December 7-10, 2010
Episcopal-Anglican Climate Justice Gathering
Bishop Kellogg Conference Center, San Pedro de Macorís
*** STATEMENT AND COMMITMENTS***
We are a group of Anglican Episcopals from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States who feel the urgency of addressing climate justice at this time in the world we serve. Participants are from the Episcopal/Anglican Dioceses of California, Central Ecuador, Colombia, Connecticut, Cuba, Cuernavaca, Curitiba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Haiti, New Hampshire, New York, Olympia, and Panama; the Anglican Province of Brazil; the Anglican Province of Central America; The Episcopal Church (TEC); the Berkeley Divinity School; the Yale Divinity School (YDS); the Theological Center of the Dominican Republic (CET); the Commission for Theological Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (CETALC); the International Center for Anglican Theological Studies (CIAET); and the Latin American Council of Churches (CLAI).
We met in the Dominican Republic at the Bishop Kellogg Retreat Center in San Pedro de Macorís from December 7 – 10, 2010, in parallel with the UN Framework Convention Climate Change COP 16 in Cancun.
In the context of companionship, with worship, prayer and Bible reflection the issues related to climate change were addressed from our varied contexts. We heard powerful witnesses to climate injustice and creative responses by dioceses, communities, and individuals. Within our group we had people who have been advocates for climate justice for many decades, academics who have devoted years of study and effort to the issues, Church leaders, bishops, priests, and lay, who see the destruction visited on their communities, and young people, some who are seminarians who seek to pattern their lives in ways that reflect climate justice as a core value.
Climate change affects the whole planet. Every system of human culture: economics, politics, education – all are inextricably related to climate change. Representatives of our various dioceses described rising water levels displacing entire island populations, deforestation on a vast scale, the decimation of indigenous peoples, and degradation of rivers through toxic pesticide runoff and human waste. We named the truths about the causes of these devastations: we have lost a sense of connection with the world, and have become dominators rather than “good gardeners;” over-developed countries have given themselves over to the sin of consumerism. This sin, as sin always does, has clouded and distorted all our relationships: between people, with the Earth, and with our creator God.
In some places we recognize that the scale and depth of destruction can no longer be reversed. Such irreversibility awaits the whole planet, in a timeframe much shorter than we imagined even a few years ago. We are consuming at such a frantic rate that we are stealing from the future generations of the Earth. It is essential, urgent that we act now.
Among us are representatives of the Diocese of Haiti. They raised their voices in dramatic witness to the most acute abuses of Earth and human dignity. Our Haitian brothers spoke with a prophetic voice, denouncing a history and a present at variance with the teaching of God. Haitians, deeply vulnerable already because of long-standing abuses of the Earth and human dignity, now also live the results of chaotic climate change.
Although each instance of climate injustice we heard of during our meeting is terrible in itself, and together they present a nearly overwhelming reality, we as Christians are people of hope. Our hope is in God, “whose memory is eternal,” who does not forget the covenants made with the Earth, and our hope is in our capacity to love, planted in our very being, the Image of God among us. Further, we have hope in a God who not only goes beyond the Earth, even the universe, but is also intimately with us and all the creation. As a result, we are deeply interconnected. This hope, we recognize, places a great responsibility on us.
As Anglican Episcopals we have received the hope that springs from the love of God through the Baptismal Covenant. This Covenant has shaped our lives to recognize Christ in every person, and to work untiringly for justice and peace in creation. We are strengthened by our life in the Church to take risks in the world in the cause of justice. Just as we act as prophets to denounce injustice, we act as reconcilers and announce the possibility of hope and love. “So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
We met in the season of Advent, when we watch for the coming of Christ. We feel the tension of the nearness of God, and the not-yet nature of a broken world. We trust that by the grace of God and our efforts inspired by the Sprit of God, the following prophecy will come true: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. Nothing accursed will be found there any more… The one who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:1-3a, 20)
In this gathering we have expressed our Advent hope through five concrete commitments to each other, to the Church, to the Earth and its peoples, and to God:
- to develop a mechanism (ie. a carbon tithe or energy fund) to promote actual reductions of carbon emissions by affluent populations and to offer assistance in ways identified by vulnerable communities
- to incorporate the issue of climate justice, and related themes, in educational programs, at all age levels and venues, within and outside the Church
- to support ongoing global initiatives and campaigns aimed at: the actual reduction of climate emissions by overdeveloped nations, advocacy and support for forest-dwelling and indigenous peoples, and food sovereignty
- to recruit and empower a core of missionaries from the global south to come to the United States, in a ministry of accompaniment and consciousness-raising about the effects of climate change
- to maintain our relationships with one another through an active network for climate justice in the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church
These commitments are both in process and part of the process, and we realize that they will only reach their full expression as our group, and others who join us, work and walk together. We leave with a deep sense of gratitude for this time together and with the fervent desire and dedication to follow this path which God is making before us.
the Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, USA;
the Rt. Rev. Grisleda Delgado Del Carpio, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba;
the Rt. Rev. Naudal Gomes, Bishop of the Anglican-Episcopal Diocese of Curitiba, Brazil;
the Rt. Rev. Armando Guerra, Bishop of the Episcopal Churh of Guatemala, Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Church of the Region of Central America, President of CETALC;
the Rt. Rev. Julio C. Holguin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic;
the Rt. Rev. Julio Murray, Bishop of the Episcopal Church of Panama, President of CLAI;
the Rt. Rev. Luis Fernando Ruiz, Bishop of Episcopal Diocese of Central Ecuador;
Mr. José Abreu, Theological Center of the Dominican Republic;
the Rev. Soner Alexandre, Episcopal Diocese of Haiti;
Dr. Sheila Andrus, Episcopal Diocese of California;
Mr. David Barr, the Yale Divinity School;
Mr. Pedro Ivo Batista, Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil;
Mr. Steve Blackmer, Diocese of New Hampshire, Yale Divinity School;
the Very Rev. Canon Ashton Brooks, Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Epiphany, Santo Domingo;
Mr. Scott Claassen, Yale Divinity School;
Mr. Leonel Polanco de la Cruz, Theological Center of the Dominican Republic;
the Rev. Luiz Carlos Gabas, Anglican-Episcopal Diocese of Curitiba;
Mr. Luis García, Theological Center of the Dominican Republic;
Mrs. Barbara Gomez, Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic;
Mr. Lorenzo Gómez, Theological Center of the Dominican Republic;
the Rev. P. Joshua “Griff” Griffin, Environmental Justice Missioner for the Episcopal Diocese of California;
Ms. Freddie Helmiere, Seattle, Washington;
Dr. Willis Jenkins, Margaret A. Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics at Yale Divinity School, Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut;
the Rev. Stephanie Johnson, Episcopal Diocese of New York, Yale Divinity School;
Ms. Pauline Kulstad, Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic;
Mr. Ken Lathrop, Diocese of Cuernavaca, Anglican Church of Mexico;
the Rev. Alvaro Yepes López, Bishop Kellogg Conference Center, San Pedro de Macorís;
the Rev. Glenda McQueen, The Episcopal Church Global Partnership Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean;
the Rev. Chris Morck, Episcopal Diocese of Central Ecuador, CLAI Environmental Program Coordinator;
the Rev. Canon Ricardo Potter, Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic;
Ms. Angela Maria Pulido, Bishop Kellogg Conference Center, San Pedro de Macorís;
Mrs. Carmen Regina Duarte Gomes, Episcopal-Anglican Diocese of Curitiba;
Mrs. Melissa Ridlon, Episcopal Diocese of California;
The Rev. Diego Fernando Sabogal, Episcopal Diocese of Columbia;
Mr. Vanel Saint Juste, Theological Center of the Dominican Republic;
Ms. Katie Salisbury, Yale Divinity School;
Mr. Mike Schut, The Episcopal Church Officer for Environmental/Economic Affairs, Episcopal Diocese of Olympia;
Mr. Michael Tedrick, Episcopal Diocese of California Missioner serving in the Episcopal-Anglican Diocese of Curitiba;
the Rev. P. Angel R. Vallenilla, Episcopal Diocese of the Dominican Republic;
Mr. Wagner Vergara, Episcopal-Anglican Diocese of Curitiba;