Sunday, June 5, 2011

ACEN: Anglican Communion Environmental Network

Ascension Sunday

The Anglican Cycle of Prayer listed today as Ascension Sunday and also as World Environmental Day, and bade prayers for the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) : “Pray for the Anglican Communion Environmental Network (ACEN) as it promotes local initiatives to protect the environment, and encourages the education of Anglicans, as individuals and as communities, to become better stewards of God’s creation.

The home page of the ACEN website contains the mission statement for the network along with links to current news items about environmentalism in the Anglican Communion. The most recent link is to an article about the Anglican Church in South Africa preparing for the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP17) to be held in Durban late this year. The article explains that “With provincial and diocesan programmes around the Communion, particularly in the southern hemisphere, increasingly having to integrate a response to the impacts of climate change within local mission, it is hoped that governments will make firm and urgent commitments to decrease national carbon emissions.

Anglicans in South Africa invite people from other parts of the communion to join them in Durban for COP17. The Rev. Dr. Andrew Warmback from the Diocese of Natal explains:

We will be part of civil society's watching brief to show our governments that the world is eagerly waiting for an outcome from the COP17 deliberations that will bring justice to the world and enable sustainable, ecologically-sound development for all people, especially those most in need and the poorest of the poor. This is our opportunity to witness to our faith, and publicly to put our faith into action, calling for an ethical and moral outcome to COP17.

Some of us observing today as Ascension Sunday read Psalm 47 this morning. Robert Alter’s translation from the Hebrew (in Alter’s The Book of Psalms) of the last four verses of Psalm 47 are:

For king of all earth is God, hymn joyous song.

God reigns over the nations, and sits on His holy throne.

The princes of peoples have gathered, the people of Abraham’s God.

For God’s are the land’s defenders. Much exalted is He.

Certainly these verses suggest a reason for God’s people throughout the Anglican Communion to care about the earth and to put our faith into action in defense of the earth.

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