Environmentalist to join Rochester Cathedral in honorary appointment

The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, is delighted to announce that the environmentalist, theologian and social activist, Dr Ruth Valerio, has been appointed to the honorary position of Canon Theologian at Rochester Cathedral.

The College of Canons is a group of clergy and lay people who are part of the Cathedral’s ‘Foundation’ and support the Cathedral Chapter as it leads the mission and ministry of the Cathedral. Canons are usually appointed in recognition of their particular contribution to the Church’s life and ministry.

The appointment will be for 3 years from the beginning of 2020.  Dr Valerio will be officially installed at the Cathedral during a service of Evensong on Sunday 23 February, 2020 at 3.15pm.

This will be followed by a lecture given by Dr Valerio at 5:00pm, which will be live streamed - it is free to attend and all are welcome.

Dr Ruth Valerio is Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at the Christian relief and development charity, Tearfund. In this role she leads a group dedicated to serving those living in poverty by influencing theology and thought, mobilising churches and communities and advocating to governments and institutions.

She carries a vision to inspire and equip Christians to a whole-life response to poverty and to caring for God’s world, helping build a movement that brings about lasting change on the issues that impact the poorest and most vulnerable.

Ruth holds a doctorate from Kings College London and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Winchester and Chichester. She is also author of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book in 2020, ‘Saying Yes to Life’ – offering a Christian reflection on the environmental and poverty crisis.

View a video here of the Archbishop of Canterbury speaking about the climate crisis

Prior to this, Ruth was Churches and Theology Director for A Rocha UK, a Christian charity that works for the protection and restoration of the natural world.

While there she spearheaded the Eco Church initiative, which helps churches consider their environmental impact and make positive changes to care for creation.

Speaking about her appointment Dr Ruth Valerio said:

“It is an immense honour to be appointed Canon Theologian at Rochester Cathedral. I am thrilled with this opportunity to be involved in the life of a church that has been a site of worship for so many hundreds of years.

“We are facing an unprecedented climate emergency and we all have a calling to be part of the solution and to care for God’s earth, remembering we are not living for ourselves, but are part of a wider body of humanity and the natural world.

“I look forward to helping to develop the Diocese’s work in this area.”

The Bishop said:

“Ruth’s appointment could not be more timely as we seek to do more as a community of faith at the cathedral, and across the parishes that make up the Diocese of Rochester, to lighten our impact on the environment.

“We greatly look forward to the inspiration, guidance and expertise her connection to the cathedral will bring to us, as we aim to take better care of God’s creation here in Kent and Medway and the London Boroughs of Bromley and Bexley.”

Ruth’s appointment comes as the Church of England’s Environmental Working Group (EWG) has recently called for all parts of the Church to recognise the Climate Crisis and step up its action to safeguard God’s creation.

The EWG paper highlights future mission challenges for the Church, including a need for churches to be ready to provide sanctuary for those affected by extreme weather events in this country and beyond as the impact of climate change accelerates.

Ruth lives in the south of England with her family and is part of a 24/7 Prayer Network church.




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