The Green Anglicans network in southern Africa is partnering with a number of ecumenical bodies to create a Creation Care movement in the region. Some 28 Anglicans from eight countries attended a Creation Care and the Gospel Workshop in South Africa recently, organised by Lausanne / World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Creation Care Network and A Rocha ZA, together with Green Anglicans.
In 2010, more than 4,000 Christian leaders at the 3rd Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation, in Cape Town, said: “The earth is created, sustained and redeemed by Christ. We cannot claim to love God while abusing what belongs to Christ by right of creation, redemption, and inheritance. . .
“If Jesus is Lord of all the earth, we cannot separate our relationship to Christ from how we act in relation to the earth. For to proclaim the gospel that says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to proclaim the gospel that includes the earth, since Christ’s Lordship is over all creation. Creation care is thus a gospel issue within the Lordship of Christ.”
The Lausanne / WEA Creation Care Conference (Southern Africa) is part of a global campaign to stimulate a creation care movement across countries of Southern Africa. The conference sought to empower Christians to develop new and strengthen existing creation care partnerships and initiatives throughout Southern Africa, by exploring the theme of creation care in the Bible, equipping, catalysing and facilitating Christian creation care movements in local contexts and to encourage existing initiatives within the region, exchanging exchange stories of creation care in action, and developing a strong and active regional network of creation care practitioners and advocates.
The conference was attended by 28 Anglicans from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, representing the Anglican Provinces of Central Africa and Southern Africa.
Speakers included the Revd Dave Bookless of A Rocha, from the Church of England’s Diocese of London; Ruth Valerio, an Anglican who works for the Tearfund Christian relief and development agency; Bishop Chad Gandiya and the Revd Sam Sifelani from the Diocese of Harare; Bruce Hewitson, from the Diocese of Cape Town; the Revd Peter Houston, from the Diocese of Natal; and the Revd Dr Rachel Mash, the environmental co-ordinator of the Church of Southern Africa.
In addition to plenary sessions and worship conference participants visited local conservation programmes, and created action plans, focusing on tree planting, clean-ups, campaigns on banning the plastic bag, soil erosion and conservation agriculture.
The Green Anglicans movement met for a further session, at the end of the conference, to look at how to take the movement forward and to build partnerships with Tearfund in the region.