Ama van Dantzig

Halleluyah, the Church of Climate Change is here

We are all trying to race towards the promises of success. As we go, we get stuck in the mucky mess of our Greed-Dressed-As-Ambition. What are we willing to die for? Or rather to live for - and what kind of life? Is it economic wealth? How about our lungs and the air we breathe? The food we eat? The soil? The future? Now take a deep breath...

One sunny Saturday, a group of curious and concerned people gathered in the shade of large bamboo roof at the beach in Apam, Ghana. People from the arts, activism, business, waste management and more. The spot belongs to the Haduwa Arts and Culture Institute and, like a cathedral on the coast, is always open and welcoming to those who want to create freely and openly.
The perfect place for our first pop-up church mass.

Why church, you ask? As one of us said, “there are problems with churches: some are too noisy, some pastors are no good, and why is Jesus always portrayed as white?”

But there is a lot right about the idea of a church too. Churches build and nurture strong, supportive communities. They provide space for reflection and stress relief. They are self-sufficient, generating funds and support for their own projects through their members. At its best, a church is a strong community with a shared mindset and conscious practice.

On the eroding coastline, where history and present meet through the old forts, we took long walks, rested, wrote and committed to the values we believe will change the way we look at our environment and our connection to it. We took deep breaths of fresh air.

Our mass started to flow. Being together, sharing joy and pain is a spiritual experience.

“You know, all that is living seems to be asphyxiated. Everything is clogged, from arteries, to roads, to gutters, to rivers, to oceans. Plastic everywhere. The slow suffocation of the flow. Burning garbage, car tires, plastic waste, electronic waste, all the fumes in the air of a traffic choked city.”

We committed to redefining the concept of church to serve the needs of a community that must face the greatest challenge of humanity now: climate change and environmental decline. Our church is not about Christianity. It has no bible, no preacher or a creed. We will create it ourselves, together. Everyone is welcome. It is a safe haven; a space to share our hopes and dreams in the wake of the effects of climate change. An answer to the question, how can we deal with this reality together? A community to own our problems, think, and take action.

At the end of the mass, we decided we will leave this place better than we found it: L.I.B.T.Y.F.I. A core principle of our alternative pop-up church. We proudly planted tree seedlings before we left Apam, hoping the roots of these trees will hold together the sand and protect the coast until our children return.

The Church of Climate Change is launching ideas and thoughtful action for climate resilience. Join us here.

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