The Anglican Church and Rio+20

Yahweh God took the human beings

and settled them in the garden of Eden

to cultivate/serve and take care of it.”

(Genesis, 2:15)

Reflecting on the need to care for the planet and before the groans of nature, every person in their different realities is certain of the need to get involved and take concrete actions to care for the Creation.  For these reasons, I invite the Anglican Communion around the world to get committed towards United Nations Conference on Environment Rio +20 and the People’s Summit, on June 15th to 22nd, 2012 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The UN Conference Rio +20 closes an important cycle, started during the Eco-92 Conference in the same city. The People’s Summit, organized civil society movement will give us an opportunity for reunion with the core of the Christian faith, expressed by the unconditional love of the Creator for the whole Creation, throughout a present and future filled with ethic, transformed and sustainable. Or it just will pass by our lives maintaining the hegemony of those who look for easy profits at the expense of nature, impoverished and excluded people.

It’s important to notice what is at stake in this Conference; we can keep going with this model of unsustainable production and consumption that privileges a small group or we in fact can initiate a turn to other models, as affirmed already during the Eco-92 and many other UN Conferences. Yet unfortunately the governments and transnational corporations that hold the hegemony of world power refuse to fulfill their responsibilities.

We are witnesses that the civilization faces a multidimensional crisis comprehending economical, social environmental, cultural and spiritual aspects. In our perspective, a crisis of values that proclaims the demise of the old civilization as we know it can mean the dawn of a new era for all of us, brothers and sisters who inhabit the same house together. We must take the example of one who which “though there seemed no hope, he hope and believed” (Rom 4:18) and collaborate (work together) to make life more abundant.

The prophetic voice from Genesis 2:15 calls for an unique responsibility. It addresses us human beings to look after and care for our common garden, for our common house, as the work of Creation and continuation of God’s Revelation of Mercy and Justice.

We continue the Missio Dei that must be the Missio Ecclesia: to say one word and create, not destroy; to be present and set us free, not slave or privatize; become incarnated and be in solidarity, not transform into an empire; to give life and care, not abandonment or silence. Therefore, we are challenged “to strive to safeguard the integrity of Creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”, one of the  Anglican Five Marks of Mission, taken from the Anglican Consultation Council.

Our planet cries and groans waiting for redemption. Our people cry out on account of the oppressors. We need to listen, just like God when he himself said that “I’ve indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard them crying for help on account of their taskmasters. Yes, I am well aware of their sufferings. And I have come down to set them free…” (Exo 3:7-8). We’ve been called to listen like Jesus listened to the couple of Emmaus on their way home. He walked with them, gave them courage and energy to resume their way back to Jerusalem to bear a witness that another world is possible.

With hope, audacity and renewed faith, I call up the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil and the Anglican Communion around the world to assume their prophetic duty to “take care of Creation.”  We need to support the initiatives of organized civil society and make a strong appeal to the governments to take their responsibility for the life on our planet.

This moment should denounce the economistic and exclusionary model so that we may take the path to build up and be committed to Social and Environmental Justice, stand up for the rights of the people and nature, strengthen ecological awareness in the religious and spiritual traditions, a beginning to a transition from unsustainable civilization to a new one that is fair, fraternal, peaceful, ethical and sustainable.

I encourage the Provinces to assume their responsibilities by urging the dioceses, clergy and communities to participate actively in the Rio +20 process, especially the initiatives of the People’s Summit and the Space Religious for Rights.

In the certainty that this is going to be the path to live the plenitude of life (cf. John 10:10),

Brasília-DF, Brazil, May 3rd, 2012

The Most Revd. Mauricio Andrade, Primate

Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil (IEAB)