8th December 2021


Recently, twelve Anglican bishops, including the Bishop of Bristol, wrote to the Home Secretary protesting that proposed legislation, forcing migrants back into French waters, was in danger of criminalising the Good Samaritan, and making the priest and the Levite, who passed by on the other side, the heroes in the gospel story. In their action I think we see the church lifting up the voice of Christ in an increasingly self-absorbed society. Or again is it not properly seen in the protest of Christian Aid and other charities against this nation reneging on its earlier commitments to Overseas Aid? Or, to take a third example, were not the voices of church leaders speaking at the Glasgow Conference on Climate Control in support of small island states, already facing possible extinction from rising sea levels, also bang on target?

Whilst care of the created order has only recently grabbed the headlines of our national press, it has been on the church’s agenda for more than half a century. One of the outstanding features of  the World Council of Churches’ Nairobi Assembly in 1975 was an address by the Australian biologist, Charles Birch, who challenged those there assembled with his analysis of the increasing environmental vulnerability of the natural order. Such distress was already a focus of the Council’s programme seeking to establish a ‘Just, Participatory and Sustainable Society [JPSS]’, a concern pressed further at the Vancouver Assembly of the Council, when member churches were called upon to covenant to work together to secure within the international order ‘Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation [JPIC]’.

There is an urgency about the way in which Creation Ethics need to impact the way that we live our lives today.

John Briggs