Showing posts from October, 2016

Bishops' Appeal for Haiti - why donating is not enough

I spoke on the Bishop's Appeal at Down and Dromore synod 2016 . The short speech is below. Jeody Luckmane is 28, he is a farmer from Haiti. His home was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew on 4 Oct. In a UNICEF blog he said, “I do not know what we will do now. Everything is destroyed. There is nothing left. There is no food or water, and children are starting to get sick,” A cholera epidemic is looming on Haiti, 1.3 million people are in need of food aid. News like this saddens us, almost to despair. What can we do? I would like to encourage each one of you to give to the Bishop’s Appeal emergency relief fund for Haiti. I would also like you to understand that Church central funds, and your pension fund, are being invested in fossil fuel companies that are the major cause of carbon dioxide pollution and climate change. Global warming is making the impact of hurricanes like Matthew worse. A report released just last Monday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation stat

Why is the engagement with oil giants wrong?

The Church of Ireland acknowledges that a transition to a low carbon economy is essential to help mitigate global warming. Its policy on climate change is based around collaborative engagement with fossil fuel companies. This means that through its membership of bodies such as Church Investors Group and the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, the church can engage with fossil fuel companies with the aim of encouraging them to reduce exploration, production and emissions from fossil fuels. The problem is, engagement is not working. Here is why, 1. Years of experience shows engagement is not working . 2. We need rapid change, not a gradual shift . 3. Investing in fossil fuels is unethical. Let’s take each of these arguments in turn. 1. Experience shows engagement does not work. Jonathan Poritt is an elder statesman of the environmental movement. Twenty years ago he advocated engagement with the biggest oil companies: BP and Shell, and worked

Archbishop calls for a mission audit. How does the church itself measure up?

The Archbishop of Armagh has challenged us to do an ‘audit’ against the Five Marks of Mission, but how does the Church of Ireland measure up? I was very pleased to read that the Archbishop’s presidential address at Armagh Diocesan Synod was about the Five Marks of Mission . They are an important statement on person evangelism – for they came out of an Anglican Consultative Council on personal evangelism in 1984 – and they demonstrate that holistic, integrated missions is key in the Anglican Communion. The Five Marks of Mission are: To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom To teach, baptise and nurture new believers To respond to human need by loving service To transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation. The archbishop outlined each one in turn. He said proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom is not about handing people a package, but rather encouragi

Hurricane Matthew and The Church of Ireland's response

Hurricane Matthew was the first category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since 2007. Several countries were impacted but Haiti, receiving a direct hit, suffered catastrophic damage. Over 1000 lives were lost, fifty thousand people are in immediate need of clean water and shelter. The UN World Food Programme has arranged to feed up to 300,000 people. There is also fear of a cholera outbreak. Damage in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, is estimated to be in about 1 billion dollars. The Church of Ireland Bishop’s Appeal has responded to this disaster by joining with Christian Aid and highlighting the Haiti emergency appeal. You can give online at the appeal website . Christian Aid and Tearfund both encourage churches to do more for suffering people. This means responding to appeals for disasters and working to tackle the root causes of those disasters – like climate change. But did climate change cause Hurricane Matthew? Well, in general hurricanes just ha