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Hallo again to all.

A weather map of EuropeMost of the Northern Hemisphere has been gripped in a heat wave for the past several weeks. If you live where it is summer now, you already know this, and newspapers published where it's winter now are certainly publicising the high temperatures. It's reported that in some hard-hit places there is a three-week wait to get an air conditioner repairman. And scientists are saying 'get used to it. This is global warming.' While the ultra-right continues to assert (by mobile phone from their Hummers?) that there is no such thing as global warming, and the USA continues to boycott the Kyoto Protocol, the Church of England last month bravely but sensibly launched a campaign to make the Church more ecologically responsible and to make ecology be (in the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury) 'a matter of justice, central to what it means to be a Christian'.

Press officers and preachers have been saying this for a while, and making good strides towards becoming more 'green', but somehow it wasn't until this current Northern-hemisphere heat wave that the message really hit home. After all, we spend our lives doing things that our clergy tell us we oughtn't, and somehow the world muddles by. 'Thou shalt not kill' manages to convince us, but tithing never does.

A weather map of the USAGlobally the church has less ability to change the world than it did a century ago; it has moved from the centre to the edge of ordinary society. Anglicans are squandering their time in the world spotlight blathering about sexuality, confusing cultural with theological, and generally ignoring issues that will actually matter to their grandchildren. The Islamic world and the USA are increasingly moving towards theocracy, so there's even a chance that church teaching can affect government behaviour (though, alas, nowhere but England is it our Anglican church that has an official role in government).

We know this is a lost cause, like preaching chastity or selflessness or poverty. We applaud the Church of England for its realistic goal: changing not all of society, but just changing the church itself to be a better example of environmental responsibility. We confess that we are writing this in an air-conditioned room, and we completely understand that the air conditioner is just moving heat from one place to another, heating our city slightly so that our study is comfortable. And we confess to having dark fears that our not-yet-born grandchildren (whom we assume will share our economic good fortune) will be expected to live in a thermally isolated bunker, looking out the triple-glazed windows at the unwashed, the unchilled, the freon-free, who are actually touching the earth.

In our parish we say this nearly every week:

'Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others, and to your honour and glory.'

We're going to try our best to remember +Cantuar's words that ecology is a matter of justice, central to what it means to be a Christian. Find out what you can do to help the Church of England (or your own church) achieve a smaller footprint.

Whew, it's hot. See you next week.

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Last updated: 30 July 2006

(Click for the 1 August update on Cynthia's cancer.)

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