Oct 31, 2021

Rector’s Letter November 2021

written by Richard Bland
Praying Hands

Dear friends,

On the day you receive and read this, it will be the beginning of the international meeting of the heads of state in Glasgow. It is a meeting which has happened annually since 1995, known as the Conference of Parties (COP), and usually lasts a fortnight. Over 30,000 people will attend from over 200 countries. It is a meeting of huge importance. The topic for discussion is the global response to the climate crisis which the world continues to face. This year, more than any other, is thought to be the ‘make or break’ year – when the window of opportunity to limit global warming to under the 1.5°C is diminishing. Every country is given the opportunity to share how they intend to adjust their goals for reducing emissions in their own country.

As the meeting is being held in the UK the publicity here has been prolific. The world’s eyes will be on our country, looking at what we are doing perhaps even more than what we might be saying. It is a crucial time. All the world’s major religions (not only the monotheistic ones, but also such as Buddhism, Janaism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism) have joined together to sign a joint appeal calling for the global community to raise their ambitions and step up their climate action. They call for an achievable long term strategy, and a need for a framework of hope and courage to change the narrative of development. They point to the need for us all to live out, in practical terms our duty of care for the environment and our human family.

I hope that our time of Creationtide in September helped us to focus a little more on the issues at hand and to realise that there are things we can do to play our part. At this time of COP26 could I also encourage you to try the questionnaire here which assesses your personal Carbon Footprint – and send me your results (which I will keep confidential). In doing this I hope we will become more aware of the impact of our actions on our environment, and maybe take steps to lessen it. We are doing a similar exercise for Holy Trinity and the Vestry and I will try to address some issues in the coming years. Thank you.

Also this month, as autumn and winter draws ever closer, we will experience our usual time of remembrance. There will be a Service of Remembrance at St Mary’s on Nov 14th, an All Souls Service on Nov 2nd where we remember those who have died, and we will have just celebrated All Saints Day. All of these help us to look back in thankfulness, but also look forward in hope. As we stand and live in the present, I hope that we will pray… praying hard to God for the world and its people… praying hard for reconciliation and peaceful negotiations… praying for a discernment of God’s will and the speaking of Truth. As the hymn says, we all stand in the need of prayer… but perhaps, more than ever, prayer is needed, this month.

With every blessing,