"Last weekend I was in Glasgow to attend some religious events associated with the COP26 Climate Conference."
Rev. Paul Rout OFM is one of Mildmay's wonderful volunteer chaplains
"On Sunday I attended the official COP Mass attended by a large crowd of people of all ages, along with the Papal Nuncio, all of the Catholic Bishops of Scotland and official representatives from other Religious Communities.
A magnificent choir, accompanied by trumpets and organ, raised our spirits as we came together to thank God for the great gift which is the gift of God’s creation.
We were also challenged to lament the damage that has been so sadly inflicted upon the natural world and its people, especially the poorest, to accept that we too have played a part in inflicting such damage and consequently we too have the responsibility to care for and nurture God’s world in real and practical ways.
On Monday I joined others at the University of Glasgow Chaplaincy to join in Prayer for Creation, led by two monks from the Taize community in France. In our prayer, we were once again reminded that the whole of creation should be treated as a precious gift from God. We need to commit ourselves to live sustainably, protecting this precious gift, and to do this at an international, national and individual level.
Following the Prayer Service I ventured down to the banks of the River Clyde and to the site of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, the official venue for COP26. Although not able to enter the actual site without an official pass, it was good to take in the surrounding atmosphere. The streets were filled with people from all corners of the earth, committed to seeking a way to protect our planet. There were groups of peaceful demonstrators, asking us to be aware of future generations and the world they must live in (top image). Overall there was a genuine spirit of good will, and even the many, many police officers in attendance were in good cheer, advising us of where to go for something to eat and sharing stories of how impressed they were overall with the peaceful and friendly atmosphere that mostly prevailed.
My experience of being present for a small part of this huge event that is COP26 has impressed upon me that as Christians, we are called to walk hand in hand with others in working together to care for our world, and also by drawing on our faith to inspire others to be protectors of this most precious gift of God’s creation."