CONFERENCE: Leaders of multiple faiths sign common declaration ahead of COP26

Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious dialogue; Bishop Mark Strange of the Scottish Episcopal Church and Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Top: Pope Francis will attend the Cop26 Conference in Glasgow.

By Bill Heaney and Peter Kearney

A declaration signed by leaders of all the UK’s major faiths has been released ahead of the COP26 Conference in Glasgow. The document has been signed on behalf of the Scottish Catholic Bishops, by Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and President of the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious dialogue, and Sister Isabel Smyth of the Sisters of Notre Dame & Secretary to the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Inter-religious Dialogue:

Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration for COP26

Our faith communities are united in caring for human life and the natural world. We share a belief in a hopeful future, as well as an obligation to be responsible in caring for our common home, the Earth.
We recognise the opportunities that COP26 brings in addressing the urgent need for action in limiting the effects of climate change and the critical importance of decisions made in this conference to take forward the agreement made in Paris in 2015.
People have exploited the planet, causing climate change. We recognise that the burden of loss and damage falls most heavily on people living in poverty, especially women and children.
We acknowledge the commitments made through the Lambeth Declaration in 2015. Now, because of the gravity of our situation, the impact of climate change around the world, and the inequality of its effects we seek to strengthen those commitments.
We commit to respond to this challenge by:
Reflecting deeply in prayer, meditation and worship to discern how to care for the earth and
each other, and to encourage our respective communities to do the same.
Making transformational change in our own lives and in the lives of our communities
through individual and collective action.
Being advocates for justice by calling on governments, businesses and others who exercise
power and influence to put into effect the Paris agreement; to make the transition to a just and green economy a priority; and to commit to science-based targets that are aligned with a healthy, resilient, zero-emissions future.
We remind governments of their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and of Article 17 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to protect the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity. We call upon them to take the urgent action needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.
We look to governments to work together and with others to create a positive vision for 2050 where addressing climate change is not just an opportunity to stop burning fossil fuels, but also: to achieve cleaner air and water; to reduce food wastage; to ensure a just and equitable sharing of the earth’s resources; and to protect the habitats we share with all other life on whose health we also depend.
Across our doctrinal and political differences, we know that we must change our ways to ensure a quality of life which all can share, and we need to provide hope for people of all ages, everywhere, including future generations. To offer hope in the world we need to have confidence that those in power understand the vital role they have to play at the Glasgow COP26.

Dr Maureen Sier, Director of Interfaith Scotland, said: “Across our doctrinal and political differences, we know that we must change our ways to ensure a quality of life which all can share, and we need to provide hope for people of all ages, everywhere, including future generations.  To offer hope in the world we need to have confidence that those in power understand the vital role they have to play at the Glasgow COP26.

Lord Jim Wallace of Tankerness, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “Our faith communities are united in caring for human life and the natural world. We share a belief in a hopeful future, as well as an obligation to be responsible in caring for our common home, the Earth.

“We recognise the opportunities that COP26 brings in addressing the urgent need for action in limiting the effects of climate change and the critical importance of decisions made in this conference to take forward the agreement made in Paris in 2015.

“Our collective energy and prayers will be with those working for a successful outcome.”

Rabbi Moshe Rubin, Senior Rabbi of Scotland, said:  “We remind governments of their commitments made in Paris in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and of Article 17 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights to protect the environment, the biosphere and biodiversity. We call upon them to take the urgent action needed to avert the loss, damage, and forced migration threatened by climate change.

“We look to governments to work together and with others to create a positive vision for 2050 where addressing climate change is not just an opportunity to stop burning fossil fuels, but also: to achieve cleaner air and water; to reduce food wastage; to ensure a just and equitable sharing of the earth’s resources; and to protect the habitats we share with all other life on whose health we also depend.”

Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Advisor for Sikhs in Scotland, said:  “People have exploited the planet, causing climate change. We recognise that the burden of loss and damage falls most heavily on people living in poverty, especially women and children.

“We acknowledge the commitments made through the Lambeth Declaration in 2015. Now, because of the gravity of our situation, the impact of climate change around the world, and the inequality of its effects we seek to strengthen those commitments.”

