Churches to ring their bells to support action on climate change ahead of COP26

Two churches will ring their bells in support of a national campaign to raise awareness of the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

By Ross Robertson
Monday, 25th October 2021, 11:47 am
Cathy Barnes, Vice Chair of All Saints PCC and the Rev Vernon Cuthbert outside of All Saints, Cleadon
Cathy Barnes, Vice Chair of All Saints PCC and the Rev Vernon Cuthbert outside of All Saints, Cleadon

The conference, known as COP26, takes place in Glasgow from Sunday, October 31 to Friday, November 12.

Parishioners at All Saints Church in Cleadon and at Whitburn Parish Church have decided to help highlight the aims and ambitions of COP26 by ringing their church bells on Saturday, October 30 at 6pm.

The Rev Vernon Cuthbert, Priest in Charge at All Saints and at Whitburn Parish Church, explained: “The Church of England is encouraging churches and cathedrals to ring out their bells on the eve of COP26 as a reminder of the real and present dangers of global warning.

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Cathy Barnes, Vice Chair of All Saints PCC and the Rev Vernon Cuthbert outside of All Saints, Cleadon

“COP26 has been billed as the ‘make or break’ conference that will determine humanity’s survival so it is right that churches ring their bells – a traditional warning used for hundreds of years. The danger is very real and we want our bells to be part of a voice for climate justice.

“We had a discussion at both recent Parochial Church Councils, whose members voted unanimously to ring their church bells on October 30 and I would imagine other churches within the Durham Diocese will also be taking part.”

COP is the Conference of the Parties and the 2021 meeting will be the 26th such meeting, which started following a UN conference in Rio de Janiero in 1992. Despite the UN’s best efforts, global emissions have continued to rise – from five billion tonnes in 1950 to 33 billion tonnes in 2020.

At the Paris Agreement in 2015, countries agreed to try to keep global warming down to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels or lower. This target has not been achieved.

One of the aims of COP26 is to get the agreement of countries to take action to keep global temperature rises in this century to below the two degrees target – and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees, thus limiting further climate change.

The Church of England is encouraging the ringing of bells as part of its Environment Programme – other measures include a Net Zero Carbon declaration.

All Saints Church is on Cleadon Lane, Cleadon – regular church services include 10am Thursdays and 9am Sundays.

Whitburn Parish Church is on Church Lane, Whitburn and its regular services include 11am and 6.30pm on Sundays and 10am on Wednesdays.

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