Earlier last year, staff of the General Board of Church and Society were part of a core team drafting a commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 that was signed by 11 agencies of The United Methodist Church.
Now, several GBCS staff — the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary; John Hill, deputy general secretary, who also serves as director of economic and environmental justice, and Laura Kigweba James, program coordinator for grassroots organizing — are part of the agency’s delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
Your support of the World Service Fund apportionment supports program-related general agencies, which are especially important to the common vision, mission, and ministry of The United Methodist Church.
The General Board of Church and Society is able to send delegates to climate changes conferences, including COP26, because it has observer status from the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Rev.Liberato (Levi) Bautista, assistant general secretary for United Nations Ministry and a participant in previous climate conferences, said that GBCS delegates would sound a message of urgency.
The report on climate change issued by the United Nations this year was considered “to be Code Red,” he pointed out. “I would hope that the governments make decisions in Glasgow as if it really is Code Red.”
To Bautista, a Code Red governance strategy means not delaying action.
“The challenge for the U.N. and the governments is to not push their targets all the way to 2030, 2050 or 2070, but to consider the targets as if they are achievable in their own lifetimes,” he said.
In the same way, The United Methodist Church has no excuse not to pursue urgent action to address the global climate crisis. “We should be able to mobilize every level within the UMC,” he said.
The faith groups present in Scotland also will advocate for the international community to take the justice implications on the effects of human activities on climate into consideration.
One way that GBCS is addressing the justice implications of climate change is providing support to Climate Justice for All, a youth-led program of the World Methodist Council.
Those involved in the program believe the worldwide Methodist family can make a difference on climate change issues.
A part of that global family is in the Pacific island. The Rev. James Bhagwan, a Methodist minister in Fiji who serves as general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, is in Glasgow to make his voice be heard.
“COP26 is important because if this doesn’t work, then we’re in serious danger. It’s already obvious that many of the targets set during the Paris agreement in 2015 have not been met,” Bhagwan said during a stop at the World Council of Churches offices in Geneva.
Members of the Pacific region churches find themselves “on the frontline of climate change,” he said, which affects both the ocean itself and the increasing number of extreme weather events.
excerpt from a story by Linda Bloom, interim communications director, General Board of Church and Society.
The World Service Fund provides basic financial support to program-related general agencies, which are especially important to the common vision, mission, and ministry of The United Methodist Church. Through World Service funding, agencies support annual conferences and local congregations in living out God’s mission for the worldwide Church. General agencies also provide essential services and ministries beyond the scope of individual local congregations and annual conferences through services and ministries that are highly focused, flexible, and capable of rapid response.