‘We have faith’ is displayed boldly in every corner where the Faith Secretariat has a considerable presence here at the COP17.
The first and only other time I’ve visited Africa was in 2000, in Ghana representing The United Church of Canada at a gathering of African lay centres. And as soon as I stepped onto the continent again yesterday, memories of witnessing the deep faith of Africans were rekindled.
During my earlier visit, I learned how Africans pray at the start and end of each journey, beginning with a prayer for safe travel to the next destination and ending with prayers of gratitude for arrival.
There is no greater reason to hope for success at these climate talks than that found in the faith of Africans themselves.
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will, no doubt, inspire what is expected to be a huge interfaith rally here tomorrow. It is so right that prayer be our first act.
At a public event on climate change held in an Ottawa church on October 23rd, Elizabeth May said of the COP17, “It’s going to take a miracle to get the agreement the world needs.” Then, after a momentary pause, she added “But I’m a Christian. I believe in miracles! Let’s all pray for a miracle in Durban.”
Praying for a miracle seems to come easily here. South Africans have seen their prayers for a miracle answered within their lifetime, in the dismantling of apartheid. Africans are leading us in prayer for a miracle in Durban. We join them in prayer for a miracle that is achievable.
We begin the journey praying in the hope that we will have reason to pray with gratitude on December 10th, arriving safely at our destination.