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Churches turn out the lights for Earth Hour

Churches, mosques and synagogues across the globe turned out the lights last month for WWF’s Earth Hour 2013 ...

Churches, mosques and synagogues across the globe turned out the lights last month for WWF’s Earth Hour 2013, with many of those religious communities committing to going ‘Beyond the Hour’ by making an environmental pledge.

Although WWF’s Earth Hour campaign is apolitical and non-religious, it promotes a message of hope and action for the planet that unites people of all beliefs.

Some of the most important religious landmarks in the world took part on 23 March by turning off their lights for an hour, including Rio de Janeiro's iconic Christ The Redeemer Statue, The Church of the Nativity (Birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem) and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi; the largest mosque in the UAE.

Here in the UK, Westminster Abbey, Durham Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey also went dark.

Many other smaller religious institutions across the world got involved too. North Rand Methodist church in Johannesburg, South Africa celebrated Earth Hour by holding a special candle-lit service.

“During that time we shared stories about how nature had inspired, helped and nurtured us in our lives … and gave thanks to the many people around the world who do care for the environment and work so hard to protect it,” says church member Anne van Vliet.

Ampthill Baptist Church in Bedfordshire also went dark for the hour, but also increased its commitment by organising its own EcoFestival. The event featured guest speakers from World Vision and Water Aid, demonstrations on recycling and composting and a Swap Shop where visitors could pick up clothes, books and toys for free. They even ran a charity shop challenge where participants had to create a whole outfit for no more than £10.

Groovebulb, the official lightbulb of Earth Hour 2013, join WWF in encouraging organisations to see how they can continue to show their commitment to the planet by going ‘Beyond the Hour’. Suggestions include providing recycling facilities, turning off electrical devices at the plug and installing energy saving LED lightbulbs.

More advice for religious organisations wishing to support Earth Hour (and go Beyond the Hour) can be found on the Earth Hour website.

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