From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Faith Leaders Call for 11th Hour Rescue of Senate Climate Change Bill

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Wed, 04 Nov 2009 16:33:17 -0800

U.S. faith leaders call for 11th hour rescue of Senate climate change bill

Media contacts:

Lesley Crosson/Church World Service, (212) 870-2676,
Jan Dragin -- 24/7 - (781) 925-1526,


U.S. faith leaders call for 11th hour rescue of Senate climate change

WASHINGTON, D.C. - November 3, 2009 -- In a public event in Washington
this Thursday (November 5), humanitarian agency Church World Service and
leaders from the U.S. faith community will deliver a red flag message to
the Obama administration and the Senate, in the countdown to the
December Copenhagen climate change summit.

That message is calling for Senate Environment and Public Works
committee members now grappling with markups to the Clean Energy bill to
forgo differences and agree on a strong and binding climate bill. The
message to President Obama: Be in Copenhagen and have evidence of
commitment in your pocket.

Calling decisive U.S. action now "a moral and ethical imperative," the
faith based alliance also is pressing for U.S. negotiators in Copenhagen
to support a scientifically based, binding global emissions target, and
for the U.S. to commit to a fair share of adaptation funding. Church
World Service and its partners say climate change is a justice
issue-and, as such, a faith and ethical issue-- in which the world's
poorest are those who contribute least to the problem but are suffering
most from its effects.

Described as a "Climate Witness and Day for People of Conscience,"
Thursday's Washington event will feature presentations by religious
dignitaries and public officials.

Capping Thursday morning's presentations on the lawn of the United
Methodist Building, in the shadow of Capitol Hill, the climate
legislation advocates will walk to the Senate and present their Senators
with proof of public support - tens of thousands of postcards signed by
citizens across the nation who are calling for specific climate change
legislation provisions that would cap greenhouse gas emissions in the
U.S. and that commit adequate adaptation funding for poor countries
hardest hit by climate change impacts.

The postcards are the culmination of a year-long Countdown to
Copenhagen sign-on campaign spearheaded in the United States by relief
and development agency Church World Service.

Thursday's Washington event is also timed to coincide with this week's
high level climate change meeting in Barcelona, Spain, the last round of
United Nations FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change) meetings
before December's decisive Copenhagen summit.

WHAT:  		Countdown to Copenhagen

A Climate Witness and Day for People of Conscience

A ceremony of prayer and public testimony

Public and media invited

U.S. religious leaders will present the justice dimensions of climate
change in the company of members of the faith community, climate change
activists, lawmakers, and representatives of the Administration.

WHEN/WHERE:  	Thursday November 5, 2009

Starting 10:00 AM

On the Northeast Lawn, Capitol Hill

First Street N.E. and Constitution Avenue, Area 9

Washington, D.C.




The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Secretary of State

Josh DuBois, Director, Office of
Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Senator John Kerry (D-MA)

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)

Confirmed Speakers:	Rev. Roger Gench, Pastor, NY Avenue Presbyterian
Church, and  member of the Presbyterian Church USA
Mission Council

Inelda Z. Gonzalez, President, United
Methodist Women, United  Methodist Church

Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General
Secretary, National Council of Churches USA

Rev. John L. McCullough, Executive Director

and CEO, Church World Service

Harriett Jane Olson, Deputy General
Secretary, United Methodist Women

Rev. Vernon Shannon, Pastor, John Wesley

African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Washington,

Rajyashri S. Waghray, Director, Education and Advocacy,
Church  World Service


10:00 - 11:00 AM		Climate Witness Presentations

12:00 - 3:00 PM  		Senate visits and delivery of Countdown
to Copenhagen Campaign
postcards signed by their constituents

2:00 - 4:00 PM 		Reception for participants United
Methodist Building conference room

Media interview, photo and video opportunities:

* Jumbo "Countdown to Copenhagen" postcards will be presented at the
10:00 AM event, as symbols of the faith alliance's national climate
legislation postcard sign-on campaign - and as a precursor to the
group's afternoon visits to Senate offices

* Following the event's presentation on the East Capitol Hill plaza,
advocates and attendees in a long line will offer individual,
simultaneous prayers and blessings of the people in multiple languages
and fashions

* At 12:00 Noon, the group of advocates will deliver tens of
thousands of signed postcards to Senate offices

The Climate Witness and Day for People of Conscience is co-sponsored by
Church World Service and the National Council of Churches, United
Methodist Women, Center of Concern, Jubilee USA Network, Maryknoll
Office for Global Concerns, the Presbyterian Church USA, Washington D.C.
Office, Sisters of Mercy, the Unitarian Universalist Association and
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth, The United Methodist Church -
General Board of Church and Society, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America, the Episcopal Church, and United Church of Christ - Justice and
Witness Ministries.

Days before the event, faith based, advocacy and environmental
organizations are continuing to sign on to co-sponsor or participate in
the event, say its planners.

Church World Service, the National Council of Churches and United
Methodist Women are urging their constituents and all climate change
advocates nationally to join in the Thursday event at the Capitol,
either in person or "virtually," making their presence and demands known
on the Internet and social networking sites.


On the need for the U.S. and the Senate to take the bold step now,
Church World Service executive director Rev. John L. McCullough said,
"We must craft national legislation and orient the U.S. international
negotiating position in a way that puts front and center the needs and
concerns of vulnerable peoples and communities worldwide.

"We are at a critical moment in history, a moment where humankind faces
the most serious ethical imperative of our time," he said, "an
imperative to act wisely, boldly, justly and compassionately to address
climate change. There are times when you simply have to let all the
considerations drop and just, plain 'do the right thing.'" McCullough
will lead a group of representatives from mainstream U.S. denominations
as delegates to the Copenhagen summit.

"We need the world to agree to rigorous global binding emissions
targets that keep the rise in the temperature to under 2 degrees Celsius
if we are to have a reasonable chance of preventing dangerous and
irreversible consequences," National Council of Churches head Rev.
Michael Kinnamon said.

Harriett Jane Olson, Deputy General Secretary, United Methodist
Women, noted the faith based community's critical concerns for
"vulnerable developing communities who are already struggling with
shrinking water resources and decimated food production from climate
change effects. It's imperative that the U.S. commit to its fair portion
of adaptation funding for the people who need it most and who least
caused the problem," she said. "Now is the time for the U.S. to ensure
that there is enough for all."

Church World Service is an international relief, sustainable
development, human rights advocacy and refugee assistance agency at work

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. is a leading
voice for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States,
representing 35 member Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox faith groups in
the U.S., reflecting 45 million adherents nationwide.

United Methodist Women is an organization of approximately one million
members in the U.S. whose purpose is to foster spiritual growth, develop
leaders and advocate for justice.


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