By observing June 9 as Environment Sunday and urging the faithful to stay away from the “eco-sins” of water and air pollution, the Mar Thoma Church is treading a green path.
Eco-justice and eco-centric consciousness are dominating the thoughts of Mar Thoma Church in Kerala these days.
From observing June 9 as Environment Sunday and urging the faithful to stay away from the “eco-sins” of water and air pollution, the Mar Thoma Church is treading a green path in the State.
Joseph Mar Thoma, the Apostolic See of Malankara Metropolitan, has called upon the vicars, resident clergy, trustees and members of the parishes under his authority, to stay away from the eco-sins of water pollution and air pollution.
Expanding the description of sin, the Metropolitan, in a recent circular, stated that “sin is not merely embracing evil; misuse of nature that God declared as good also amounts to denial of God.” Hence, “we should strive to stay from the eco-sins,” he said.
The church has also highlighted the need for paying “attention to keeping water resources unpolluted and making drinking water plentifully available to everyone.”
June 9, the first Sunday that comes after World Environment Day, which falls on June 5, would be observed as the Environment Sunday by the church across the parishes and churches.
The Church hopes that the observance of the Environment Sunday would enable them to preserve for “future generations the natural resources God has gifted to all and to cherish eco-justice” as part of its mission.
According to the Metropolitan, the “eco-consciousness has become the main subject of thought within the realm of activities of the Church and the nations of the world. The church must strive to preach in our parishes the scriptural message, “The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it.”(Psalms 24:1) and to cultivate this awareness in society through activities and programs,” urged the Metropolitan.
Raising concerns about the global warming, the spiritual head of the church has called upon the faithful to make “conscious effort to keep the church, roads, houses and their surrounding eco-friendly and to plant trees around the church and in public places. The temperature has risen, beyond limits.” The Metropolitan suggested that solutions for the environmental issues should be sought at the social level. “We also need to have the sense of stewardship, which is necessary for the protection of life that is a gift of God..
The church had made similar green initiatives two years ago, when it called for observing carbon fasting during the period of Lent, the season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter.
That time, Philipose Mar Chrysostom Marthoma Senior Metropolitan of the Marthoma Church, had come out with a 50-point prescription to the faithful to go on a ‘carbon fast' and reduce the carbon footprint. In a book co-authored with Roy P. Thomas, a State Forest Official, the Senior Metropolitan had called upon the faithful to observe carbon fasting in churches. The faithful was called to switch off electrical equipment when not in use, and to remove one electric bulb and live without it for the 50 days during the period of penitence.
The book had described carbon fasting as a “journey through Lent, towards a lighter carbon footprint. The church members were also urged to implement one thing a day so as to reduce the environmental impact. It was also a response to reduce carbon emissions and to support poor communities around the world who were the victims of the impacts of climate change, according to the authors.