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World News

Christians urged to look out for neighbours as temperatures rise

by Donna Birrell

Christians are being urged to look out for their neighbours during the extreme heat. Some churches have already opened cool sanctuaries for rough sleepers and the environmental charity Green Christian is asking Christians to "read the signs of the times" as the UK witnesses temperatures of around 40 Celsius this week.

The charity is also calling on churches to prepare for wider pastoral impacts and improve ministerial training as the climate crisis unfolds. 

Paul Bodenham, who co-ordinates the charity's Borrowed Time project, said: "We know that heatwaves are set to get more intense, not to mention the wider impacts of food insecurity, migration, political instability and ill-health.

"We mustn't delay getting off fossil fuels. "But vulnerable communities are already being hit hard, especially in the Global South. "In the UK eco-anxiety is a daily reality for the majority of young people. "In the coming years mission is going to have to look a whole lot different. "Our churches need to be ready to help society navigate the future, and that work must start now."  

The UK has now recorded its warmest-ever day and night and the Met Office is warning that within current lifetimes, the UK could experience temperatures over 40C every three or four years.  A survey of 92 top climate scientists found that nearly half anticipate global warming of 3C, far exceeding the safe 1.5C target enshrined in the Paris Agreement.  . 

The National Prayer Network (NPN) says we should check on people who are vulnerable and pray for all those who may suffer the worst extreme of heat such as the elderly and those who live in cramped spaces.  

Lisa Hutt is Director of Prayer Ministry at the NPN has been speaking to Premier about how Christians should be responding : "We need to be checking on our family and our friends and our neighbours, anybody who we might think could be vulnerable, just making sure that they are taking the precautions they need to take.

"It might just be closing the curtains, making sure they're drinking enough liquids, and just making wise decisions about when they go out and if they go out. "It might be visiting somebody and just keeping them company. If anybody's anxious perhaps go and see them and sit with them and encourage them in some way.

"We need to pray for all those who are faithfully going onto our streets and visiting people, those who are workers and also our carers every day in this extreme heat. 

"We also need to pray for safety, as the reality is people can become irritable in the heat. "Whether it's a group of young people out on the street, or whether it's a domestic situation, we really do need to pray for safety. "We do need to pray for wisdom also, wherever people go and hang out together in this heat. "So we need to make wise decisions and keep ourselves safe and others safe.

"As Christians we also need to be good stewards. "We need to look at our buildings, we need to look at the way we build and then we need to plant more trees. "We need more green spaces and we need to be looking at the neighbourhoods, where extreme heat is and try and do something about it."


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