Between November 6th and 18th, 2022, the UN climate conference COP 27 took place on the Sinai Peninsula, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Religious communities and religious leaders have a key role to play in addressing climate change and climate justice, which requires deep transformation within society. The knowledge of what changes are critically needed to diminish long-term harm to the planet is readily available. However, bringing about change in action demands deeper changes in attitude, a change of heart. This has been the domain of religions for millennia. Religions are sources of inspiration for the transformation of heart and the ensuing changes of attitude.
To support, challenge and inspire discussions during COP 27 at Sharm El Sheikh, Elijah, in collaboration with the Peace Department and Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, will be holding a meeting of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders (the 10th in number) and releasing messaging, resources and content that seek to complement practical conversations a the COP with a spiritual, interreligious vision. Drawing our inspiration from Mount Sinai and using Mount Sinai as anchor for the present initiative, Elijah leaders will release the fruit of the consultation of Elijah leaders.
Echoing the notion of the ten commandments, given at Sinai, Elijah leaders have formulated 10 Principles for Climate Repentance. “Returning to Mount Sinai – 10 Principles for Climate Repentance” is a document featuring spiritual principles, drawn from all faith traditions, that provide a spiritual vision that should frame our actions and attitudes to creation. Our attitudes have direct consequences for climate justice. This document, the fruit of consultation among close to 50 Elijah affiliated religious leaders, offers a synthetic spiritual vision that positions man in relation to God, nature (creation) and the other. A full vision of what it means to be human, in relation to creation, opens the door to action that is in line with the higher vision that all religions share.
In light of these spiritual principles, we will hold a repentance (return) ceremony, to help bring to our awareness the spiritual principles, to help orient us by touching hearts and to enter a penitential space, in relation to creation. Patriarch Bartholomew, the so called Green Patriarch, and founding member of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders has called for repentance in relation to sins committed against the earth. This ideas was picked up by Pope Francis in his Laudato Si, devoted to religious responses to climate change. To date, no gathering of religious leaders has enacted an interreligious repentance ceremony. Following on the release of the 10 spiritual principles, Elijah leaders and others will engage in the first such ceremony. This is meant to serve as a model for other religious leaders and other communities to enact this ceremony in their respective settings. This website will help keep track of the continued use and application of the repentance ceremony.