Meet the United Church delegation heading to UN Climate Negotiations (COP25) in Madrid.
“COP 25 is an important moment to affirm Canada’s commitment to our climate goals and to ensure that we address our collective impact on the world in real and tangible ways.” Tony Snow
Tony Snow and the Rev. Wendy Evans, supported by United Church General Council Office staff person Christie Neufeldt, will be representing The United Church of Canada at United Nations Climate Negotiations (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, December 2‒13. This will be the last conference held before the Paris Agreement comes into force. Day by day, citizens around the world are asking governments to take real climate action to protect the things they love and create a better future for everyone. Canada has the opportunity to use COP25 to unveil its new climate commitments to the global community that align with the latest science.
The delegates will represent the United Church’s belief that the global climate emergency is a moral and spiritual issue requiring urgent and decisive action. Delegate Wendy Evans has stated, “I am a liturgist at heart. I imagine that it is through a liturgical lens that l will find my way in the COP 25 experience: through gathering, praising, confessing, lamenting, assurance, thanksgiving, intercession, sending forth, and celebration of hope. I hope to be inspired and empowered in this large collective gathering and to bring the fullness of that liturgy back to help inspire and empower us all for finding a faithful way forward in mending this sacred world.”
Delegates will also carry with them an awareness of who is not present. Due to the last-minute relocation of the conference to Spain from the originally planned Chile, it is expected that fewer Indigenous peoples and delegates from the global south will be able to attend. Indigenous wisdom, knowledge, understanding of the land, and experience of climate change are integral parts to creating solutions to climate change, as is respect for human rights in all climate-related decisions, including the principles, norms, and standards of the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“I hope to find ways to participate, network, and share space with other voices at COP25 and bring an Indigenous presence that seeks hope and justice for future generations. ” Tony Snow
United Church delegates will also participate as part of ecumenical and civil society delegations, including the World Council of Churches, Action by Churches Together, and Climate Action Canada. Be sure to follow the United Church’s delegation in Madrid at COP25. The United Church will be posting updates and stories from our delegates as they share their experience at this international gathering.
Participating in COP December 3‒13
Tony Snow is from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation and is currently a student at Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Centre who will be ordained in 2020. He works in Calgary at Hillhurst United Church (Indigenous ministry) and McDougall United Church (Spiritual Development). Prior to this, he worked in industry, helping non-Indigenous people understand Indigenous perspectives on land, ecology, and climate change by advocating and interpreting Indigenous wisdom. He has always worked with Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers.
In 2019, Tony worked with the Pembina Institute and Alberta Ecotrust to deliver an Ethical Dilemmas series and give The United Church of Canada a voice in these discussions on climate change.
Participating in COP November 28–December 7
The Rev. Wendy Evans is an ordained minister in The United Church of Canada currently living and working on the West Island of Montreal. She teaches liturgy at United Theological College and serves as Chair of the Board for Montreal City Mission. Over the years Wendy has also had the opportunity to engage on behalf of the church overseas in Nicaragua, Zambia, Cuba, Brazil, Palestine, and Israel. She served for several years as the United Church representative to the Canadian Council of Churches Governing Board and as a member of the Global Partners Advisory Committee at the national office of the United Church as well as JGER (Justice, Global and Ecumenical Relations) leadership at the presbytery and Conference levels. A focus on climate justice has been an important part of Wendy’s ministry in her different roles. Climate justice is a topic she is passionate to engage in on an even deeper level.
Participating in COP December 8–13
Christie Neufeldt—Program Coordinator, Advocacy & Campaigns, at United Church General Council Office—will provide staff support from Toronto to Wendy and Tony during the first week of COP25. She will then travel to Madrid to accompany Tony during the second week of the conference, December 8‒13, after Wendy returns home. Christie has extensive experience coordinating the United Church's advocacy with the Canadian government in diverse areas including climate justice, just peace, resource extraction, and the eradication of poverty in Canada.