Laudato si’, COP26 and multi-faith climate action

Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 2-3pm


09:19 Q&A with Christine Allen

30:30 Response by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

37:50 Audience Q&A

Pre-event background

Amid the global pandemic, we are inspired to see so many of our members adapting to the circumstances – reaching out to vulnerable people and communities while keeping focused on climate action. Without diminishing the sheer exhaustion, fear, sadness and anxiety that is part of our lives now, FFTC is offering events and resources to help us all move forward with urgent climate action whilst acknowledging the seriousness of Covid-19.

With this in mind, I am proud to announce our first webinar, a special Q&A with Christine Allen, Director of CAFOD, an FFTC member and part of one of the largest aid networks in the world. Join us on Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 2-3pm to be informed and inspired by Christine’s valuable insights. This event commemorates the fifth anniversary of Laudato si’, the historic second encyclical from Pope Francis, published in 2015, which called for integrated, urgent environmental care and social justice. The significance of Laudato si’ for other faith communities will also be explored in this webinar by Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg. The session will connect these learnings to address how faith and non-faith groups can continue adapting effectively to current uncertainties whilst staying the course with climate action. This balance is vital, given the postponement of this year’s UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow.

I’m also excited to say that this event kicks off a continuing series of webinars which will draw out the rich insights of the different faith communities engaged in climate action in the UK, including many of you on this list! We’re already brainstorming a wealth of ideas, but if you have any suggestions or questions, please feel free to get in touch with me directly.


Christine Allen has held leadership positions at two faith-based international development organisations for the last seventeen years, most recently as the Director of Policy and Public Affairs for Christian Aid. Previously, Christine was Progressio’s Executive Director for eleven years from 2001-2012. Before joining Progressio, she worked for ten years in the area of housing, poverty and social exclusion in the UK as Head of Public Affairs at the National Housing Federation and Education Department Co-ordinator at the Catholic Housing Aid Society (CHAS). Her career began as a field worker with the Justice and Peace Commission in the Archdiocese of Liverpool in 1987 and as CAFOD’s campaigns coordinator in 1989.

Jonathan Wittenberg, was born in Glasgow to a German Jewish refugee family. He was appointed Rabbi of the New North London Masorti Synagogue in 1987 and Senior Rabbi of the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues UK in 2008. He is a President of the Council of Christians and Jews and a member of the Council of Imams and Rabbis. He is a co-founder of Eco-Synagogue and and is deeply engaged in environmental issues. He is closely involved in supporting refugees. He teaches and speaks widely, including on Radio 4’s Prayer for the Day. His recent books include My Dear Ones: One Family and the Final Solution (2016) and Things My Dog Has Taught Me: About being a better human (2017).

The webinar is hosted by me, Shanon Shah, and I am hugely looking forward to it. You can find out more about me on our website. As a Muslim, I regard this opportunity as a huge blessing for the end-of-Ramadan countdown to Eid al-Fitr.

We’ll be promoting this event on social media and through our partners and networks, so watch those spaces. You’ll be receiving our regular monthly e-news by the end of this week, too, but I wanted to share this news with all of you first so that you can book your places now and help us to spread the word.

Warm good wishes to you all.