Imam Sayed Razawi, Chief Imam and Director General of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society, said: “We commit to respond to this challenge by: Reflecting deeply in prayer, meditation and worship to discern how to care for the earth and each other, and to encourage our respective communities to do the same. Making transformational change in our own lives and in the lives of our communities through individual and collective action. Being advocates for justice by calling on governments, businesses and others who exercise power and influence to put into effect the Paris agreement; to make the transition to a just and green economy a priority; and to commit to science-based targets that are aligned with a healthy, resilient, zero-emissions future.”

Glasgow Multifaith Declaration 20/09/2021

Our collective energy and prayers will be with those working for a successful outcome. Signed by:
UK Senior Faith Leaders
Archbishop Angaelos, Archbishop of London, The Coptic Orthodox Church
The Rt Revd John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, and lead Bishop for the Environment, Catholic Church in England and Wales
Imam Qari Muhammad Asim, Chair, Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board
Malcolm M Deboo, President, Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (Inc)
Revd Clare Downing and Mr Peter Pay, Moderators of General Assembly, United Reformed Church
Rabbi Joseph Dweck,
Rev Sonia Hicks, President of the Methodist Church and Barbara Easton, Vice-President of the Methodist Church
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Former Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism
Rt Rev Andy John, Bishop of Bangor and Senior Bishop in the Church in Wales
Rabbi David Mason, representing Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis
Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra (Imam), Christian – Muslim Forum
Scottish Religious Leaders & Representatives
The Rt Hon Lord Jim Wallace of Tankerness, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Elizabeth Allen, Clerk, General Meeting for Scotland, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
Imam Sohail Ashfaque, Blackhall Mosque
Lt-Col Carol Bailey, Secretary for Scotland, Salvation Army
Revd David Coleman, Minister of the United Reformed Church and Chaplain to Eco- Congregation Scotland
Allan Forsyth and Isadora Quay, on behalf of the Baha’i Community of Scotland
Rev Bonnie Evans Hills, convener Scottish Episcopal Church Interfaith Relations Committee
Madhu Jain, Hindu Mandir Scotland
Revd Dr Martin Johnstone, Glasgow Churches Together COP26 Ambassador
Ani Lhamo, Kagyu Samye Ling Buddhist Centre
Bishop Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Interreligious dialogue
Rev Dr David Miller, Moderator, United Free Church of Scotland
Acharya Ji Mishra, Priest of Hindu Mandir Scotland
Ravinder Kaur Nijjar, Advisor Sikhs in Scotland
Sephardi Community, UK Senior Rabbi, S&P
Revd. Lynn Green, General Secretary, The Baptist Union of Great Britain
Mr. Patrick O’Mara, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom
Mrs Trupti Patel, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain
Juliet Prager, Deputy Recording Clerk, Quakers in Britain
Imam Sayed Razawi, Chief Imam, Director General of the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
Rabbi Danny Rich, former Senior Rabbi and Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism in the United Kingdom
Dr Natubhai Shah, Senior leader, Jain Community UK
The Rt. Hon Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon, Director Network of Sikh Organisations (UK)
Jasvir Singh OBE, Chair of City Sikhs
Bhai Sahib Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia OBE KSG, Chairman, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha
Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich and lead Bishop on the Environment, Church of England
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism UK
Imam Hassan Rabbani, Imam of Zia-Ul-Quran Mosque, Chair of Scottish Muslim Forum
Lama Yeshe Choje Losal Rinpoche
Abbot of Kagyu Samye Ling Buddhist Centre
Rabbi David Rose Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation
Rabbi Moshe Rubin, Giffnock and Newlands Hebrew Congregation, Senior Rabbi of Scotland
Shaykh Sohaib Saeed, Al-Furqan Mosque
The Revd Mark Slaney Chair Methodist Church Scotland
Sr. Isabel Smyth Sisters of Notre Dame & Secretary to the Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Inter-religious Dialogue
Most Rev Mark Strange,  Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church
Linsay Taylor, Muslim Council of Scotland and Chair of Interfaith Scotland
Dr Srihari Vallabhajousula, Honorary Priest, Hindu Temple of Scotland, Rutherglen, Glasgow
Ameed Versace, Climate Officer, Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society
Revd Paul Whittle, Moderator of The United Reformed Church National Synod of Scotland
Rev. George Whyte, Principal Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The Venerable Bogoda Seelawimala, Head Priest of the London Buddhist Vihara

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