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1. We believe in and worship one God in three persons, God who created the world, Christ who came to save the whole world, and God’s Holy Spirit who renews and gives us hope. Our responsibility for the environment is a logical consequence of this belief and this responsibility is binding for the entire Church.
The protection of nature and environment is a task which cuts across departmental and hierarchical boundaries. For this reason, environmental issues must be discussed at every level. Ecological responsibility is an intrinsic part of the Churches’ administration and leadership roles. The concept of caring for the environment must become an integrated component of all Church education and training programmes.
2. God’s concerns are for the whole-created order, and so our decisions are taken in solidarity with other world regions.
In particular we wish to open ourselves to the experience of people in other parts of the world, who often live a simpler lifestyle and use sustainable technologies. A high quality of life is not synonymous with our own model of prosperity with its inherent waste of resources. An example of solidarity with other regions is to trade fairly.
3. Our God is an eternal God whose care for people in the past is revealed in the scriptures, and whose care through the Holy Spirit extends to current and future generations.
We therefore respect the rights of the generations to come, by:
- Not taking an unfair proportion of the world’s resources in just a couple of generations.
- Not leaving the earth scarred by pollution for future generations to inherit.
4. The Earth belongs to the Lord. We are called to be wise stewards by respecting the life of plants and animals.
Accordingly, Church property and land should be designed to provide habitats for plants and animals. By this, we mean the greening of our facades: meadows instead of lawns, composting refraining from the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers, and providing nesting sites.
5. On the threshold of the Promised Land Moses gave the people a choice between life and death. To choose life meant to draw on the teachings promoting care for all people and good husbandry of animals and land.
We should manage our church lives with respect for the well-being of both peoples and the environment. We recommend:
- The sparing use of raw materials and energy, to protect the environment and reduce costs.
- Taking long-term decisions to allow for probable increases in energy costs as well as those costs resulting from environmental damage.
- That all Church activities be subject to environmental checks.
6. Jesus said: "I have come that you may have life in fullness", but he did not say: I have come that you can live life in material excess.
Therefore we suggest that Churches adopt the following 4 principles:
- Reduce – for example: reducing energy consumption by 5% per year.
- Refuse - for example: refuse to buy paper from uncertified sources.
- Reuse - for example: use china rather than disposable plates and cups.
- Recycle – for example: recycle printer cartridges.
7. On the seventh day God rested and so inaugurated a time of rest, reflection and celebration
The concept of the Sabbath reminds us of:
- The value of taking time out from our consumptive lifestyles.
- That time may be viewed as being cyclical rather than just linear, for example we give thanks for God’s bounty at harvest each year.
- That the scriptures tell us that animals and land should have a period of rest too.
Using these seven motivations as our guide, we in the European Christian Environmental Network wish to seek new ways of living and working which are in harmony with creation. We do this in the belief that God’s gracious love encourages us to change our ways of thinking and acting.
For more about the theological basis of ECEN's work, please see our ECEN Inaugural Theological Statement, produced at Vilemov, and which will be amended and updated as we continue to reflect and share our insights together
Churches in Europe
Church of EnglandEvangelical Lutheran Church of FinlandNorthelbian Lutheran Church in GermanyProtestant Church in Germany (EKD)Evangelical Lutheran Church of NorwayCatholic Church in HungaryEvangelical-Lutheran Church in HungaryReformed Church in HungaryChurch of Sweden
Churches Together in Britain and Ireland National Council of Churches in Denmark World Council of Churches - Climate programmeA RochaQuaker Council for European Affairs - Sustainable Energy Blog Catholic Ecology Forum EuropeCzech Christian Environmental Network Operation Noah Eco-Congregation Green Christian Argeschoepfungsverantwortung NCC USA - Eco-Justice Programmes Season of creation ChurchCare-Shrinking the footprint EcoChurch Southwest