Report on Toronto Diocesan Synod, November 2011
This was the first “Green Synod,” designated as such by Archbishop Colin Johnston, and was a response to the Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod 2010 Resolution on Climate Change. This Resolution A-180 encouraged “Dioceses and parishes to incorporate concerns about the care of creation” more fully into the life of our Church – in worship, in education, and “in pressing our Government of Canada to adopt a comprehensive climate action plan with firm targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions”.
As a member of the Diocesan Environment Working Group, I was invited to present a workshop on “Advocacy.” We looked together at the issue of the climate crisis and the way in which we need to take action here to respond both within our own country, as Canadians, while at the same time responding to our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion, particularly in the global South. Church leaders in Africa and south Asia have spoken strongly to our northern, industrialized societies and churches to come to their aid in pressing our governments to take clear steps to stop the buildup of greenhouse gases.
We discussed how this is a global issue, since the environment is a global resource. Increasingly, international development organizations like the Primates Fund, World Vision, and Doctors Without Borders, have begun to document in their reports the catastrophic ways in which climate change contributes to poverty and famine and floods in the developing world.
As Anglicans, the “Fifth Mark of Mission” calls us to “strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”. By advocating for more significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, by building and re-developing “greener” buildings, by offering prayers and incorporating creation themes into our worship, and by examining our own ways of living through the lens of caring for creation, we are being responsive to God’s call in a time of environmental crisis.