The Anglican Communion co-organizes the official side event of COP26

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Photo credit: Dr Elizabeth Perry, Anglican Alliance

The Anglican Communion co-hosted an official side event for COP26 yesterday (November 3) titled “Making Peace with Nature: Responding to the Call of Indigenous Peoples”.

The event, hosted by the World Council of Churches, Interfaith Rainforest Initiative, The Episcopal Church, Religions for Peace and the Anglican Communion, brought together religious and indigenous leaders from diverse traditions. It was an opportunity for religious leaders of all faiths to stress the urgent need to recognize the rights and spiritualities of indigenous peoples, and how important they are to “achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement. “.

Among the speakers was Archbishop Mark MacDonald, an Indigenous leader of the Anglican Church of Canada. He said: “It is estimated that 80% of the biodiversity that is on this planet is under the surveillance, the protocols, the lives of indigenous peoples. Thus, the rights of indigenous peoples, the lives of indigenous peoples, are so intimate with the future of the planet, that there is no liveable future for this planet that does not address the rights of indigenous peoples ” .

He also said that it was “absolutely essential for us to understand that indigenous peoples and their lives have a prophetic relationship with the future of humanity.” He ended by saying, “Let’s be careful. Let’s listen. Let us understand. For in this we will find life.

Dr Charles McNeill, Senior Advisor on Forests and Climate for the United Nations Environment Program, moderated the event. He specifically noted that “Anglicans, Episcopalians and other faiths are undergoing a kind of transformation in the way they open up and even embrace the need to respect and protect the rights and spirituality of indigenous peoples”.

Another Anglican participant, Reverend Rachel Taber-Hamilton of the Shackan First Nation, reiterated the importance of taking the voices and experiences of Indigenous peoples seriously. She said, “Unless our theologians of all kinds begin to listen carefully to the theologies of indigenous peoples, we will not survive, not only as a race, but as a world, for in these stories, which are truly deep and deep theologies of the sacred, of creation, there is a relationship with the place… with others… with plants… with animals, which sees and frames the world that God has created as deeply and deeply sacred.

Dr Elizabeth Perry of the Anglican Alliance, one of the Anglican Communion delegates to COP26, said: “It was striking how history and narrative became central to the action. Panelists, from diverse places and cultures, spoke powerfully about how we see the world – the stories we tell, the theologies we inhabit – shape us in our innermost being and determine how we live in it. the world. It reflects what we have learned ourselves, as the Anglican Communion, as we intentionally strive to place Indigenous wisdom and perspectives at the heart of our engagement in the face of the environmental emergency.

The event included a number of speakers. They were:

• Teacher. Azza Karam, Secretary General, Religions for Peace

• Mr. Andreas Dahl-Jørgensen, Director of the Norwegian International Climate and Forests Initiative (NICFI)

• Dr Tom Clements, Strategic Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State and Lord Goldsmith, UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

• The Right Reverend Dr Marc Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California and Head of the Delegation for COP26

• Chief Rabbi David Rosen, International Director, Department of Interfaith Affairs, American Jewish Committee; Co-chair, Religions for Peace

• Bishop Marc MacDonald, Anglican Church of Canada, President of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for North America

• Reverend Mari Valjakka, Sami pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and moderator of the Indigenous Peoples Reference Group of the World Council of Churches (WCC)

• Mr. Joseph Itongwa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Peoples Network for the Sustainable Management of Forest Ecosystems (REPALEF)

• Bishop Francisco Duque, Anglican Church of Colombia and President of the Interfaith Council of Colombia

• Reverend Henrik Grape, Senior Advisor on Creation Protection, Sustainability and Climate Justice of the World Council of Churches

• Ms Ravinder Kuar Nijjar, President, Religions for Peace UK Women of Faith Network and Sikh representative at the Scottish Religious Leaders Forum

• Rev. Rachel Taber-Hamilton, Shackan First Nation, Episcopal Church

To view the entire event, please click on here.


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