The Pacific Islands are facing extinction because of rising ocean levels.

A few weeks ago, Rev. James Bhagwan of Fiji, the General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches spoke to us at a "Thursdays with OMNIA" event to describe their dire situation, the action that they are seeking from the United Nations and inviting us to stand in solidarity with them in supporting that action. The video below is a short portion of that Zoom meeting. Its is worthy of your review. Please click on the picture below.

Rev. James Bhagwan, General Secretary      Pacific Conferece of Churches

Solomon Yeo  Campaign Director

Key to this action is Solomon Yeo. During their final year at law school, he and his classmates at the University of South Pacific in Vanuatu, came up with the idea to change international law by getting the world’s highest court – the international court of justice (ICJ) – to issue an advisory opinion on the climate crisis. For more detail, please click on the link for an article in the The Guardian, June 19, 2022.

Led by a popular student movement, the government of Vanuatu proposed a resolution to the United Nations General Assembly that it should seek an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justiceon this matter. Such an opinion from the world's highest court, they believe, will have standing in litigation that can be brought against governments or corporations that violate the climate protocols. For more information see the student movement's website (pisfcc.org).

Our Climate Justice IP Team has agreed that getting religious leaders to pressure their governments to support this is an urgent, relevant and winnable action. Therefore, we've prepared two letters. Please click here for the letters.

  1. A letter to religious leaders asking them to write to, or call their government's UN representative and communicate that the religious communities want them to support the resolution, and get other countries to support it as well.                                                                                                                                            
  2. A template letter that contains what we, as OMNIA, would write to the US government. Each religious leader should edit it to suit his/her context, and send it.

Rev. Connie Leininger

This is not hard. Let me lift up the example of Rev. Connie Leininger, a member of our IP Team network. She is a retired Presbyterian minister and a member of Morgan Park Presbyterian Church in Chicago. When she heard about our initiative, she urged her pastor Rev. Ben Heimach-Snipes to act on it. Pastor Ben read up on it, and preached an inspiring sermon. Connie was ready with letters and petitions, and she invited the congregation to sign the petitions during the coffee hour. Click here for the Facebook video. (At minute 15:41 you will see Connie making the announcement, at at minute 27:00 you will hear Pastor Ben's sermon.) Then she wrote to several other pastors she knows and urged them to do the same. Well done, Conne!

And it is urgent and important. Please act on it soon.

Here are your Action steps:

  1. You very likely know the leader/s of your local religious community, other reilgious leaders, and the leaders of your religious denomination or organization. Please send these letters to them, with a call or your personal note encouraging them to act on it.                                                                                                                           
  2. Please get the people in your congregation or organization to sign the petition on the website of the student movement, (pisfcc.org). This can be done after worship or prayer services,  or after organizational meetings. Please do these actions ASAP because the vote on the resolution is likely to be in December 2022.                                                                                                                           
  3. After you do that, we will appreciate if you would write an email to our Climate Justice IP Team leader, Dr. Baiju Markose, and let him know what you did.

Shanta Premawardhana

President

Shanta Premawardhana is president of OMNIA Institute for Contextual Leadership. Prior to OMNIA, he served as the Director for Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation at the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. He was also the Associate General Secretary for Interfaith Relations at the National Council of Churches, USA. While serving as pastor of Ellis Avenue Church in Chicago, he engaged in community organizing in the Southside of Chicago. He is an emeritus trustee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, National Council of Churches, USA, and Common Cause Illinois. He earned his Ph.D. at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

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OMNIA's Climate Justice IP Team wants you to get religious leaders to demand that governments support Climate Justice at the UN.

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