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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! In this Easter Week, let us celebrate God’s redemptive love and Jesus’ triumph over death itself. Alleluia, Alleluia! The good news of Jesus’ resurrection has been especially meaningful to me and my family this week, as we grieve the loss of my beloved father. I am so grateful for the many expressions of sympathy and support; I have been sustained by your care and prayers. Thank you.

Today, as I write this, we are all experiencing some unexpected summer temperatures. It is wonderful to walk outside without a jacket and to feel that winter is behind us for another year. It reminds me, however, of another concerning reality.

Just a few weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report, and its message is sobering. Our world is already 1.1 degree Celsius warmer due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Climate change is having dangerous impacts on human and non-human creatures around the globe, undermining our health, our food security, our water supply and the natural ecosystems of which we are a part. People in countries with the lowest rates of greenhouse gas emissions are bearing the heaviest impacts of global warming. If we follow the current trajectory, we cannot expect to limit global warming to 1.5 or even 2 degrees Celsius. Every increase adds to the risk of escalated and irreversible impacts. The report is clear: immediate and significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are urgently needed if we are to have a sustainable future.

Reading a report like this can lead us to despair, feeling hopeless. But we who follow the Risen Christ are not called to be people of doom. We are called to be people of hope. We do not sit on our hands while waiting for deliverance; our hope is active, as we faithfully continue the work we have been called to do. Ours is a hope that gets its hands in the dirt, planting seeds for future generations.

Earth Day is April 22. For many years, parishes in our Diocese have set aside the Sunday nearest Earth Day to celebrate God’s creation and our call to care for it. Over the coming week, I invite you to explore ways in which you can make creation care part of your spiritual practice:

  • Join your prayers with those of creation. Scripture tells us that creation groans and also praises the Lord. How might the prayers of the non-human creation be put into words? Consider incorporating these prayers from the earth, the water, the animals and people into your Earth Sunday service.
  • Learn about how climate change is impacting God’s creation, human and non-human. Talk about these issues in your parish and communities. Talking can move us from a looming sense of dread to considering hopeful, practical actions we can take together.
  • Take action. Advocate for climate justice by signing this open letter to our federal environment minister.

More ideas can be found on our Creation Care page.

The actions we take may seem insignificant in the face of the global challenge before us. But we serve a God who uses the faithful acts of faithful people to accomplish great things. Together, let us continue to find ways to pray and act and inspire each other to safeguard the integrity of creation; and to respect, sustain and renew the life of the Earth.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto