Prayer Walk in Europe

EU-CORD hosted a Prayer Walk for Climate Justice in Brussels as part of the global campaign #RenewOurWorld.

This story is from EU-Cord, a network of European Christian Relief and Development NGOs. We are made up of member organisations – 22 NGOs that work alongside over 1,000 implementing partners worldwide.

As a Christian network, we believe that prayer plays an important part on the way towards a more sustainable and just world.

We prayed for those heavily affected by climate change and started symbolically at the Embassy of the Fiji Islands who are also leading this year’s international climate negotiations. We also prayed at places representing different institutions and Member States of the European Union.

If we want to see the Paris Agreement implemented and temperature rise kept below 1.5 degrees, we need more courage to change our policies and lifestyles in Europe.

Please join us on that journey.

Renew Our World unites a global movement of Christians calling for a more just and sustainable planet for all. In our prayers, and through our actions, together we are shaping a world that reflects God’s love so that all people in every nation can enjoy the fullness of life. Right now, we are tackling the critical issue of climate change and its impacts on the poorest people who are hit first and hardest.

Here are some excerpts from our Prayer Walk:

1. Embassy of the Fiji Islands // Climate Change and PovertY

Climate change increases the likeliness of heavy floods and droughts, and it decreases the reliability of farming seasons. Poor communities around the world are the most vulnerable and suffer most from these changes, as they have an impact on their food security, access to drinking water, health, infrastructure, economy and their living spaces.

The Fiji Islands are a country in a region that is heavily affected by climate change. Due to increasing temperatures, the sea level is rising, has already permanently flooded formerly inhabited islands and is expected to wipe out more islands in the future. The region is also increasingly hit by severe tropical storms.

Fiji was the first country to ratify the so-called Paris Agreement of 2015, in which world leaders committed to do everything possible to keep temperature rise below 1.5 degrees, a critical line regarding the consequences of climate change for humanity and the planet. Fiji will also preside this year’s international climate negotiations.

Let’s pray:

• By thanking God for His beautiful creation and by admitting that we have failed to take care of it

• For those people affected and threatened by climate change

• For the government of the Fiji Islands, as they have ambitious climate action plans in their country and they lead the upcoming climate negotiations in difficult times

Let’s walk:

While walking, let’s reflect on the verse “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell. For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2).

Prayer at the Embassy of the Fiji Islands. Credit: Tahni Candelaria

2. Permanent Representation of Malta // Climate Change and Power

Malta is currently holding the Presidency of the European Council.

Let’s pray

• For the representatives of Malta during the time of the EU Presidency

• For others in power in the Member States of the European Union

• For decision-makers to stick to values and especially to their commitment sustainability; for innovative ideas that reconcile values and interests that enable them to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement

Prayer at the Permanent Representation of Malta. Credit: Tahni Candelaria

3 European Commission/Berlaymont Building // Having Faith in Change

Significant financial resources are needed to help developing countries deal with climate change. The European Union is the largest contributor of climate finance to developing countries, which they need to compensate the losses and damages, to adapt to the changing climate and to take a sustainable development path. Although the EU is already doing a lot in that regard, the EU itself has actually estimated that it needs to do more in order to keep its promises.

At the same time, it is very encouraging to see how many people of faith have started to get involved in climate action throughout the last years. People have prayed, done pilgrimages and fasted for the climate; faith leaders have spoken out. In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis has said:

“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains – everything is, as it were, a caress of God. (…) Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years. (…) Truly, much can be done!”

These words have made it into political fora as the UN and the EU Parliament. Voices of Christians, of people of faith, are increasingly important.

Let’s pray:

• For the European Union to be a good partner to heavily affected developing countries; to be truly committed to climate action without compromising other commitments to development and human rights

• For Christians to show God’s love for this world, to share that they care for His creation and His people, and that they have an everlasting hope that can also change things here and now

Let’s walk:

While walking, let’s reflect on the verse “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2).

Let’s discuss in pairs what that could mean with regards to climate change. Where do we feel challenged in our lifestyles? What are practical steps we would like to take?

Prayer in front of the European Commission main building. Credit: Tahni Candelaria

4. European Parliament/Espace Léopold // Citizens and the Political Climate

The European Parliament is seen as the European institution to represent the citizens, the people of Europe. We can change things together, and we have to. As citizens we can contribute a lot. We love our global neighbours by shaping our lifestyles and by our daily decisions when we do our shopping or choose our means of transport.

Living more simply and more sustainably is challenging sometimes, but it can be fun if we think of ways to do this together and to support each other.

Let’s pray:

• For unity in Europe – between citizens and decision-makers, between the different Member States, within our European societies

• For us as citizens and consumers who can contribute to a more sustainable world by our daily actions and lifestyles

Prayer in front of the European Parliament. Credit: Tahni Candelaria
Prayer in front of the European Parliament. Credit: Tahni Candelaria

EU-CORD, Brussels-based Christian relief and development network, has joined Renew Our World together with its member organisation Tearfund.

EU-CORD is committed to advocate for and live out social, economic and environment justice. Climate action is not only an environmental issue, it also has a positive impact on the lives of the people EU-CORD members serve and empower through their relief, development and advocacy work.

More on EU-CORD’s campaign for #RenewOurWorld can be found at http://bit.ly/2ngHbw3 and on Facebook.

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