Wholesome Ecology | Local Churches driving Climate action
The Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) continues to empower the local church as a key agent in combating climate change within communities. With a platform for engaging community members throughout the week, the local church strategically incorporates messages of environmental stewardship into sermons and ministry activities. In a Climate Change Champions training on Eco-Theology held at the St. Jualin’s Centre in Kiambu County on the 17th of October, targeting selected clergy from the ACK Dioceses of Makueni, Nyahururu, and Mumias, participants exchanged ideas on how to empower local churches for effective community engagement in conservation. The clergy will further train other champions in their Dioceses on Eco-Theology in a Project supported by the Dan Church AID (DCA).
Fredrick Odinga, the ADS Kenya National Environmental Coordinator, led a session on opportunities for church-based action, exploring how the church can contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals by addressing climate change as a cross-cutting issue. He emphasized that the church can work with communities to understand and develop solutions for climate-related challenges, highlighting the importance of grassroots efforts in climate action.
The Church is also actively promoting tree planting activities to increase the country’s tree cover, aligning with the government’s ambitious Forestry and Land Restoration Acceleration program known as “Jaza Miti,” which aims to plant at least 15 billion trees. Through the Green Anglicans Movement, the Church aims to plant at least 15 million trees by 2026, having already planted 2 million since the movement’s launch in 2018 during the Provincial synod. Innovative approaches include tree planting during significant events in Christians’ lives, such as Baptisms, Weddings, Confirmations, and Burials.
In the creation story, God provided everything necessary for the survival of humanity and other living organisms. Responsible use of God’s creations is vital to maintaining the ecological balance. Wilberforce Wangalwa, the ACK Provincial Education Director, led a session on the responsible use of natural resources, emphasizing that those with dominion over creation must also be caring stewards, ensuring the well-being of all. He stressed that man’s dominion over nature should glorify God’s glory, power, wisdom, and love, and that environmental conservation is an act of love for current and future generations.
Eco-theology provides insights beyond the scientific and economic aspects of environmental problems, focusing on ethical and spiritual considerations in the relationship between humanity and nature.
Rev. Dennis Nthenge, a member of the GAM National Steering Committee, presented on eco-theology, exploring the intersection between theology and the natural environment (ecology). He shared that:
The church is not just a pulpit but a mobilization center that brings people together to have conversations about God and His plan for the world. Eco-theology provides insights beyond the scientific and economic aspects of environmental problems, focusing on ethical and spiritual considerations in the relationship between humanity and nature. This approach fosters a deeper understanding of God’s nature as expressed in creation and promotes a holistic understanding of ecosystems and the interconnected well-being of all creatures.