Press Release: D.C.-based faith groups to host global interfaith climate vigil on Sunday, December 7th

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2014
Contact: Patrick Carolan, Executive Director
Franciscan Action Network
202-527-7565 

 

 Vigil will take place at 7pm at Lafayette Square Park     

 

Washington, D.C.--As part of the international #LightForLima project, faith groups in Washington, D.C. will host a vigil on Sunday, December 7th at 7:00 PM in Lafayette Square Park in front of the White House.

This vigil is part of a larger effort that is taking place on the evening of December, 7th. People around the world will be gathering to show their concern about climate change.  They are coming together for candle and solar-lantern lit vigils to shine light on the Conference of the Parties being held in Lima, Peru from December 1st- 12th

Vigils are being held in Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, UK, and the USA. In the US, faith groups hosting the vigils hope to build on the momentum from the People's Climate March, which mobilized tens of thousands of participants in New York earlier this year.

Members of faith groups, green groups, social justice groups, and anyone concerned about climate change are invited to attend the gatherings and pray for progress towards an international agreement to address climate change.   Those who do not wish to offer prayers are invited to attend and offer stories, poetry, music, or participate in a moment of silence.

Leaders from Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Baha'i, Sikh, various Christian denominations and other spiritual backgrounds will offer prayers at the D.C. vigil. In addition, musician Jacob Crouse will offer songs, and the head of the NAACP's Environmental and Climate Justice Program will offer remarks.  Other religious, spiritual and artistic contributions are welcome.

"The science is no longer in dispute, and it's time for the world's political leaders to unite and commit to a climate agreement that funds, designs, and provides for the implementation of a just and equitable global solution." said Jamie Konopacky, the Representative for Sustainable Development at the U.S. Baha'i Office of Public Affairs. She added that from a Baha'i perspective, "justice, when appropriately brought to bear on social issues, is the single most important instrument for the establishment of unity."

Konopacky continued, "People of faith have been and will continue to do their part to ensure that world leaders reach a just and equitable plan of action for climate change and that the spiritual dimension of the social and ecological issues underlying the climate change problem are not ignored." Stressing a holistic approach to the needs of our time, she noted that in an authoritative Baha'i work, it is emphasized that "we cannot segregate the human heart from the environment outside us and say that once one of these is reformed everything will be improved. Man is organic with the world. His inner life molds the environment and is itself also deeply affected by it. The one acts upon the other and every abiding change in the life of man is the result of these mutual reactions."  According to Konopacky, "People of faith, science, and political leaders must work together."

Lise Van Susteren from Interfaith Moral Action on Climate Change in D.C. added, "We want to show our leaders that they have our support and urge them to be more determined and generous in finding ways to a meaningful global agreement on climate change"

Patrick Carolan, Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network based in Washington, D.C. stated, "Pope Francis has called all of us to recognize the moral responsibility we have to care for all of creation. At a sustainability summit last May he said, 'Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will... Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude,'" Carolan continued, "Right now there is a lack of respect toward the planet and we are attempting to change that."

More info about OurVoices.net

#LightForLima is coordinated by OurVoices.net, a multi-faith, global climate campaign.  
OurVoices.net's organizers hope that an outpouring of concern from people of diverse faiths around the world can help political leaders reach a climate deal.  "Many people turn to their faith or spirituality for hope in the face of challenge and suffering," said Rev. Fletcher Harper, OurVoices.net coordinator and executive director of the religious-environmental NGO GreenFaith.  "Our prayers, meditations and expressions of sincere concern can help our leaders find the courage to reach a strong climate treaty."

Vigil is Solar-Lit

In a twist on the religious tradition of candle-lit vigils, many of the vigils, including the Washington, D.C. vigil, are using solar lamps.  For each lamp used in the vigils, two lamps will be delivered to African rural communities by SolarAid, enabling children to study and read after dark.  The solar lamps will replace kerosene lanterns that fill poor households with noxious fumes, leading to thousands of deaths annually.

All Are Invited

Members of the public are invited to participate in the Washington, D.C. vigil.  For further information, contact Patrick Carolan at pcarolan@franciscanaction.org or 202-527-7565

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