Magazine article Anglican Journal

Parishes Pledge to 'Give It Up for the Earth'

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Parishes Pledge to 'Give It Up for the Earth'

Article excerpt

In a twist on the traditional practice of giving something up for Lent, Anglicans across Canada pledged to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions--and challenged the federal government to match them by pursuing policy changes to fight climate change.

Fourteen Anglican churches participated in Give it up for the Earth!, a Lenten campaign organized by Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ), a national faith-based organization lobbying for a greater emphasis on justice in Canadian public policy, to "increase climate justice in Canada."

The campaign encouraged participants to use a postcard or an online pledge form to indicate something they are personally committing to giving up for Lent (March 1 to April 13), and challenge the government to address climate change.

For example, individuals could pledge to commute by foot, bicycle, transit or carpooling to cut down on fuel use, or reduce their meat intake, and ask the government to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and provide retraining for laid-off energy workers.

The postcards and online forms were addressed to Catherine McKenna, minister for environment and climate change, and were to be delivered by CPJ during a closing event in April.

For some of the Anglican churches involved, the issue of climate change hits close to home.

For example, the parishioners at St. Mary with St. Mark Anglican Church in Mayo, Yukon, are currently trying to shore up the foundation of their building, which is in danger of collapsing due to melting permafrost.

Valerie Maier, who serves as a licensed lay minister at St. Mary with St. Mark with her husband, Charles, said she thought the CPJ project was a good cause to take up for Lent because of the importance the land holds for her community, which is predominantly Indigenous.

As a contribution, Maier said the parish stopped using disposable plastic cutlery, bowls, plates and cups. "I just thought that this was something that we could take seriously during Lent, something to do that would be a bit of a sacrifice for each person, but also had a bigger effect," she said.

Local concerns also fired the engagement of the Anglican parish of Fenelon Falls and Coboconk, in the Kawartha Lakes region of the diocese of Toronto.

The Rev. …

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