Church of Scotland: “Acts which damage the created world damage us all, and especially those most vulnerable”
Jim Wallace (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) is Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
Here is his contribution to the Our World in Your Hands project.
Dear world leaders,
I write as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and it is to Glasgow and to Scotland that thousands will be travelling to COP26. We look forward to giving a warm Scottish welcome to all participants, formal and informal, who travel in hope that the opportunity afforded by the COP will be seized and that the agreement negotiated will be significant and will diminish and reverse the threat to our global home caused by climate change.
Across the church denominations and faith groups we want to be good hosts — extending the hand of friendship and providing hospitality. It is inevitable that at any such gathering, there will be tensions and anxieties as well as much frenetic energy. We hope we can create spaces where visitors and local people alike can meet, exchange views, share ideas, meditate, and pray — oases of solace as well as hope.
The Church of Scotland readily affirms a commitment to a just and green future. We believe that as human beings created in the image of God, we are not only stewards of God’s creation, but are very much part of that creation.
We are conscious that acts which damage the created world damage us all, and especially those most vulnerable. We therefore believe we have a duty, individually and collectively, as communities, churches and nations to take responsible and decisive action to address the imminent danger to creation which is already impacting on communities in widely different parts of our world. We also believe we must campaign to impress upon those who represent us the urgent need for them to step up and meet their responsibilities.
As a Church, we believe that we do not face these challenges alone. In Jesus, we look to someone who actually walked on this earth and experienced the human condition, both its beauty and its darkest side. As people of faith, we trust God always to be present with us inspiring hope, however bleak the situation. In the days leading up to and during the COP we pray that our leaders will be guided so that God’s will is done on earth.
We are strongly committed to global justice. We recognize that many of the places and communities already experiencing the damaging effects of climate change are among the world’s poorest and most marginalized. Yet they have contributed least to the climate crisis. For some, lack of resources or Covid-related restrictions may make it difficult or even impossible to be actually present in Glasgow.
The world’s leaders should spell out in advance of the COP, what they intend to do to ensure that voices of the most vulnerable are heard — and listened to.
Moreover, we should wish to see their needs be addressed through a properly resourced adaptation fund, and in addition we call on the world’s richer countries to establish a loss and damage financing facility.
We expect much of our world leaders in Glasgow, but in return they can be assured that Church members and congregations will seek to remember them and their solemn and vital task in prayer.