Blogs Posts from the Anglican Communion Environment Network (ACEN)

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Green Anglicans call for Green Jobs and Climate Finance at Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) in Rwanda

14 July 2022

Commonwealth Youth Forum Rwanda 2022


The Commonwealth consists of 54 countries, the majority of which have strong Anglican presence. The Heads of Government meet every two years, and this year the meeting took place in Kigali.

Renew Our World and Abundant Africa invited 13 climate activists from 8 countries across the globe and tasked them to present their advocacy letter to the heads of State attending. We had two teams, one that participated in the women forum which Bishop Brighton Vita Malasa from Malawi attended, the other team was fully engaged with the youth forum between the dates 19 and 21. The youth team consisted of myself; Rev Dennis Nthenge from Kenya, Bino Makalanyane (South Africa) and Erasto Richard (Uganda) who attended as a country rep. Bishop Jeanne Pierre of Rwanda was also a participant at the Conference.

The theme for CHOGM 2022 was ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.’ This theme highlights how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals, like protecting natural resources and boosting trade.

The Commonwealth  Youth Forum (CYF 2022), was held in parallel with the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda between 19-21 June 2022 with the theme of ‘Taking Charge of our Future’. This was an opportunity  for young people of the Commonwealth to build cross-cultural connections and networks, deliberate on youth-led initiatives addressing emerging issues impacting young people, strategize on perspectives to influence decision makers and ensure young people have a voice in its future. The theme captures the aspirations of our new generation leaders in championing an inclusive and prosperous Commonwealth where young people are key actors and equal stakeholders in shaping the future.

The CYC is the recognized voice of over 1.2 billion young people from all across the Commonwealth, advocating on their behalf on issues such as climate change, employment, access to education, universal health coverage and gender equality. This made our presence at CHOGM the more important and relevant considering the scope of influence it has to the youth of the world.

The experience was new for me but I quickly adapted. The assignment was very clear, our work was to sit in the sessions, listen carefully to the presentations made and identify leaders and organizations that had the potential of helping us achieve our collective goal. In-between sessions were the best time to interact and issue out our request letters. I found it interesting that my clerical shirt, which I wore every day, attracted curious delegates who would always ask about the role of the church in the CHOGM and I would take the opportunity to explain about our Christian mandate to be stewards of the environment and connect it seamlessly to our request letter. I grateful to God for giving us opportunities to do radio and tv interviews during that period which helped in getting the message beyond CHOGM.

We - the youth and church clergy as part of the Renew Our World and Abundant Africa Movement had a well-prepared letter that requested the heads of states to commit to 3 pivotal issues, namely:

  1. Rebuild trust with climate-vulnerable nations by ensuring that there is full delivery of the promised $100 billion annually, including 50% for adaptation.
  2. Ensure that finance reaches local communities on the frontlines of climate change.
  3. Invest in good green jobs for youth, including through climate finance

My take home from the whole CHOGM experience was that the climate crisis is too important to be left to governments alone. The Church too must pitch in and contribute toward the good work of saving our planet.  Our voice carries a lot of weight in convincing the world to act environmentally responsible. We should be deliberate in engaging and working with governments in bettering our common homes. If we chose to keep quiet and lock ourselves in churches as God’s created world gets filthier and filthier before God, we shall have a case to answer. Our convictions go beyond moral obligation, we are spiritually stimulated to protect what God took careful time to create and termed as beautiful. We have a God given mandate to care for creation to ensure it is productive and protected as summarized in Gen 2:15 The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.

After the official youth Forum days I got a chance to visit the Anglican Church of Rwanda office where we were graciously received by the General Secretary Rev. Nathan who introduced us to the staff and gave us a tour of the town and the cathedral. Together with Ben Niblett and Bishop Brighton, we briefed him on our participation at CHOGM and the Green Anglican Movement to which I and the Bishop belonged. He was very excited and receptive. He promised to make plans and invite us back for the Launch of Green Anglican movement in Rwanda. We thank God for everything we saw Rwanda is a beautiful country it was a befitting host for the CHOGM and a great inspiration to the Green Anglican Agents who witnessed how nature and brick and motor can blend so beautifully.

