At the Union of Welsh Independents’ Christian Citizen Department meeting in October 2018 it was decided to form an Economy of Life and Climate Change to consider the obligations of what is happening around us as regards the economy and the environment.
It is not possible to consider these two constituents separately, they need to be discussed in tandem. The Union of Welsh Independents agreed in Council that the executive’s brief should be to give churches guidance as to how Christians should deal with money and the environment. It is acknowledged that the condition of many of our churches means that the main concerns of members will invariably be how to keep the doors open, but it is imperative that we look further than that.
How many of you remember travelling to Birmingham to the Jubilee 2000 protest during the G8 summit meetings in 1998? We were calling to delete Third World Debt by the year 2000. That summit in Birmingham was concentrating on, among other things, ensuring sustainable economic growth in the context of protecting the environment and good governance. The 50,000–70,000 of protesters created headlines across the world; a human chain was formed around Birmingham city centre.
Twenty years on, we must ask, are things any better? There has been much analysis, such as the Stern Report presented to the British government, it foresaw substantial reduction on worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) because of costs connected to dealing with the environment such as extreme weather and the pressure on low-lying land because of rising sea-levels. It is difficult to predict with certainty, but one thing is abundantly clear, most studies by independent economists suggest that the change in climate is negatively affecting the world-wide economy.
‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’
So far the executive has been in discussion and started to develop resources. We have already had the chance to get to grips with environmental challenges using the forty days of Lent. Over the next months, factual information will be added, theological treatise and practical ideas for use by individuals, churches and communities. The concept of the Jubilee was rooted in a righteous and sustainable equilibrium between social, economic and ecological reality. When one of these variables is taken advantage of in order to increase the growth of another, the whole system will suffer ultimately. When one part of the world’s community is under strain, it affects all parts of the earth. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic showed this reality on a worldwide scale. The lessons we have learnt, and are learning still, are guiding us towards the need for Jubilee and urges us to restore equilibrium to the very systems that support life.
‘Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan.’
Here is a collection of valuable resources for Environment Sunday available on the Cytûn website. Follow the link here to read.