Quite a number of Christians took an active part in the climate strike march last week. Anglicans, Lutherans, Catholics and United Church members were particularly active, along with Earthkeepers: Christians for Climate Justice.
But even those who didn’t take part will find that the national bodies to which their churches belong have made some fairly strong statements about the environment – and believe it should be treated as a major issue in the federal election.
Voting as Catholics
The federal election guide sponsored by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops – Voting as Catholics – made the Environment (‘caring for our common home’) the first of several key issues for voters to wrestle with.
It begins with these words:
When it comes to the environment, Pope Francis calls us to have a personal change of heart and a collective transformation that responds to “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” In his encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home, he issues an urgent challenge to all of us “to protect our common home . . . to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change.”
Then focuses on several concerning facts:
• Canada’s average annual temperature increased 1.7°C over the past 70 years. Scientists believe human activity caused more than half of this change.
• If carbon emissions aren’t reduced, Canada’s average temperature could rise up to 6°C by the end of the century, causing more extreme weather.
• Canada produces 1.6% of global carbon emissions. We have the highest carbon emissions per capita among wealthy, industrialized countries. Canada is the 9th highest carbon emitter by country.
The environment was certainly not the only issue suggested for consideration. Also highlighted are newcomers (immigrants, migrants and refugees); respectful political participation; human dignity (from the beginning to the end of life); poverty (income insecurity, food insecurity and homelessness); Indigenous issues (working toward reconciliation); and religious freedom (protecting persecuted Christians),
Canadian Council of Churches
The Canadian Council of Churches, which represents 26 member churches including Anglican; Eastern and Roman Catholic; Evangelical; Free Church; Eastern and Oriental Orthodox; and Historic Protestant traditions, has also created a federal election guide, Justice, and Only Justice, Shall You Pursue.
One of its nine main focuses is ‘Climate’; the text reads:
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has exceeded 400 parts per million, well above the 350 parts per million threshold deemed to be the “safe” level for ensuring that runaway climate change does not imperil life on Earth. Globally, 2016 was the warmest year on record and the last five years are on track to be the warmest ever.
While Canada has signed the Paris Accord, the Government of Canada does not yet appear to have a plan in place to meet and surpass those emissions targets.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to care for our neighbours (Matthew 25) and to be diligent caretakers of this beautiful planet with which God has blessed us (Genesis 1:26-28). This includes being aware of how climate change adversely affects all God’s creation including people living around the world.
Questions for candidates
How will you work to ensure Canadian public policy leads us to meet and surpass the Paris Accord emissions targets and do our part to keep global warming below a 1.5 degree rise in global average temperatures? What is your and your party’s plan to establish more stringent and ambitious emission targets?
What will you and your party do to put a price on carbon emissions, develop and promote a national renewable energy policy, end fossil fuel subsidies, and encourage the creation of an increasing number of high-quality, sustainable jobs in the renewable energy sector?
For Easter and Earth Day 2019, church leaders recorded a video for the love of all creation, for the love of the Creator.
In 2015 The Canadian Council of Churches, church leaders, and other faith leaders drafted and signed On Promoting Climate Justice and Ending Poverty in Canada | Faith Communities in Canada Speak Out. The content is still relevant today: See climate justice statement.
The Arctic perspective on climate is crucial for Canada and for Canadians. For a view from the North, see the 2015 Storforsen appeal.
EFC / CPJ
However, a September 26 video, ‘How to be a more politically engaged, active citizen,’ addressed climate issues, among others. The 46-minute video featured Glendyne Gerrard of Defend Dignity, Karri Munn-Venn of Citizens for Public Justice and Julia Beazley, director of public policy for the EFC, with host Karen Stiller.
Asked to address the ‘feeling of why bother,’ when it seems so hard to achieve results through politics, Munn-Venn said (at about the 7:30 mark):
My work focuses largely on climate justice, and the power of individual action this week, of course, has really been exemplified by the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who a little over a year ago, by herself, without anybody else, even without complete support from her parents, sat outside the Swedish parliament and said, ‘Why should I go to school to study for a future that the adults of the world are not working to protect.’ . . .
As far as movement building goes, it’s been quite incredible. And of course that’s not the impact that we all have every time we stand up and take action, but I think it is really a beautiful illustration of the way that one person can create change. And the thing is, when one person does it, we all are emboldened to step up and to participate.
Munn-Venn described their environmental focus when the CPJ Fall Election Tour stopped in Surrey September 10; I wrote about it here.
Just after the election – and however the climate crisis is treated by voters – Earthkeepers is inviting the wider Christian community for a free screening of the 2016 documentary, Before the Flood.
Co-produced and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this film takes us on a journey around the world to witness the far-reaching impacts of climate change. Meeting with scientists, politicians and activists, DiCaprio asks: Can we act collectively before it’s too late?
The show will take place October 19, 7 pm, at Chinatown Peace Church.
Of Games and God
‘Thinking critically about God, faith, video games and gaming culture.’ That will be the not-so-simple theme this Saturday (October 5) during Of God and Games. The day-long conference is sponsored by ACTS Seminaries and host SouthRidge Fellowship in Langley.
Here is a taste of what it’s all about:
Video games are changing the world. They have become a major catalyst for how we think and relate to one another, particularly for children and youth.
Game enthusiasts laud the interactivity, immersive experience and social aspects of gaming, as well as their artistic and creative potential to birth fantastic worlds like those imagined by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. Critics, on the other hand, focus on objectionable content and the antisocial aspects of gaming, including physical inactivity, disrespect for authority and poor appreciation of the consequences of actions.
Where do we find a balance in the discussion? And how do parents, Christian leaders and educators help guide children, youth and young adults to a balanced experience of gaming, appreciating the benefits yet recognizing the signs of unhealthy imbalance?
In this one-day seminar, we invite you to consider the What, Why and How of a Christian approach to video games.
- What do we need to know about video games? Kevin Schut, PhD, Professor at Trinity Western University and author of Of Games and God: A Christian Exploration of Video Games, examines the medium of video games, tackles several religious, spiritual and social issues surrounding them, and offers his perspective on finding a balanced Christian approach as parents, teachers and mentors. His interactive presentation will look at specific examples of games and give opportunity for attendees to explore and participate for themselves.
- Why do we need to re-think a Christian approach? As Christians, we are called to engage in culture, not just reject or withdraw from it. A panel of theologians from ACTS Seminaries will reflect on the medium and experience of video games and share their perspectives on what we can learn from the Bible and the example of Jesus to guide an informed, critical Christian approach.
- How do we translate a Christian approach into action?
Expert perspectives are valuable, but the real challenge can be translating them into daily life. Each panel member will lead a discussion group on a theme so that participants can explore practical ways to apply what they’ve heard into their own context. Discussion group themes will be determined based on the interests and needs of participants, for example, parents of pre-teens, teens and young adults, educators and youth pastors.
Online registration is closed, but it sounds like people who are keen might still be able to attend by calling ACTS at 604.513.2044.
Ride for Refuge
A family-friendly cycling and walking fundraiser that supports charities who provide refuge and hope for displaced, vulnerable and exploited people everywhere.
As of late Wednesday night, 946 people in 132 teams – sporting names such as Ratanak Open, First for Kinbrace and Himalayan Life North Shore – will ride or walk from Richmond Christian School to raise money for 26 charities. So far, they have, cumulatively, raised 74 percent of their $390,000 goal.
Journey Home, supported by several sponsors, hosts the Vancouver ride, which is one of many around North America. Here is what the site says about them:
Journey Home Community exists to welcome newly arriving refugee claimant families in the Metro Vancouver area. Money raised from the RIDE will be allocated to providing housing, holistic settlement support and relational support for refugee families seeking protection. They have fled persecution and are intent on making a new home in a safe place, utilizing their multiple skills and abilities to make Canada an even better place!
