Presiding Bishop’s delegation to attend 24th United Nations climate change conference

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Posted Nov 28, 2018

An eight-member delegation representing the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will attend the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, December 2-14. This is the fourth Episcopal delegation to attend this climate change meeting.

Known as COP24, the United Nations Climate Change Conference is an annual intergovernmental meeting to focus on global dialogue and action around the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This conference produced the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement, which serves as the current basis for global standards on climate action and lowering carbon emissions.

Called by Presiding Bishop Curry and led by Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California, the COP24 delegation will advocate for the environmental priorities named at the Episcopal Church’s 79th General Convention and promote the Church’s ministries and activities to address ecojustice in both United Nations and public events.

“What I have found in participating in the United Nations climate summits from Paris onwards is that the thousands of national representatives from virtually every country on Earth are also local climate activists. These remarkable COP representatives are updating the adage from the 1970s, ‘think globally and act locally’ to be ‘think and act globally and locally’,” said Andrus. “Thinking and acting, globally and locally is what we in The Episcopal Church are about. At General Convention 79 in Austin we passed 19 pieces of environmentally-related resolutions, and we also heard compelling stories of local action. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams once said, ‘It takes a global body to confront global problems.’ The Episcopal Church is a global body doing climate and environmental work at the world and the local levels.”

The delegation will bring the voice and perspective from Episcopalians around the globe to the diplomatic community gathering in Katowice. It will also coordinate with Anglican Communion, interfaith and civil society partners in their presence at the conference.

“Resolutions coming out of the 79th General Convention have given the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations additional tools to advocate for care of creation – from allowing us to be engaged around advocacy for our earth’s oceans to recognizing the need to address carbon emissions,” said Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director, Office of Government Relations. “We look forward to partnering with organizations and governments around the world to work for an earth that will sustain us for generations to come.”

“Following the Presiding Bishop’s call for life-giving, liberating, and loving care of creation, our witness at COP24 informs our ministry and helps us safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth,” added Melanie Mullen, the Episcopal Church’s director of reconciliation, justice, and creation care.

How to participate

  • Follow the delegation on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using #EpiscopalClimate:
    • @EpiscoClimate on Twitter will provide the most up-to-date tracking at COP24.
    • @EpiscopalUN on Facebook and Twitter will provide more UN-specific updates.
    • The Episcopal Public Policy Network will highlight opportunities for action around policy. Find them @TheEPPN on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
    • The Episcopal Church primary accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will share videos, Facebook Live feeds and periodic summary updates about the conference.
  • When engaging on social media, submit your prayers for climate action and stories about what your faith community is doing to protect the environment.
  • Share this release in parish announcements and on social media.


Bishop Curry has named a bishop representative, a clergy representative, and a lay representative to represent him at COP24. They will be accompanied by other Episcopalians and members of the Presiding Bishop’s staff. Episcopalians with accredited observer status are:

  • The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California (bishop representative)
  • Dr. Sheila Andrus, ecological entomologist and science manager, Episcopal Diocese of California
  • Mr. Jack Cobb, domestic and environmental policy advisor, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations
  • The Rev. Lester Mackenzie, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Laguna Beach, California (clergy representative)
  • Ms. Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church representative to the United Nations
  • Dr. Andrew R. H. Thompson, visiting assistant professor of theological ethics, School of Theology, University of the South (lay representative)
  • The Rev. Melanie Mullen, Episcopal Church director for reconciliation, justice and creation care
  • Mr. Alan Yarborough, communications coordinator and office manager, Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations

Observer status allows each of these team members the ability to brief UN representatives on the Episcopal Church’s General Convention climate resolutions and to attend a variety of meetings in the official zone.

“The continuity fostered by our COP delegations’ attendance at the annual UN Climate Change Conferences has a multiplier effect for our broader Episcopal and Anglican influence at the United Nations,” said Lynnaia Main, Episcopal Church representative to the United Nations. “Our actions in Katowice will strengthen a broader base of UN ministry that includes eradicating poverty through the Sustainable Development Goals, supporting migrants and refugees, defending indigenous peoples, mainstreaming gender and protecting rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

More information on this year’s meeting can be found here.

For more information contact Lynnaia Main at