[Anglican Communion News Service] Anglicans from around the world are gathering in Fiji this week for an international consultation on climate justice. The event, organized by the Anglican mission agency United Society, is designed to help Anglican leaders “grapple more vigorously” with the challenges of climate change.
“Together, you will be exploring and struggling with difficult themes which create many challenges for the Anglican Communion and the world,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said in a message to the consultation’s participants. “We need to face them together and find a way forward. Then we will be able to fulfill our purpose. It is my prayer that this consultation will play a hugely significant role in defining a strategy going forward with climate justice.”
The seven-day consultation, “Encountering God in the Storm,” is being held in Fiji at the invitation of the Archbishop Winston Halapua, bishop of Polynesia and one of the primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia.
Some 676 of Fiji’s villages are at risk of flooding because of rising sea levels. And several communities have already been forced to relocate. “The impact is not just economic – with ocean acidification killing fish stocks and salt water ruining farmland – but cultural because ancestral lands are being destroyed,” the United Society said in a statement.
“The growing intensity and frequency of storms and flooding is predicted to result in increases in drought, affecting land, food and water security. This year alone the nation has contended with Cyclone Winston and numerous earthquakes.
“According to National Climate Justice: ‘Fijians are among the most vulnerable to climate change.’”
The United Society’s global relations director, Rachel Parry, added: “One of the aims of the consultation is to encourage Anglican leaders worldwide to grapple more vigorously with climate justice, helping to raise the issue on political agendas and inspiring the church to help communities in devising local responses.
“The consultation is also an opportunity for [the United Society] to listen to the wider concerns of our global partners, including an exploration of how we can work together as an Anglican family in our efforts to achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.”