Disciples News Service

Blessed Tomorrow organizing climate challenge around papal visit

Pope Francis has done much to bring the issues of climate change to the fore in the media, particularly with his encyclical on the subject. Blessed Tomorrow, a coalition of faith communities and leaders concerned with climate change, is putting together several events in the coming weeks around the pope’s visit to the U.S. Congress. Green Chalice of Disciples Home Missions is part of the coalition.

General Minister and President Sharon Watkins said, “With integrity in action and word, Pope Francis leads beyond the boundaries of his own faith tradition. His call to care both for our human family and for the earth that is our family home inspire us to hope. We can begin to imagine a world flourishing in abundance and peace.”

Climate change is profoundly impacting God’s creation and people, with the poorest and most vulnerable bearing the greatest consequences. The impacts of increasing droughts, floods, wildfires, extreme weather and rising sea levels can be measured in lost lives, higher food prices, poorer health and billions of dollars in disaster relief. Our faith demands that we act now.

Pope Francis will come to the United States September 22-27, 2015, visiting Washington
D.C., New York and Philadelphia. In Washington D.C., on September 23rd, the Pope will meet with President Obama, visit with US Bishops (St. Matthews), and hold a Canonization Mass (Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception). On Thursday, September 24, Pope Francis will give an historic address to a joint session of Congress and visit St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington.

On Thursday and Friday, September 24 and 25, Blessed Tomorrow, Convergence, the National Cathedral and other partners will host Coming Together in Faith on Climate, bringing together Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other national religious leaders in Washington D.C. at the National Cathedral to express inter-denominational support for the Pope’s call to action on climate change and creation care.

Coming Together will help catalyze the moment provided by the Pope’s encyclical and U.S. visit to accelerate leadership and collective action for climate solutions by faith leaders and communities with a public celebration and leader gathering at the National Cathedral and the announcement of supporting initiatives. Specific goals include:

1. Support and amplify Pope Francis’ calling across and among faith communities across America
2. Expand religious leadership for climate solutions by providing a platform to demonstrate collective support and collective action;
3. Determine and provide resources and clear next steps to build engagement in climate solutions within faith communities;
4. Increase awareness of the work of various denominational bodies and interfaith organizations dedicated to environmental responsibility;
5. Call attention to faith communities’ support for climate solutions by maximizing mainstream, denominational, and social media coverage.

On Thursday September 24, the evening of Pope Francis’ historic speech to Congress, we will gather 1,000 faith leaders at the National Cathedral for 90 minutes of prayer, inspiring messages from key faith leaders, songs and poetry to inspire and motivate faith and climate leaders in their important work. On the following day we will gather 100+ faith leaders at the National Cathedral to watch the Pope address the United Nations in New York City, and share experiences and ideas on building support for climate solutions through faith in our congregations, our communities and our nation.