Join us in making the difference for these courageous families. RIDE or WALK with us on Oct 5th!
It is, apparently, not too late to register for Ride for Refuge.
October 3, 2019Karina Svalya: On the Sixth Day – October 3, 2019 - October 9, 2019 at All Day
Mother of the Maid by Jane Anderson – October 3, 2019 - October 5, 2019 at All Day
Federal Election Debate from a Catholic Perspective – October 3, 2019 at 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Bursting Your Bubble Training: Integrating Business, Life & Faith – October 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Speaking Against the Systemic Oppression of Uyghur Muslims – October 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Water for Life Initiative – October 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
October 4, 2019Hope for the Future: Gen Z in Our City, with Shaila Visser (Alpha Canada) – October 4, 2019 at 7:15 am - 8:30 am
Leverage Leadership Summit Tsawwassen – October 4, 2019 - October 5, 2019 at 8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Holy Spirit in the Now Conference – October 4, 2019 - October 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Marcus Mosely Ensemble – October 4, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
October 5, 2019Ride for Refuge – October 5, 2019 at 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Blanket Exercise – October 5, 2019 at 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Of Games and God: Thinking Critically About God, Faith, Video Games & Gaming Culture – October 5, 2019 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Seminar with Iain Provan – October 5, 2019 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Connecting with God: A Half-Day Retreat – October 5, 2019 at 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Life, Together: Strengthening Our Small Group Gatherings – October 5, 2019 at 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Empowering Family Caregivers EXPO – October 5, 2019 at 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Michael Park: Music for Your Soul – October 5, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Harriet (VIFF) – October 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 5:15 pm
Lennon Wall & Rally – October 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
St. John the Evangelist Café Church: Peter Haigh, North Shore Rescue Team – October 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Taste of Cambodia: a Film and Food Experience – October 5, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Evening of Hope (Villages of Hope Africa) – October 5, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
October 6, 2019Pray for Our Political Leaders – October 6, 2019 at All Day
The Two Popes (VIFF) – October 6, 2019 at 2:30 am - 4:30 am
Vancouver Life Chain – October 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Blessing of the Animals – October 6, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
October 7, 2019The Two Popes (VIFF) – October 7, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Memorial Service for those who have died recently in Hong Kong – October 7, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
October 9, 2019Metro Vancouver LeaderImpact Forum with Don Van Meer – October 9, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
All Candidates Meeting – October 9, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
October 10, 2019DivorceCare (ongoing, several locations) – October 10, 2019 - January 7, 2020 at All Day
Langley / Surrey LeaderImpact Forum with Don Van Meer – October 10, 2019 at 7:00 am - 9:00 am
South Surrey Christian Women's Annual Fall Fair Banquet – October 10, 2019 at 9:30 am - 11:30 am
Deborah Stephan: Shellseekers Art & Soul – Spiritual Disciplines Workshop (Thursday mornings) – October 10, 2019 - November 28, 2019 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Pipe Organ & Politics: All Candidate Debate – October 10, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
October 11, 2019True Girl: Pajama Party Tour 2019 – October 11, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Cathy Peters: Anti-Child Sex-Trafficking – October 11, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
The Eisenhauers – October 11, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
October 12, 2019A Rocha's Harvest Celebration – October 12, 2019 at 12:00 am - 4:00 am
Consonantia: a school of spiritual practice – October 12, 2019 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Alzheimer Café – October 12, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Rend Collective: The Revival Anthem Tour – October 12, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
October 13, 2019Homelessness Action Week – October 13, 2019 - October 19, 2019 at All Day
Pray for Hong Kong – October 13, 2019 at 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley: 'Brentwood Musickers' Dan & Ben – October 13, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
October 14, 2019Homelessness Action Day – October 14, 2019 at 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
October 16, 2019Jesus on Mission: Come and Surrender – October 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Election Forum: Vancouver East – October 16, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Six Primrose – October 16, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Awareness, Witness and Joy: Thomas Merton’s Vocation and Ours – October 16, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
