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Church in Southern Africa challenged to care for the environment

Posted on: October 30, 2013 10:42 AM
Bellah Zulu of ACNS and the Revd Dr Rachel Mash Environmental Coordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Photo Credit: ACNS
Related Categories: acen, environment, Southern Africa

By Bellah Zulu, ACNS

The Anglican Church in Southern Africa has called on all Churches on the continent to get involved in the care for creation through worship, local church action and advocacy.

The Environmental Co-ordinator for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA), the Revd Dr Rachel Mash made the call in a statement to ACNS yesterday.

"This can start with a simple energy and water audit to establish the extent of a parish environmental foot-print," she said. "A congregation can also commit to celebrating Season of Creation, or World Environment Day among many other environmental events."

The Anglican Church of Southern Africa Provincial Synod recently passed two resolutions emphasising that environmental issues must become part of the mainstream concern of the church agenda.

One resolution called for ACSA to become an Eco-Province while the second called for sustainable development within the Province.

"Becoming an Eco-Province involves an audit and should be taken up by Diocesan structures as well," said Dr Mash. "We are called to use our land and buildings in an ecologically sustainable way, to monitor and reduce the carbon footprint of our travel."

In an exclusive interview to ACNS earlier, Dr Mash also encouraged the Church in Africa to speak out and be heard across the globe on issues of the environment and climate change. "The Church should make use of their huge numbers on the continent to be heard," she said.

"The church in Africa is not doing enough in the area of climate change. Time is now for the Church to say we need to change, and while Africa needs development and jobs, it needs to be in the right areas of clean energy such as solar and wind energy."

The Southern Africa Synod specifically challenged Southern African Governments to end all expenditure on nuclear energy development and fracking and phase out coal generation. It also encouraged the development, manufacture and use of eco-friendly systems of generating electricity.

Dr Mash said the Church also needs to be more prophetic within the energy sector adding that sustainable is a key word since "our current decisions and actions will affect the lives of future generations."

"The legacy that we leave for our children and the planet in general is dependent on our response to these issues. Christians should also commit to getting involved in advocacy around issues affecting the environment. This is about intergenerational justice," she emphasised.

The Anglican Church in Africa is making an effort to address issues of the environment and climate change. Recently, the Church in Zimbabwe introduced a course on greenhouse theology to equip priests with the necessary vital knowledge about creation, the environment and how it can be preserved.