The United Church of Canada virtual COP28 delegation raises importance of connecting faith and climate

Shane Goldie speaking at church pulpit
Shane Goldie, student minister and United Church virtual delegate to COP28
Credit: Global News website
Published On: November 30, 2023

Watch the Global News video at First-ever Faith Pavilion at COP28 will bring interfaith co-operation to global stage

On November 30, The United Church of Canada youth delegation will begin its virtual participation in the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, COP28, being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, until December 12, 2023.

Their participation is already getting the attention of media and is making important connections between spirituality, faith communities, and climate change. The Global News piece highlights the importance of faith leaders speaking out and features student minister and delegate Shane Goldie, Rabbi Andrews of Congregation House of Jacob-Mikveh Israel (Calgary), and Pope Francis’ anticipated address at the inauguration of the first-ever Faith Pavilion at COP 28.

The delegation looks forward to continuing to make these important connections.

Sarah Gingles sees COP28 as “an excellent opportunity to contribute actively to global efforts in addressing climate change and to educate people within the community of faith and beyond. COP28 brings together representatives from various faith communities, so being a delegate from The United Church of Canada provides an opportunity to engage in interfaith dialogue, share perspectives, and collaborate with other religious groups on environmental and climate initiatives.”

The Rev. Chali Mfuta of the United Church of Zambia has seen first hand the impacts of climate change on her community and as a leader of her congregation has led church efforts to be more sustainable regarding energy consumption and in planting trees. She is eager to “build more connections to address climate change in my country and in the world.”

As Shane Goldie related to reporters, “This crisis is not only about changing temperatures and rising seas, but also about the need to restore spiritual connection to the planet. In contrast, the prevailing global attitude often threatens the Earth and perceives it as a resource to exploit.

“It’s about healing both our planet and our collective spirits, and finding a path forward that is environmentally sustainable and socially just and spiritually fulfilling.”

All are encouraged to follow the delegation, #UCCanCOP28  #FLCCop28, and to participate in upcoming Road to COP sessions and Candles for COP vigils in your community. You can read more about this invitation on the For the Love of Creation website. The Faith pavilion sessions will be livestreamed on the Faith at COP website. Faith communities have a significant role to play in this climate crisis.

United Church Delegation

  • Sarah Gingles, 22, Mount Royal United Church (Moncton, NB), an active environmentalist and founder of Kingston Youth Climate Action
  • The Rev. Chali Mfuta, 35, of the United Church of Zambia (Livingstone, ZM), a first-hand witness to the impacts of climate change on food security who is championing responses
  • Shane Goldie, 22, Student Minister with Chinook Winds serving Knox United (Milk River, AB) and St Paul’s United (Taber, AB), part of the Indigenous Church with roots in Métis and Cree traditions, and interested in the intersection of faith, spirituality, and climate change
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