My name is Artwell Sipinyu and I am the National Coordinator for the Anglican Relief and Development in Zimbabwe (ARDeZ). My role as the National Coordinator is to coordinate, monitor and offer technical support in the implementation of relief and development programs in the 5 Dioceses of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe.
The motivation for caring for the environment is from Genesis when God created the Earth and it was “Good”, it was what we know as the natural environment that was created. Although it was created for us to enjoy and look after, we were given dominion over all creation. We have not been very good stewards of our one and only planet. I was challenged as I read that as churches we should be in the forefront in advocating for the caring of the environment. I therefore have been challenged to call the whole church, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, to respond radically and faithfully to care for God’s creation, demonstrating our belief and hope in the transforming power of Christ.
In Zimbabwe the challenges we faced in the past were less rainfall that led to drought. But recently we had a Cyclone Idai which destroyed lives, crops, infrastructure and led to drought as well as most crops were washed away or water logged. There is sometimes a heat wave in the country as well, drying water sources due to water evaporating. This has led to people and animals fighting for a few water sources and also people travelling longer distances to get water to drink and use at home. Our destruction of the environment has affected vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our communities. I have realized the impacts of climate change and have witnessed this in my country and the sufferings that the communities are going through because of climate change.
As an individual and as the church we have been challenged to preach about the care for the environment, as this is what God has asked us to do.
Creation by God has also made me understand God better. It has shown us how God is relational. All creation flows from the love that existed before between the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit who were all involved as co-creators. As Christians, we have been reminded that “everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4).