Make COP26 Count

Act together for climate justice

Join us on the Road to Glasgow 2021

We’re all living through challenging times. Do climate action and COP26 (the UN climate change conference) feel somewhat distant or even irrelevant to the life of your church? Does the climate and ecological crisis feel so large that you don’t know where to begin?

USPG and Hope for the Future are joining together in the Make COP26 Count programme to support you and your church to act for climate justice.

We will support you step-by-step to incorporate climate justice into the life of your church and to choose practical actions to make an impact. This will include assisting you and your church to engage politically and to prepare you to have positive meetings with your local elected officials.

We want to offer you and your church a chance to make the most from the opportunity of the UK hosting COP26 to raise national and international ambition for climate justice.

Throughout this process you will be accompanied by Hope for the Future’s Faith Outreach Officer - Rachel Mander - who will provide tailored resources, training and advice for your church. We also invite you to join in monthly calls to support each other, build a community of UK churches acting for climate justice and to hear from USPG partners and global climate activists.

For many years Christians across the world (many of whom are experiencing the most severe impacts of climate change whilst also being the least culpable for its cause) have challenged the UK church to act boldly, decisively and justly in response to the climate and ecological crisis. In solidarity we will heed this call and Make COP26 Count!

Open to all UK churches.

Click here to register your interest and we will be in touch with you to discuss how we can work together.

From past participants

 "Having Hope for the Future’s support has been invaluable and it’s possible that without it we might not have been as effective as we were in getting our message and concerns across to our MP.”

Kath met Mark Eastwood MP in August 2020 with two others from her church.

“One of the best outcomes from meeting Oliver [our MP] was simply the confidence to think that we could do a Climate Hustings. Without that journey and meeting him in June I can’t imagine that I could ever have conceived the idea of holding a climate hustings for the entire town…[The process] has clearly changed us as a group. I cannot overestimate the role of USPG and Hope for the Future and what you represent”.

The St Michaels and All Angels group met Oliver Dowden MP in June 2019 and held a Climate Hustings in the run up to the General Election in December 2019.

"In our Benefice we had just established an ecology group. One of the aims was to contact our two local MPs to see if we could encourage more involvement from them… I contacted Rachel and was given very useful guidance on how to prepare for the meetings. We were able to suggest a conversation using Zoom which really impressed our MP. During our meeting we suggested launching a tree-planting scheme in liaison with our local council with trees provided by The Woodland Trust, he was very enthusiastic. He actually invited us to work together on this initiative. I also asked if he could talk to farmers about planting hedgerows on their land, and he agreed to do so. After the meeting, I followed up our conversation in a letter so that he has this to refer to when we contact him again. I would recommend this approach and say we felt the conversation was a positive experience and well worth conducting. The support USPG gave us was invaluable. Particularly, I would like to thank Rachel for her help and advice.”

Shelley first met with Craig Mackinlay MP in March 2020, and is now in regular contact, most recently she received a handwritten card from him in July 2020.

Click here to register your interest

 

More information and FAQ

 

Why now? Why COP26?

Why take part?

What does the Make COP26 Count programme look like?

What is the commitment?

What is the timeline?

Who are Hope for the Future and USPG?

 

Why now? Why COP26?

In November 2021, the UK will host the postponed COP26 in Glasgow. Described as the ‘Olympic Games of climate change policy’, the COP26 summit has been described as the most important gathering on climate change since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015. At the launch of COP26 Sir David Attenborough said: “We don’t need to emphasise …that the longer we leave it –not doing things but going on talking about the problems – the worse it’s going to get. And in the end, unless we do something, it becomes insoluble. Now is the moment. Now, Glasgow becomes extremely important.”

As the hosts of COP26 (which stands for Conference of Parties) the UK government have a major diplomatic and political role in the success of these UN international negotiations which govern the ambition and action for climate justice of countries globally. As UK citizens this gives us a unique opportunity.

We have an important window of time to communicate the urgency of climate change with our local politicians and to work with our elected representatives to encourage decisive action on climate change in the run up to COP26. We can make sure that the UK government has the mandate to push for stronger action for climate justice. 

Christians across the world challenge the UK church to act on climate change. The UK has both historic and contemporary responsibility for the impacts of climate change; a legacy of promoting environmental degradation through colonial resource extraction and cash crop production, and a present duty to utilise its position of global influence to mitigate climate risk.

In solidarity with our global partners, USPG and Hope for the Future are inviting churches to join with those around the world and use the time before COP26 to heed the call to act.

