Church ringing out warning of climate change

St Stephen's bellringers Ali Macfarlane (tower captain) and Richard Pether

St Stephen's bellringers Ali Macfarlane (tower captain) and Richard Pether - Credit: St Stephen's Church

A St Albans church has rung out a grim warning about the perils of climate change.

Bells at St Stephen’s Church were used to highlight the issue on Saturday evening as part of a national initiative involving bellringers across the country.

The event took place on the eve of the COP 26 summit in Glasgow, which brings together  various nations and other agencies to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Locally bells were also rung at Watford, Bushey, Langleybury and Abbots Langley.

The ringing of bells is usually associated with calls to church services and with national celebrations or mourning, but there have been times when they were designated as a means of warning against possible invasions, for example by Hitler or Napoleon. Last Saturday, they were rung as a warning against the threat of global warming.

St Stephen's Church, Watling Street, St Albans

St Stephen's Church, Watling Street, St Albans - Credit: St Stephen's Church

Climate change is an issue which St Stephen’s parish takes very seriously. Both St Stephen’s and St Julian’s churches are working to become more sustainable in all their activities, gaining the Bronze Eco church award in 2020.

Reducing their carbon footprint is a top priority, installing a new energy efficient lighting system at St Stephen’s and thermal curtains at St Julian’s, with the aim of meeting the Church of England’s target of reaching net zero carbon by 2030. Protecting nature is also a priority and the churchyard and church garden are being managed to encourage biodiversity.

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Rachel Johnston, parish environment officer said: "Taking urgent action on the environment is vital to protect the precious eco-systems on which all life depends.

"Our bells have rung out over this city for generations but never before has our country faced danger in the way we do now. For the sake of our children, we are calling on world leaders at COP26 to be courageous, take the decisions needed to prevent further destruction and work together to build a just, fair and sustainable world."