Glasgow Churches Together (GCT) and Eco-Congregation Scotland joined forces on Sunday 17th September at St Andrew’s West church Glasgow to mark the Season of Creation (1st September – 4th October) with an ecumenical service of prayer, reflection and joint witness.
The congregation was welcomed to the church by the Minister, Rev Dr Kleber Machado, after the opening hymn, the very appropriate “How Great Thou Art” with its reminders of the great works of God seen in nature: “thy power throughout the universe displayed”.
He invited them to say together the opening prayer written by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt.Rev. Sally Foster-Fulton and based on the theme for this year’s Season – Let Justice and Peace Flow.
The scripture readings (including a setting of psalm 8 which echoed the thoughts of the opening hymn in its first verse “When I see the heavens which your hands have made”, were followed by a reflection by Rev David Coleman, the Environmental Chaplain of Eco-Congregation Scotland, who illustrated his words with a beautiful Powerpoint presentation.
He challenged the churches present to say how they could show they were churches affected by COP26. The churches have an obligation to call out those who say there is no climate change, and to proclaim the truth: theirs is a call to care for creation. They must not become unfruitful fig trees but remember that no sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing this. Referring to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ , he reminded those present that the call to environmental conversion in it required thinking, acting and praying differently. It was time for us to “be more church”!
The intercessions which followed this challenging reflection responded with prayers for action to prove our love for creation and determination to take the difficult decisions needed.
As the service drew to a close, a collection was taken up for the work of the Water Aid charity, before the congregation joined in the final hymn The Truth that sets us free” by John Bell, the words of which also challenged us to act:
“…..Make us willing to unmask convenient lies, to protest wherever power closes conscience, ears and eyes”.
The music of the service was supported by organist Jacqueline Barrett, violinist Anne Morgan and harpist Carissa Swan, together with the voices of the St Mungo Singers.