On 26 June at 12noon, the Assembly Hall of Church House was choc-a-block with 600+ people of all faiths, eagerly awaiting to hear from faith leaders who have called for urgent action on climate change. The keynote address at the Time Is Now Interfaith Speaker Event was given by former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. He was joined by:
- Qari Asim MBE, Chair of the Mosques and Imans Advisory Board
- Vishvapani, Triratna Buddhist teacher and Radio 4 Thought for the Day contributor
- Rabbi Jonathan Wittenburg, leader of Masorti Judaism in the UK
- Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, the official Catholic aid agency for England and Wales.
- Anya Nanning Ramamurthy, Quaker school strike activist
Inside the Hoare Memorial Hall on the same floor, another 200 attendees watched a live stream of the proceedings in the Assembly Hall, which was arranged and managed by the in-house AV team of Church House Westminster.
“We are people of faith, putting our faith into action”, remarked CAFOD director, Christine, as she opened the speaker event. Following her speech, she introduced the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, who noted: “We are living in an irrational society, with all the rationality of sawing off the branch you’re sitting on…What we are working for (in a climate context) is a renewal of our rationality.
The next speaker to take the stage was Qari Asim MBE, who urged the audience: “It is the steps that we take in every day of our lives that will help us to save not only our planet but also our future generations”.
Anya Nanning Murthy representing Quakers in Britain, commented that the climate crisis is rooted in inequality and asked why should people in developing countries who have barely contributed to this warming bear the brunt? Vish Vapani remarked that: “The planet has no religion - we all breathe the same air”
This interfaith speaker event was part of #TheTimeIsNow Mass Lobby of MPs at Westminster organised by The Climate Coalition and Greener UK, designed to take urgent action on the climate and environmental "emergency". It is supported by a range of different organisations and represents a diverse range of people from across the UK.
The lobby comes on the day the House of Lords debated a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, which was then passed into law later that week.
The morning started with faith-based and interfaith workshops taking place at St Martin in the Fields, followed by a Walk of Witness at 11.30am outside the National Gallery which then proceeded along Whitehall.
After the interfaith speaker event at Church House Westminster, climate change activists and campaigners then joined the Mass Lobby of Parliament which took place in the afternoon around Parliament. It is estimated that more than 12,000 attended the mass lobby at Parliament to press politicians to set the foundations for a brighter, greener and safer world. History was made on the day as over 300 MPS were lobbied following the event. The biggest lobby the UK has seen.
At Church House we are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. Watch this short video to find out how we support event organisers to deliver more sustainable events:
It's #LDNClimateAction Week! We are committed to reducing our impact on the environment. Watch this short video to find out how we support event organisers to deliver more sustainable events. pic.twitter.com/wkksgf1Gd5— Church House Westminster (@Churchhouseconf) July 1, 2019