By Rob Hogg, Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Rapids
In September, I was invited by President Bishop Michael Curry to join a 24-person delegation that will virtually represent the Episcopal Church at the world climate negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, that start November 1st. I immediately accepted. Here’s why:
The Glasgow negotiations have been called the world’s “last best hope” to prevent unmanageable catastrophic consequences from climate change. The issue is urgent, and time is running out for effective precautionary action.
We have many solutions that work, and we need to do as much as possible to slow down, stop, and reverse the buildup of greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere. We also need to prepare urgently for the climate disasters that cannot be avoided.
But I also know that many people in Iowa and across our country have different views about climate. For that matter, people in my own church have different views about climate.
That’s why I am “on the road to Glasgow.” Because change happens when people are on the road. In the Christian faith, Paul was converted on the road to Damascus from his persecution of Christians to becoming a follower of Jesus. In American popular culture, change happened when Charles Kuralt visited ordinary Americans “on the road” across our country.
I’m on the road to Glasgow in search of change: change in policies, change in attitudes, change in myself to more fully, completely, and effectively live out my calling to climate action.
So far, I have participated in our two delegation meetings to prepare for Glasgow, as well as virtual events sponsored by the Anglican Communion, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle.
The Episcopal Church has churches in 17 countries, and the Anglican Communion is global. I am beginning to appreciate more than ever the global challenges from – and the global hopes for – multi-national, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural climate action.
Iowans are invited to get more involved, to learn more, to internalize more, to do more. Iowa Interfaith Power & Light has its statewide virtual gathering on Saturday, October 16th, starting at 10 a.m., and at my church in Cedar Rapids, Christ Episcopal Church, we will be celebrating Rogation Day for care of creation on Sunday, October 24th.
Everyone is invited to join the Presiding Bishop’s delegation virtually on Thursday, October 28th, at noon Iowa time for “Episcopal Climate Advocacy at the UN: COP26 Kick-Off.“
When I say everyone is invited, I mean everyone is invited. Everyone has a role to play in addressing climate change. As Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby wrote in a joint statement released on September 1st, “We call on everyone, whatever their belief or world view, to endeavor to listen to the cry of the Earth and or people who are poor, examining their behavior and pledging meaningful sacrifices for the sake of the Earth which God has given us.”
Join me on the road to Glasgow. I’m listening to the Earth and to other people. I have hope that we will find a better future together.
Rob Hogg is a state senator from Cedar Rapids and a layperson in the Episcopal Diocese of Iowa. Contact him at email@example.com.