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Why take part?

 

  • Gain bespoke practical support and accompaniment to help your church advocate and act effectively for climate justice
  • Join a community of other churches also advocating for climate justice - meet, connect and support other churches undertaking the same journey
  • Be inspired and learn from USPG’s global partners – be part of a global community
  • Make your church’s voice heard in the run up to COP26 and know that you are Making COP26 Count

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What does the Make COP26 Count programme look like?

Make COP26 Count will look different for each church community. We meet your church where you are and we will work together to discern the best paths of action for you. At the same time, we want to provide a space for participating churches to meet (virtually) and journey together – sharing our experiences, successes and frustrations and being inspired and challenged by each other and global climate activists.

Make COP26 Count draws together the spiritual, practical and political and seeks to enable holistic church action.  Over the 10-month programme your church is invited to undertake a spiritual, practical and political action*. We have found that church communities find it easier to work with their MP when they have already undertaken events or actions which they can then share. This could include:

  • Spiritually – participate in a Climate Sunday event

Engage your whole congregation in matters of climate justice and join churches across the UK who will be hosting a Climate Sunday event in the run up to COP26. It is hoped that 10,000 churches across the UK will hold a service focused on climate justice to explore the theological and scientific basis of the care of creation and to pray and commit to action.

 

  • Practical – determine a priority action for your congregation

Many churches will already be taking action for climate justice. For those who wish further support we can accompany you to start acting as a congregation. Examples of actions may include:

  • Registering and creating a plan to work towards Eco Church accreditation (or a similar scheme)
  • Using energy footprint tools to completing an Energy Audit of your church and create a plan to reduce emissions to Net Zero by 2030
  • Run an energy switch day event (moving energy providers to renewable energy)

 

  • Politically – engage your local politician

Receive comprehensive support from Hope for the Future for a political engagement which could include:

  • Facilitate a meeting with your MP about your church engagement and suggest potential written question to submit to parliament
  • Organise a virtual panel event with your MP on behalf of your church and local area
  • Run a school or youth group workshop with your MP in attendance

 

  • Share this experience with other programme participants and USPG's global partners:
  • Monthly virtual meet-ups with other participants and global partners starting Jan 2021
  • Relevant resources and regular communications
  • Participant platform to share knowledge

*We acknowledge that different churches and communities will be at different stages of climate action; for some your engagement with us may be your first step, for others this may be an engagement following years of action. We want to meet you where you are and accompany you to take this further.

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What is the commitment?

We ask you to be available for the duration of the programme (January – November 2021). Participation requires a commitment to undertake action as a church congregation and your  political engagement. You may need to check with relevant people within your church in order to be able to make this commitment. Part of the preparation for the programme will be a conversation with Hope for the Future this year about which action you would like to be supported to make.

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What is the timeline?

You and your Church community will be accompanied at all stages. Each church and community is unique and therefore timelines will look slightly different for each church., However a broad proposed timeframe is as followed:

Nov-Dec 2020 – Have a chat to discuss your engagement and prepare for 2021

Receive a support phone call from Rachel Mander to discuss your hopes, your church and to speak about possible actions for 2021

Jan 2021 – Welcome

January will be the first of the monthly group call. We will have welcome and introductions and will encourage participants to meet and share expectations and hopes

Feb-March 2021 – Engage with your church

Over Lent and Easter we will have a focus on church engagement

April-June 2021 – Engage with your MP

Spring and early summer will enable you to build on your church engagement by hosting a political engagement. These are key months to engage MPs

July-August 2021 – Celebration and reflection

Towards the end of the summer we will celebrate together and reflect on our engagements

Sept-October 2021- The final build up

Monthly group calls will continue as the preparations for COP26 build

November 2021 – COP26

You will be invited to join with an event to mark the opening of COP26 and to celebrate all that you have done to Make COP26 Count

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Who are Hope for the Future and USPG?

Hope for the Future is a political engagement charity originally set up by a group of Yorkshire churches. They now work nationally to train, support and equip individuals and groups to build relationships with their elected representatives on climate change. Their support covers everything from drafting letters to secure meeting dates, to the organisation of events on behalf of local community groups. For more information visit: www.hftf.org.uk

Founded in 1701, USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is the Anglican mission agency that partners churches and communities worldwide in God’s mission to enliven faith, strengthen relationships, unlock potential and champion justice. Climate justice is a key advocacy priority of USPG.

USPG and Hope for the Future have been working together since 2014.