October 17, 2019Global Leadership Summit – October 17, 2019 - October 18, 2019 at All Day
Global Leadership Summit – October 17, 2019 - October 18, 2019 at All Day
25th Annual Fundraising Banquet featuring Dr. Marc Newman – October 17, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
October 18, 2019Frankenstein Lost in Darkness, adapted by Peter Church – October 18, 2019 - November 2, 2019 at All Day
Real Truth Real Life Apologetics Conference – October 18, 2019 - October 19, 2019 at All Day
Telecare's 30th Anniversary Celebration! – October 18, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
October 19, 2019Rummage Sale & Fall Fair – October 19, 2019 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Inspiring Dominican Saints: Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati – October 19, 2019 at 9:15 am - 12:15 pm
Through the Seasons: Encountering God's Faithfulness Women's Conference – October 19, 2019 at 9:30 am - 8:30 pm
Intercessors Prayer Conference: Plug into the Power of Prayer – October 19, 2019 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sharing Food. Sharing Culture – October 19, 2019 at 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
New Beginnings Fundraising Dinner – October 19, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Harvest Thanksgiving with Rio Samaya Band – October 19, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Atesto Surrounded – October 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Before the Flood: Free Film Screening – October 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Roddan Jubilee Lectures: P.E. Moskowitz – October 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
October 20, 2019Human Sexuality Series (Final Evening) – October 20, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
October 21, 2019Dr. Ross Hastings: Book Launch & Public Lecture – Total Atonement – October 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
October 22, 2019The Ruby Sunrise – October 22, 2019 - November 2, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
October 23, 2019Chaplains Connect with ACTS Seminaries – October 23, 2019 at 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Christian Humanist? a Theology Seminar – October 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Unplanned at The Orpheum – October 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
October 24, 2019Book Launch: And Yet, Undaunted – Embraced by the Goodness of God in the Chaos of Life – October 24, 2019 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Does Immigration Matter?: Catherine Dauvergne – Compassion, Law & Why Refugee Claims Matter – October 24, 2019 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Grand Embrace III with Wm. Paul Young, Dr. Brad Jersak, Cathy AJ Hardy & Lorie Martin – October 24, 2019 - October 26, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 4:30 pm
October 25, 2019Endtime Prophecy Conference – October 25, 2019 - October 27, 2019 at All Day
Evening of Hope (Villages of Hope Africa) – October 25, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Art of Discernment in the Ignatian Tradition – October 25, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Grand Embrace III Evening of Music and Inspiration – October 25, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
One Life, a Heart for Asia event – October 25, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Port Moody Pacific Grace Movie Night – October 25, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Barney Bentall – October 25, 2019 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
October 26, 2019Gospel Reset Conference – October 26, 2019 at 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Six Ways to Reach God's World: a Heart for Asia event – October 26, 2019 at 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Worship Academy Conference – October 26, 2019 at 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
What is the place of Christianity in Canada today? A Cross-Canada Conversation – October 26, 2019 at 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Conversations With a Painting: a Memoir – October 26, 2019 at 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Revealing Jesus by Sade Oladapo – October 26, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
OM Partnership Project Dinner – October 26, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Evening of Hope (Villages of Hope Africa) – October 26, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Neighbourhood Stories – October 26, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Copy of Fort Night Comedy Presents, Saturday Night Improv – October 26, 2019 at 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm
October 27, 2019Six Ways to Reach God's World: a Heart for Asia event – October 27, 2019 at 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Jazz Vespers in the Valley: Nick Apivor & Artie Devlin Quintet – October 27, 2019 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Fleetwood Gospel Hall Community Dinner – October 27, 2019 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Interdenominational Hymn Singing – October 27, 2019 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
International Christian Response: Tass Saada – October 27, 2019 at 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm