The nations of the world will be meeting in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11 to develop agreements about how to respond to the dangers of climate change. It is expected that the meeting will result in agreements to significantly reduce the amount of global greenhouse gases.
The Synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North American agreed to a strong statement in 2012 that urged all members of the denomination to work toward individual and public solutions to the challenges posed by climate change. We adopted this position because we understand that Christians are called to work to protect and take care of God’s creation and that a changing climate is harmful to all of creation, and especially to the world’s poor.
As part of its response to this statement, the denomination has developed the Climate Witness Project—a major congregational organizing campaign--which includes steps in two parallel tracks which seek to respond to this meeting of the nations of the world. First, the denomination has named a delegation of four people who will attend the Paris meeting. They will witness during the meeting to the commitment of the Christian Reformed Church to addressing climate change in both Canada and the United States through strong public policy. They will also prepare a daily description of the progress being reached by the nations of the world. These updates will be sent to a list of over 100 CRC members representing at least 30 congregations in the U.S. and Canada.
Second, the CRC began recruiting more than one hundred members of the denomination in at least 30 congregations to do these tasks:
- Screen and discuss the video resource Climate Conversion: Kenya in their congregation.
- Receive emails daily from and participate in a video conference call with the CRC delegation in Paris regarding the progress being made by the nations of the world.
- Participate in meetings with Members of the U.S. Congress or the Canadian Parliament after COP 21 to urge support of the agreements reached in Paris.
- Ten CRC members, among those recruited, will be asked to write an op-ed for a local newspaper on the results of the Paris meeting.
- Plan for additional study and other activities in their congregations after the first phase of the Climate Witness Project is completed on January 31, 2016.
In order to implement this plan, the Office of Social Justice has hired two co-coordinators, regional organizers in ten regions in Canada and the United States and a communications firm to help place the op-eds in newspapers in the U.S. and Canada. Financial support for this project comes from the CRC and special donations - large and small.