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Church of England backs climate change demonstrations by pupils

Church of England backs climate change demonstrations by pupils as leading bishop says young people are giving a lead to the rest of the country

  • The Church of England has backed the school walkouts over climate change
  • The shift towards green activism was decided by the Church’s General Synod
  • Thousands of young people walked out of lessons last week to protest the issue

The Church of England, the country’s biggest sponsor of schools, has thrown its weight behind last week’s climate change demonstrations by pupils.

Bishops said young people are giving a lead to the rest of the country and their protests are needed ‘to stir us up’.

The shift towards green activism decided by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, comes despite disquiet over the recent ‘climate strike’. Thousands of pupils across the country skipped lessons and joined mass events calling for more action to preserve the planet.

 It marks a change of tone for the CofE, which said at the time of the protests that pupils should be out of their classrooms in term-time only in ‘exceptional’ circumstances and with permission from head teachers [File photo]

The Government, headteachers and many parents said fighting for a greener future should not come at the expense of education.

Backing for school protests came from Church leaders as the Synod voted overwhelmingly to ‘step up its environmental programme in response to the escalating threat of climate change’. 

The Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, said children in 60 towns and cities who left their classrooms to join demonstrations were prophets spreading a warning.

He praised the child strikers last week and claimed they were ‘chided by senior politicians and patronised by political commentators’. The bishop added: ‘I don’t want to chide them or patronise them. I want to say I am 100 per cent behind them.

The shift towards green activism decided by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, comes despite disquiet over the recent ‘climate strike’. Thousands of pupils across the country skipped lessons and joined mass events calling for more action to preserve the planet [File photo]

The shift towards green activism decided by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod, comes despite disquiet over the recent ‘climate strike’. Thousands of pupils across the country skipped lessons and joined mass events calling for more action to preserve the planet [File photo]

‘Climate change cannot be a matter of indifference for any of us and we cannot underestimate the seriousness of this. Behind this is a fundamental desire to see us, as a Church, recover our prophetic edge. For that to happen I believe we need prophetic people to stir us up.’

Another senior bishop, the Bishop of Salisbury the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, said: ‘In terms of the care of God’s creation, young people get it.’

It marks a change of tone for the CofE, which said at the time of the protests that pupils should be out of their classrooms in term-time only in ‘exceptional’ circumstances and with permission from head teachers. Theresa May urged children tempted to join the protests last week to stay in their classrooms.

The Church is responsible for almost 4,700 schools in England, and a further 200 are under the care of its Anglican sister Church in Wales.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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