Climate vigil – ‘What legacy are we leaving them?

Monday September 18th 2023

The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev Stephen Forde, and Bishop Alan Abernethy on the steps of Belfast Cathedral during the climate change vigil on September 16.

A prayer vigil was held at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on Saturday September 16, as people came together to reflect on the impact of climate change.

The vigil was organised by the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, former Bishop of Connor, and his wife Liz, who are concerned about how climate change will impact their grandchildren.

The vigil ran from 10am until 12 noon, with silent prayer on the Cathedral steps and a prayer space with visuals in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit inside.

As he stood on the steps, flanked by posters urging people to think about the legacy of climate change and to act to stop the fossil fuel economy, Bishop Alan said: “My concern is that this is the most important issue of our time. I genuinely feel that we as churches seem to be silent on it, or at least not as passionate as I believe we should be.

“For us, it has become really important as we have three grandsons – what legacy are we leaving them?”

Liz, who designed a series of graphics for the indoor prayer space, said: “As Christians, we are distressed that the most vulnerable are going to suffer the most, with hunger, drought, floods and home loss being realities for them.”

The two-hour vigil, she said, was an opportunity to ‘stand in silence and prayer, recognising the climate crisis; recognising and seeking forgiveness for our complicity in it; praying for those who have lost their homes, food and water because of climate change; and praying for those with the levers of power that they will act for the good of all the earth and its people.’

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