Rev Dennis Nthenge : Green Anglicans Movement of Kenya


Only One Earth: Pentecost / World Environment Day

20 May 2022

On 5 June this year we celebrate both Pentecost and World Environment Day.

Many of us feel extremely worried as we look at the global situation. We are facing a triple “pandemic” of climate change, biodiversity collapse and pollution. Those hardest hit are those who have caused the least damage. We have less than three years for our carbon emissions to begin to drop, and yet emissions continue to rise; and we are reaching dangerous tipping points.

Already the Brazilian Amazon has changed from carbon sink to carbon emitter. Melting permafrost is releasing vast amounts of methane. The devastating heat waves across India and Pakistan led them to re-open coal mines that had been closed. The war in Ukraine seems to have increased the demand for new fossil fuel extraction in other parts of the world. We are lost and confused.

The followers of Jesus were also lost and confused. After three incredible years of following Jesus, walking with him, learning from him, sharing with him, they had seen him tortured and murdered. Then the word began to spread that he was alive again, some people saw him, ate with him, touched him. Slowly they began to believe that it was true – he was alive! But then at the Ascension they were left again confused and upset. He said I am calling YOU to be my witnesses, stay in Jerusalem until you are clothed with power. They were so confused, no doubt afraid, maybe they would also be killed if they mentioned Jesus’ name.

People can debate what exactly happened, what were the tongues the fire, what exactly were the different languages. But what is crystal clear is what happened to the followers of Jesus.

There was a complete transformation in their lives:

From scared they became courageous

After seeing what had happened to Jesus, no wonder they were afraid of both Roman military and Jewish authorities. They were in hiding, and now suddenly they had the courage to preach in front of great crowds of people.

They were given a mission, they were sent. There is a saying that “a church without mission is like a fire without burning”.

The Fifth Mark of Mission tells us that we are called to “Strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the Earth.”

Firstly in our mission we must confess and lament that we have failed to protect the integrity of creation – it is of vital urgency that we commit to renewing the life of the Earth.

The very first mandate that we were given by God was this: “care for my Earth”, when God placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and said “work the Earth and look after it” (Gen 2:15).

If you are worried about the future, know that action creates hope! The Spirit inspires and empowers us.

What do learn from Pentecost about how to take up this challenge?

From separated – to united

One of the signs of the spirit is that they were one, they came together regularly to meet and they weren’t hiding away, lonely and stressed in their own corner. Day by day they spent time together in the temple, they broke bread.

People have different angles on caring for creation. Some are passionate about preserving animals or birds, others care passionately about the fact that people don’t have access to clean water. Some are fighting climate change; others are plastic warriors. We need to come together, support each other and carry the mission out.

We need to work with those of different faiths and those who have no faith. Join networks, work with others, link up on social media.

Transformative change doesn’t take place when individuals change, it takes place when networked individuals change.

From selfish to generous

Peter to protect himself said: ‘I do not know this man’. Now we read that all that who believed were together and had all things in common, they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all as any had need. No one had need amongst them.

Climate change and environmental degradation have at their root greed. That we can take more and more from the earth, consume more and more, destroy more and more. In order to protect the planet we need to aspire to a simpler lifestyle. We need to live more simply so that others may simply live.

The wealthier nations that have benefitted from fossil fuel-based development over decades need to provide funding to assist developing nations leapfrog to renewable energy. We all need to live more simply so that others may simply live.

From sorrowful to joyful

From the sadness and despondency of losing their beloved Jesus, they were now so joyful that people thought they were drunk at nine o’clock in the morning! To care for creation is a joyous thing, we connect again with nature, spend time in nature, growing good things in God’s earth, seeing beauty where there was none before.

Many of the activities that we will take part in – such as clean ups, tree planting, food gardening, are moments of great fellowship and great fun!

Let our work be based on love for God and love for God’s creation. Part of our ministry involved enabling others to connect with nature – organising hikes with young people, opening our church gardens to the community – creating opportunities for our church members to spend time listening to God in Creation.

You will not protect what you do not love!

So in our mission to renew this Earth, the only Earth we have, let us be filled with these marks of the Spirit – be courageous, have a purpose, become united, be generous and be full of joy.

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