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Church in pilgrimage to Paris to back action on climate change

People, schools and churches are being urged to support the event which will arrive in the French capital for the start of United Nations talks that will attempt to agree a new global deal to cut greenhouse gas emissions and prevent dangerous climate change.

The pilgrimage will set off from central London in mid-November and arrive in Paris two weeks.

Officials from more than 190 countries are gathering in the French capital to try and reach a "fair, ambitious and legally binding deal" on climate change.

People are being invited to join the pilgrimage for some or all of the route, cheer on pilgrims as they pass schools, or to hold "mini-pilgrimages" in local communities and prayer vigils.

The pilgrimage will start at St Martin-in-the-Fields, central London, before heading south to Brighton and Newhaven, crossing to Dieppe by ferry and then continuing down the Avenue Verte to Paris.

The Church said a petition will then be handed to the UN's top climate official Christiana Figueres before a mass prayer rally.

Aid agencies Christian Aid, Tearfund and Cafod are also involved.

Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury and the Church of England's lead bishop on the environment, said: "It is really important we join the journey - and we can do it in all sorts of ways, either by taking part in all or part of the pilgrimage, or by gathering people to pray within our own communities.

"Through our prayers and our pilgrimage we are strengthening and encouraging those taking part in the Paris talks to reach fair, accountable and firm commitments which will change the way we act and move us towards a low carbon economy."

James Buchanan, project co-ordinator for the Paris pilgrimage, said: "Embarking on a pilgrimage is an important event both in Christian and other faith traditions, with both the journey and the destination having a spiritual significance.

"The Pilgrimage2Paris follows in this tradition, as the Church seeks to have a strong voice in the climate change talks in Paris this December, with people from across the UK making the journey in faith that a lasting agreement can be made for a low carbon future."

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