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 states that climate change could drive 122 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.

Listen to this - for the Church of Ireland to invest in fossil fuels is ethically wrong.

Last year this synod passed a motion calling the RCB to divest from fossil fuels. But the RCB ignored your call for change. It ruled out investments in coal - but there were no investments in coal to divest from.

The response to this synod's motion was a climate change policy that justified continued investment in fossil fuels for years to come. With millions suffering around the world, that is ethically wrong.

But I believe there is hope. For our bishops understand the need to Care for Creation. This has been led by our own Bishop Harold who is now on the Board of Tearfund.

I believe there is hope because God has placed the right people onto the Representative Church Body. Those who have smelt poverty and suffering; who understand that investing in the oil and gas industry is fuelling the problem, not investing in a solution.

I hope and pray that our Church will put its Care for Creation words into action – to lead the way on divesting from fossil fuels.

I also hope you will dig deep to contribute to the Bishops' Emergency Appeal for Haiti.


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