BMS World Mission has taken the unprecedented step of writing directly to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown ahead of December’s crucial climate conference in Copenhagen.
BMS, a Christian mission organization based in Great Britain, asks Brown to do all he can to make sure the United Kingdom speaks for the interests of the poor of the world at the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Conference.
The organization praises Brown’s commitment to ensuring that climate change is addressed as a moral issue, promises to pray for the prime minister and offers the prayerful support of global Baptists.
It is believed the open letter is the first time in its 217-year history that BMS has written directly to a serving British prime minister.
The letter is signed by Rev. David Kerrigan, BMS general director, and Steve Hughes, United Kingdom chief executive of Christian conservation organization A Rocha.
It also features the names of Baptist partners from 23 countries, who have given their active support to the letter.
Brown will join other leaders in Copenhagen to establish a new global treaty on climate change.
The majority of the world’s governments believe that climate change poses a threat to human society and to the natural world.
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A strong Copenhagen deal is seen as crucial to averting or minimizing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, which charities such as Christian Aid and Tearfund say are already being felt in the poorest countries in the world.
Mark Craig, BMS director of communications, explained that offering prayerful support was the organization’s “biblical response” to the Copenhagen summit.
“We could have added our voice to the many who are shouting, demanding and pleading for action from the world’s leaders,” he said. “In our letter, we asked Brown to ensure that the United Kingdom speaks for the interests of the poor of the world and provides clear leadership to other nations in that regard.
“However, our key message to the prime minister was not a demand or a request. It was a promise – a promise to pray for him.
“We believe that’s a biblical response, and we hope that our supporters will join us in praying for the prime minister as the Copenhagen conference progresses.”
Kerrigan’s letter explains to Brown that a “deep concern for the poorest peoples of the world” has been at the heart of BMS’ work since it was founded in 1792.
BMS is supported by more than 2,500 churches in the United Kingdom, representing a community of more than a quarter of a million people, Kerrigan continued. “Together, we believe that we have a fundamental responsibility to care for God’s world and God’s people,” he said.
“It is that sense of moral responsibility which led past generations to combat the evil of slavery, and more recently, support the Jubilee debt campaign, where your leadership, alongside others, was of such importance.”
Kerrigan then praises Brown’s commitment to ensuring that the crisis of climate change is addressed as a moral issue, and not just an economic or scientific issue.
“The poorest people in the world will suffer the most unless we, the richest, take a strong lead,” the letter continued.
This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.