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Archbishop Tutu leads Environment Day prayers at Arctic Cathedral

May 31 2007:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

For some Christians, World Environment Day this year will start two days early – with a special service held on Sunday at the Arctic Cathedral in Tromso, Norway, led by South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Tromso bishop Per Oskar Kjølaas.

A new ecumenical liturgy, written specially for the event will address the environmental challenges faced by countries all over the world in the June 3 service – but it will express hope for the future as much as sadness for the current threats posed by climate change.

Attendees include Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, will participate in the worship together with other church leaders, young people and people from counties impacted by climate change.

The friendship between Norwegian and South African churches goes back a generation. Since the 1960s the Church of Norway was one of the great supporters of the fight against apartheid, giving substantial financial support to the South African Council of Churches from 1978 onwards.

The Arctic is a particularly poignant choice for such a service. As a terrifying new map issued by UNEP’s Tunza Magazine for youth shows, most if not all of Norway’s 1671 glaciers are due to melt over the next 100 years, and the effect of climate change is accelerating already: the amount of ice in the Arctic sea shrank by 14 per cent in just one year between 2004 and 2005, and might disappear completely by 2007.

The service will be transmitted on Norwegian national television.

World Environment Day this year is Tuesday, June 5.

Link here for the Tunza meltdown map.

Link here for details of ARC's Norway meeting in 2006 to lay down a framework for religious groups to work in partnership with secular donor agencies.

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