COI Gazette – 16th September 2016

US Cathedral takes aim at gun violence

An anti-gun-violence mural was painted on the exterior of Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati as part of the Cathedral’s efforts to address gun violence.

An anti-gun-violence mural was painted on the exterior of Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati as part of the Cathedral’s efforts to address gun violence.

Seven people were killed in Cincinnati, Ohio, by gun violence in the month of August alone. In 2016, there have been 63 homicides in this city of 300,000 people.

Christ Church Cathedral has responded by placing a 20’ by 24’ mural on its building’s south-side façade at a busy intersection in the city’s downtown business district.

The mural, created in partnership with ArtWorks Cincinnati, a non-profit organisation that trains youth to create art for public impact, depicts a group of young men holding pencils that resemble guns with grips, triggers and magazine.




Preaching earlier this month in New York, the WCC General Secretary, the Revd Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, focused on humanity’s call to care for creation. He said: “Today we need more than ever further reflections about what it means that God is creating and sustaining this world every day.” He highlighted how climate changes are making it “less predictable and very difficult” for farmers, particularly in poor areas of the world, to live from the earth. Dr Tveit also called for further theological reflection on what it means to believe in God as creator, stating: “God has given us a role in taking care of this creation that we cannot ignore. We cannot just hope that God will fix it some day. God is calling us to accountability, to care for our common home … We need to think, and not less to act, differently; we have to give our countries leaders who have mandates really to make the great changes that are needed in how we produce, transport [and] consume.”

As the Anglican Communion News Service has reported, about the same time, Church leaders from around the world were welcoming the announcement that the US and China had ratified the UN’s climate change agreement that was reached in Paris last November, the news emerging as President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping met in Hangzhou ahead of the latest G20 Summit. Gavin Drake of ACNS explained: “The Paris agreement commits countries to a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and an aim to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees to ‘significantly reduce risks and the impacts of climate change’. It won’t come into effect until at least 55 countries, accounting in total for at least 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions, have ratified it.”

Mr Drake noted that before the announcements by China and the US, just 24 of the 180 states that are party to the agreement had ratified it, accounting for just 1.06 per cent of emissions, adding: “The inclusion of China and the US – the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases – puts the percentage above 39 per cent. And there is now increasing pressure on other countries to follow suit before the ratification process comes to an end on 21st April 2017.”

In the 2nd September issue of the Gazette, we reported that the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nick Hotlam, who is the Church of England’s ‘lead bishop’ on environmental issues, had expressed his concern for the future of the UK’s climate change policies following the country’s 23rd June referendum vote in favour of leaving the European Union. Following the signing up to the Paris climate deal by the US and China, Bishop Holtam commented: “I congratulate the USA and China, as the world’s two biggest carbon emitters, on formally ratifying the agreement. It is a huge step towards the agreement coming into force … I call on the Prime Minister [Theresa May] to ensure that the UK also completes the ratification process as soon as possible. It will confirm that decarbonisation remains a top priority for her government.”

Speaking on 3rd September, President Obama said that while the Paris agreement alone would not solve the climate crisis, it did establish “an enduring framework that enables countries to ratchet down their carbon emissions over time and to set more ambitious targets as technology advances”. He added: “That means full implementation of this agreement will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change and pave the way for more progress in the coming years.”

The Churches, particularly acting together in ecumenical fellowship, have been to the fore in pressing for progress on measures to deal with climate change and the adoption of the Paris agreement by the US and China is a welcome and huge boost to the process.


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