
- We acknowledge the overwhelming scientific evidence for human–caused climate change and the consequent need for action both to mitigate its effects and adapt to them. We are called to change our behaviour collectively and as individuals in order to achieve this.
- Christian discipleship involves addressing injustice and working for the good of all, especially the poor: “by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35). Therefore the injustice that those most affected by climate change have contributed least to it calls us to respond, and to work for the protection of our common home.
- The richness of scripture and the history of God’s work with his people provide us with values and principles to challenge societal narratives that are drivers of climate change.
- As we intentionally practice thankfulness for God’s provision we choose contentment over the greed inherent in consumerism.
- Solidarity with all people, created in God’s image, sharing the finite space of our common home, awakens us to the fallacy of capitalism’s myth of unending economic growth.
Reimagining our spaces, practices, words and messages
- We undertake to respond creatively and courageously, beginning with ourselves, by adapting the ways we use our spaces, how we behave, and the way we speak about climate change.
- We will use our spaces to tangibly effect and communicate a transition to lower–carbon and creation–sustaining lives. (1)
- We will reimagine our annual events to encourage self examination, consideration of our environmental impact, and to express our thankfulness for the gift of creation. (2)
- With our words we will try to explain to ourselves and others why we are doing this.We will pray and discuss together how we can continue on this counter–cultural journey of transition to greater simplicity and practiced contentment. (3)
- In our public conversations with media and government we will endeavour to speak truth to power, holding the interests of those most affected by climate change uppermost in our advocacy. With government we will explicitly support positive initiatives and hold them to account to act justly in the interests of all people and future generations. (4)
1: For example: beehives in churchyards, planting practices that encourage pollinators and produce food, solar panels on church roofs, improving building insulation.
2: For example: an annual harvest service could augment traditional thankfulness for God’s provision with lament for damage resulting from exploitative agricultural practices.
3: For example: thinking ethically together about our choices in production and consumption, and our investment and disinvestment decisions.
4: For example: acknowledging positive progress, telling others what we are doing and asking for specific, achievable actions in conversations with canvassing politicians. Church leaders can together provide a credible and compassionate voice in direct communications with the Taoiseach and government ministers. Resources such as those developed by our partners in Christian Aid and Trócaire can help equip us for such conversations.
Find more info from the resources section of our website: