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January 20, 2014

ELCIC National Bishop Participates in, Encourages Monthly day of Fasting for the Climate

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson invites church members to join a Monthly Day of Fasting for the Climate on the first of each month.

“This fast is a simple, regular and spiritually renewing expression of solidarity with those most vulnerable to climate change and prayerfully connects me to the global Lutheran family,” says Bishop Johnson.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), together with many other global organizations, launched a Monthly Day of Fasting for the Climate on January 1, 2014. The LWF encourages member churches to be advocates for climate justice in the context of climate change and says the fast is a way for Lutherans to express their common faith, spiritual and ethical values.

The call for fasting for the climate comes as a lead up to the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Lima, Peru, in December 2014.

The LWF delegation to COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland (November 11-22, 2013), which included seven young adults, initiated a fast that was supported by many different faith representatives.

“It is inspiring that it was Lutheran young adults who led this call to pray and fast,” says Bishop Johnson. “Their witness points us to the profound importance of relying on our faith in God as we face all of life’s challenges.”  

“For me, fasting is something new,” says Bishop Johnson. “As I participate in the fast on the first of each month, I will be learning what it means to embark on this discipline in the name of prayer and solidarity. By focusing on this new practice for spiritual renewal, it will serve as a reminder to me of the importance of climate justice issues.”

The fast takes place on the first day of every month until December 1, 2014 when the COP 20 meetings begin. To follow and support the campaign, use the hashtag #fastfortheclimate.

Fasting may take a number of different forms, depending on an individual’s context. Fasters who refrain from food for one day are advised to continue drinking water. Some may choose to fast for one or two meals, or limit food intake to a simple diet such as rice or bread. Others may consider a “carbon emissions” fast, choosing to not take a car or not using electronic devices, or by intentionally choosing to consume eco-friendly products and food.

Climate change is an ongoing concern of the LWF and the ELCIC. In 2007, the ELCIC committed to intentionally working on a Stewardship of Creation initiative. In 2013, the ELCIC and the Anglican Church of Canada adopted the Joint Assembly Declaration, which begins by stating that, “Responsible and sustainable relationships to water, land, home, and each other are part of realizing our full humanity.”

For more information on the Monthly Day of Fasting for Climate, visit: http://www.lutheranworld.org/news/lwf-launches-day-fasting-climate

For more information on the ELCIC’s Stewardship of Creation activities, visit: http://elcic.ca/Stewardship/Stewardship-of-Creation/default.cfm

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination with 145,376 baptized members in 594 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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