The Episcopal News Service reports that Bishop Marc Andrus of California was among hundreds of people present as Secretary John Kerry signed the Paris agreement at the UN in New York last Friday.
California Bishop Marc Andrus stood out as the only visible religious leader, dressed in a purple clerical shirt and a collar.
“I was there as a witness,” said Andrus, adding that he could not identify other “overtly” religious people in the crowd and that no one was singled out as representing the faith community. “I was the only one, and there where hundreds and hundreds of people, and so I’m so grateful for that. Then I was met with gratitude, people saying ‘I’m so happy that the church is here.’
… “Bishop Marc’s attendance at the Signature Ceremony for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change spoke volumes. It declared to governments, the United Nations and civil society that the Episcopal Church was there with them, visibly present and supportive as a faith-based partner at this historic event,” said Lynnaia Main, global relations officer for the Episcopal Church and its liaison to the United Nations.
“Just as Episcopalians prayed and encouraged the negotiators at COP21 as they forged the agreement, Bishop Marc’s presence demonstrated that our church continued to walk in faith alongside governments and civil society at the agreement’s actual signing. This sets the stage for our partnership in the next phase, implementation of the agreement at the national level. We will need to encourage our national leaders and put faith into action in our churches and dioceses. We thank Bishop Marc for faithfully representing our church at the United Nations,” Main said.
Environmental concerns were raised both at the Episcopal General Convention last summer, and at the Anglican Consultative Council meeting that wrapped up last week in Lusaka. That meeting passed a resolution which read, in part, that the ACC
- notes the dire consequences of climate change for future generations and for all of God’s creation;
- recognizes the global urgency of the crisis of climate change and its impact on the well-being of all people, especially the most vulnerable in societies;
- encourages Anglicans everywhere to join in pastoral, priestly, and prophetic action as we seek together the redemption of all things in Christ by:
- praying and fasting, including special fasts on the first day of each month and a ‘carbon fast’ during Lent;
- designing and taking strategic actions toward sustainability and resilience in our dioceses, communities and congregations, taking into account local ecological and economic contexts and opportunities;
- reviewing and making necessary changes to church investments to ensure these are visibly supportive of a move towards a low carbon economy;
- making energy efficiency and access to renewable energy a priority in all church operations;
- teaching the Fifth Mark of Mission in theological and church-sponsored educational bodies;
- urging political, economic, social, and religious leaders in our various constituencies to address the climate change crisis as the most pressing moral issue of our day consistent with the United Nations’ 21st Climate Change Conference, Paris 2015;
- recognizing and supporting indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent in decisions concerning the environment and the well-being of communities; and
- advocating for sustainable water, food, and agricultural practices in our communities consistent with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Read the full ENS report on Bishop Andrus’ visit to the UN here.
Featured image: California Bishop Marc Andrus prepares to enter United Nations headquarters April 22 to witness the signing of the historic Paris climate agreement. Photo: Lynnaia Main, via ENS