Parishes in Province I are invited to ring their church bells 350 times on a Sunday in the last week of November to call public attention to the problem of climate warming.
Three hundred fifty parts per million (ppm) is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that our planet can sustain without causing cataclysmic and irreversible damage to life as we know it. The level of CO2 in our atmosphere is currently 385 ppm and climbing.
Environmental author Bill McKiggen has launched a worldwide movement to make 350 the most recognized number on the planet, a number that represents safety.
Every congregation is being asked to pick a date between Sunday, Nov. 23 (Christ the King Sunday) and Sunday, Nov. 30 (First Sunday of Advent) to ring its church bell 350 times; if your bell is too old to take 350 rings, or if your church has neither steeple nor steeple bells, hand bells can be used.
Bisho Bud Cederholm sent a letter to clergy last week urging them to commit to the 350 campaign. The hope is to get 350 churches throughout New England to participate.
Why these dates?
The days from Nov. 23-30 offer meaningful theological connections. On Nov. 23, we celebrate our crucified and risen Lord who redeems all Creation; on Nov. 27 we celebrate Thanksgiving and the God who entrusts Creation to our care; on Nov. 30 we enter a new liturgical year and listen to Advent's themes of repentance, waking up, and preparing for God in Christ to come in power.
"In 2003 the bishops of New England released the Episcopal Church's first Pastoral Letter n the environment, 'To Serve Christ in All Creation.' Five years later, Episcopal churches across New England now have another opportunity for leadership as we raise awareness of the urgency of fighting climate change," said Bishop Bud Cederholm.
This past spring, some 330 parishioners and clergy helped lobby their state legistlators to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act in Massachusetts which was signed into law by the governor in July. This effort will take the campaign to another level.
"Emboldened by the Sprit given to us by the crucified and risen Christ, we proclaim our revrence for the Earth that God has given us to cherish and protect; our commitment to the poor, who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change; and our concern for future generations, who depend on us to pass on to them a habitable world,” said Cederholm.