British missions society writes prime minister about global warming

DIDCOT, England (ABP) -- The urgent need for action on global climate change is the subject on which a 217-year-old British Baptist missionary-sending organization has chosen to write what its leaders believe to be the group's first-ever open letter to a prime minister.

BMS World Mission, formed in 1792 and known for much of its history as the Baptist Missionary Society, pledged to pray for Prime Minister Gordon Brown leading up to a crucial climate conference that starts Dec. 7 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The letter, written along with A Rocha, a Christian conservation organization, says BMS World Mission has throughout its history centereed on "deep concern for the poorest peoples of the world." The groups said a strong Copenhagen deal is crucial to averting or minimizing the effects of greenhouse-gas emissions, which charities including Christian Aid and Tearfund say are already negatively affecting the world's poorest countries. 
"We could have added our voice to the many who are shouting, demanding and pleading for action from the world’s leaders," said Mark Craig, director of communications for BMS. "We decided instead to write our first-ever open letter, to Prime Minister Gordon Brown."

The letter, signed by BMS World Mission General Director David Kerrigan and A Rocha UK CEO Steve Hughes, asked Brown to ensure that the United Kingdom speaks for the interests of the poor of the world and provides clear leadership to other nations in that regard.

Beyond that, it pledged prayerful support for the climate summit.

"Please be assured that you have the prayers, not only of the BMS family globally, but also of the Christian leaders whose organizations and communities worldwide have given their support to this letter."

Supporting organizations included 25 different Baptist groups from various parts of the world. Leaders endorsing the letter included Paul Montacute, director of Baptist World Aid, the relief-and-development arm of the Baptist World Alliance.


--Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.

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