CALGARY, November 22, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - On Sunday, November 27, 2011, former United Church Moderator, the Very Rev. Dr. Bill Phipps, will begin a 10-day fast in support of the political, religious, and civil society leaders who will be gathering in Durban, South Africa, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17).
"My fast is a prayer of hope, encouragement, and solidarity for the leaders who gather there," explains Phipps. "Giving up food is my offering, an embodiment of the struggle to save our fragile world."
Phipps conducted a similar fast in 2009 when the UN climate change talks were held in Copenhagen. He says he believes that bold decisions at COP17 are even more urgently needed than they were two years ago.
"Since the meetings in Copenhagen, climate change has accelerated. I feel that humanity's future is in grave peril," says Phipps. "For the healthy future of our earthly home, I believe the Durban meetings are a critical moment in human history."
Phipps, an outspoken activist, says his fast is a form of prayer, not a protest. He explains that fasting is part of many ancient spiritual and religious traditions. It is used by people who want to clear the mind and body and focus on Spirit.
"I believe that a sustainable tomorrow is a spiritual question," he says. "Each and all of us bear responsibility for the ecological legacy we leave for future generations."
Throughout his fast, Phipps will be inviting members of churches, other faiths, and the general public to offer their own prayers for the planet during the meetings in Durban, November 28-December 9, 2011.
In particular, Phipps says he will be holding The United Church of Canada's current Moderator, Mardi Tindal, in his prayers. Tindal will be attending COP17 as part of a World Council of Churches delegation.
During his fast, Phipps also plans to visit the constituency offices of various political leaders, including those of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Alberta Premier Alison Redford. The schedule of those visits can be found at http://www.billphipps.ca/fast-for-courage.html.