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International Anglican Bible project aims to discover the church's role in battling climate change

Friday 4th June 2010

Members of the worldwide Anglican Communion are working together on a project to discover what the Bible tells the church about saving the planet from environmental damage.

The Bible in the Life of the Church project manager, Stephen Lyon, said that World Environment Day was the perfect moment to reveal that the first issue under discussion would be the Environment.

"We are already seeing the impact of climate change, particularly in the developing world," he said. "Most Anglicans live in countries like India and Nigeria that will be worst hit by greater flooding, or diminishing levels of potable water.

"All faiths have a duty to protect the environment, for themselves and others. Our particular tradition, Anglicanism, has enshrined the need to protect our world in its mission statement The Five Marks of Mission*. This is one of the reasons why we have picked this issue—to ensure that all Anglicans everywhere realise the biblical imperative to protect and sustain God's creation.

"We also hope that, through exploring together a selection of key biblical passages which relate to this theme—widely acknowledged as one of the most crucial challenges facing the Churches and humanity today—we will be able to offer evidence of the way in which Anglicans actually handle the Bible, and to identify principles of biblical interpretation."

Speaking about the project, Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams stressed that God was a creator who was faithful to what he created.

"I hope that through this project we learn not just to say words about how important the Bible is, but really to allow God's Spirit and God's Word through the Bible to come into us and make us the community of people that God wants and so make the world the world that God wants;" he said, "the God of the Bible who loves what he's made, is faithful to what he's made, and who has actually come to work within the world he's made through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit."

The Bible in the Life of the Church is a major project being undertaken over three years by the Anglican Communion, mandated by the Anglican Consultative Council at its Jamaica meeting in May 2009. It is seeking to discover how Anglican Christians read the Bible, recognising the very diverse contexts they inevitably bring to this reading. The work of this project will largely take place in a number of regional groups based around theological education institutions in East Africa, Southern Africa, South East Asia, Oceania, North America and Britain. The Steering Group also includes members from Cuba and Nigeria.

To learn more about the Bible in the Life of the Church project visit

Notes to Editors

  • "Fifth Mark of Mission: to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth."
  • World Environment Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Commemorated yearly on 5 June, it is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.
  • The Anglican Communion Office serves the Anglican Communion, comprising around 80 million members in 44 regional and national member churches around the globe in more than 160 countries.

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