COP26 engagement opportunities

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COP26 logo


COP26 is the Conference of the Parties on climate change to be hosted in Glasgow from 31 Oct to 12 Nov.

As this helpful infographic explains, it is a crucial meeting for taking forward the pledges made in the 2015 Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  This Tearfund blog by Dr Ruth Valerio shows why it is important for Christians.


But how can we get involved?


Advocate for climate justice

The main faith groups’ asks for COP26 are around climate finance justice. They are to:

  • Prioritise a new and additional finance mechanism for climate-related loss and damage (money to help people who are already losing homes, loved ones and livelihoods as a direct result of climate impacts).
  • Put an end to all use of public money to subsidise fossil fuels.


Finding out more

Download the briefing from Make COP Count for more detail.  Bishop Olivia also preached a sermon on climate finance at Reading Minster as the Young Christian Climate Network Relay passed through Reading in July.


Getting involved 

Tell our politicians that is vitally important they make bold commitments on action in the UK and on fair climate finance.

  • It is best to write directly to your MP see the Make Cop Count briefing or this guide from JPI.
  • A simple option is to sign The Time Is Now declaration and ask your church to sign it too.
  • Individuals can also sign the recent Glasgow Multi-Faith Declaration for COP26.
  • Young people and those older can sign the Take A Stand open letter to leaders.
  • Investigate the Be The Change resources for schools and children’s groups, Be Vocal is on advocacy.
  • The COP26 Coalition are encouraging a Day of Action on Saturday 6 November There are actions planned in Reading, Oxford and other areas – check to see what is happening near you.
  • You could also join the People’s Summit being held virtually from 7 to 10 November.
  • Ring Out for COP26 – If your church has bells, you might like to arrange for them to be rung on Saturday 30 October at 6pm for half an hour. This is the eve of COP26 and the idea has been suggested to all dioceses to let the church bells be a voice for climate justice. One more way to show the leaders at COP26 the public support for making the meaningful commitments that are vital at the conference. It is listed among the CCCBR’s things to ring for.  It is important local publicity goes alongside this, so those within earshot know why they are hearing the bells on a Saturday evening!


Prayer is essential!

The former head of the UN talks wrote an open letter of thanks after the Paris COP, which started “For those who prayed …”  recognising the role prayer played at those talks.

If you’d like to join in prayer:

  • Tearfund will be sending daily prayer texts.
  • Pray and Fast for the Climate has material for a prayer vigil and will have a prayer guide of opportunities for prayer during the time.
  • Climate Intercessors will be providing daily prayer points.
  • You can pledge to pray with Christian Aid and their October prayer points are here.
  • COP26 has a Presidency Programme and a Green Zone calendar of events that you could use to inform your prayers.
  • On Sunday 31 October 6-8pm St John’s and St Stephen’s in Reading (RG1 3JN) will hold an in person COP26 Prayer Vigil , just as COP26 starts. It will include some led liturgy, some quiet reflection and a time to watch and pray for the world’s leaders as they gather in Glasgow. Anyone wanting to join in is welcome.
  • The United Benefice of Radley, Sunningwell and Kennington are holding a prayer evening from 7pm on Tuesday 2 November at St. Swithun’s Church, OX1 5PL.
  • Tearfund are encouraging churches to join in with their COP26 Church Service on Sunday 7 November. It will be available to download in advance and show in your church.
  • The artist Emma Major, LLM at St Nicolas Church, Earley, is leading a Caring for Creation prayer vigil on Zoom at 6pm on Sunday 14 November. Email for info.

Church events to support on Sunday 31st October:

  • The Shelswell Benefice is holding a Climate Sunday service at 11am at St Mary and St Edburga, Stratton Audley.
  • All Saints, Wokingham is holding a walk of witness for the climate, starting at 9.15am with a silent vigil in Elms Park and then walking through the town centre to the church for the service at 10am celebrating All Saints Sunday.


Alongside advocacy and prayer, we can make real change happen where we are. 

Each of us can make some simple changes to reduce our own environmental footprints.  Count Us In – suggests many steps to protect what we love by highlighting actions we can do to combat change. Also  see our EcoHub Action Zone and the 10 tips there.

The carbon footprints of our homes can be reduced by adding insulation and reducing drafts, as well as more major changes. There may be limited funding available for environmental improvements to  some homes, more info here.

In our church communities we can join the Parish Pathway to Net Zero, there are two first steps: Register for A Rocha’s excellent Eco Church award scheme and fill in the survey to guide further action, also start thinking about how to decarbonise your church building, you can fill in this expression of interest form for an audit or advice.

On Monday 8th November 6pm, St Edburg’s Eco Church Group will start a new ‘Bicester Carbon Club’ where local people can empower each other to reduce their carbon footprints, starting with homes.  Register here.  If you are not in the area, perhaps your church could start something similar.


Opportunities to learn more…

Individually or in a small group, you might like to watch Tearfund’s excellent series of 9 short climate talks on Christianity and Climate Change by Professor Katharine Hayhoe and discuss the questions suggested.


The Big Church Read has resources for small groups or individuals on ‘A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues’ by Martin and Margot Hodson. The book considers a range of current environmental problems, giving the biblical basis for looking after the environment and linking this to the Christian faith.


Make COP Count have a calendar of different faith group events.


The Ethical Consumer Week programme has a wide selection of informative online talks 16-22 October.


The Oxford Science + Ideas Festival 9 – 26 October, has many events online or in person, search the programme with the word “climate”.


The Reading International Festival “Together We Can Halt Climate Change and Build a Better Future” has a variety of talks and events, online or in person 11 October – 12 November, investigate the programme.


St Mary’s, Burghfield has some beautiful COP26 inspired climate themed quilted panels to loan out to stimulate reflection and action.  Contact us if you’d like to borrow them and we’ll pass on your message.