LWF Climate Delegation Initiates Interreligious Solidarity Fasting

Piotrek Sztwiertnia, member of the LWF delegation speaks to an interfaith meeting during the COP19 climate change conference in Warsaw. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey
Piotrek Sztwiertnia, member of the LWF delegation speaks to an interfaith meeting during the COP19 climate change conference in Warsaw. Photo: LWF/Sean Hawkey

(LWI) – The LWF delegation at the COP 19 conference in Warsaw has issued a statement today together with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and indigenous spiritual leaders saying that they are fasting together during the conference:

“we are fasting in solidarity with the poor and vulnerable who are disproportionately affected by extreme weather events;
we are praying and fasting for the victims and survivors of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, as well as other people affected by extreme weather events all around the world;

these are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change;
we are fasting, praying and meditating for a tangible and ambitious outcome to the climate change negotiations."

The statement comes after two interfaith meetings held during COP 19 in which LWF has taken an active part.

The LWF delegation convened an interfaith meeting for youth in which intergenerational justice in the climate negotiations and fasting for climate justice were discussed. This gathering concluded with an enthusiastic pledge to support fasting as a way of showing solidarity to victims of extreme weather and commitment to climate justice.

The opening day of the conference saw a powerful speech by Yeb Saño, the chief negotiator for the Philippines. Mr Saño, whose pledge to fast in solidarity with victims of Typhoon Haiyan and for a meaningful outcome to the negotiations moved many of the negotiators in the plenary hall to tears.

Caroline Richter, LWF Youth Secretary, who is accompanying the LWF delegation highlighted the importance of the decision taken by the interfaith representatives: “as representatives of different faiths, it is important to stand together to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and to remind the leaders and negotiators about their ethical and moral responsibilities. The climate change negotiations have to been dealt with in a holistic way."

“A faith perspective is important because more than 80% of the world’s population has a faith”.

“We are inviting all people of faith not only to fast, but to pray and reflect and to be in true solidarity with those who suffer. Being together through fasting all around the world makes us aware and unites us with those who suffer."

"The response to our fasting has been responded to with enthusiasm and support both here and around the world. We have received many significant messages of support from around the world, where the parishes across entire countries are being asked to fast.”

A press conference has been convened by LWF on 16 November to be held together with representatives of different faith traditions including:

  • Archbishop Serafim Kykotis of Zimbabwe, Greek Patriarchate of Alexandria
  • Imam Ibrahim K. M. Saidy, National Islamic Council of Norway
  • Mr. Somboon Chungprampree, Executive Secretary of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists

The conference will be held in the UN press conference hall in Warsaw.

Members of the LWF COP19 delegation include:

  • Ms Pranita Biswasi, Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church-United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India
  • Ms Raquel Kleber, Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil
  • Mr Martin Kopp, Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine
  • Ms Matilda Mattson, Church of Sweden, 
  • Ms Rose Stephens-Booker, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Mr Piotrek Sztwiertnia, Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Poland
  • Mr Elija Zina, Lutheran Church in Liberia, LWF Council member

The delegation is accompanied by Ms Caroline Richter, LWF Youth Secretary.

Find out more and engage with the LWF delegation
www.lwfyouth.org | www.facebook.com/LWFYouth | www.twitter.com/lwfyouth