As world leaders gathered in Copenhagen to grapple with the issue of climate change, bell-ringers at First United Methodist Church joined those sounding warning bells throughout the world to remind the leaders of the need for action.
“At 3 p.m. (local time) on Dec. 13, calculated to be about halfway though the United Nations Climate Change Conference, churches and other religious groups sounded bells, drums, gongs and other instruments 350 times to symbolize the 350 parts per million that mark what many scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” read information from First UMC, where a meditation followed the bell-ringing.
The World Council of Churches promoted the event on their website, writing, “We envision[ed] a chain of chimes and prayers stretching … from the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific, where the day first begins and where the effects of climate change are already felt today, to northern Europe and across the globe.”
Excerpts from a Dec. 7 communication from United Methodist News Service stated, “Church leaders outside the United States are just as concerned about climate change. In an Oct. 17 letter, ‘A Call for the Care of Creation,’ the All Africa Conference of Churches pointed to the famine, flooding, shrinking of rivers and lakes and depletion of tropical rain forest and declared that Africa, ‘like no other continent, bears the brunt of these negative effects of climate change.’”
This is the second major event in Evanston to be sponsored by the climate group 350.org. The first series of events took place Oct. 23-25 in observance of the International Day of Climate Action. During that weekend, which was also Northwestern University’s homecoming, Students for Ecological and Environmental Development, Environmental Campus Outreach at Hillel and Engineers for a Sustainable World Environmental at Northwestern University designed a sustainable parade float for use in NU’s homecoming parade.
At St. Athanasius Church, “Renew the Rainbow” drew participants from local churches and congregations with the theme of renewing the promise to protect the planet. A call to participate read, “Climate change is today’s version of the Flood, and, like Noah, we are called to protect God’s creation. It is through us that God is keeping his rainbow promise.”