The International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS) in Prague was the venue for theologians and environmentalists from all over Europe to gather for a conference on "Creation Care: Christian Environmental Stewardship".
Thirty eight theologians and environmentalists from many different Christian traditions gathered at IBTS, which is working hard to become an eco- seminary, for the four day conference designed to create material to introduce a theology of creation care to seminaries, colleges and institutions from all across Europe and to provide insights and material for the Third European Ecumenical Assembly in Romania in 2007.
Professor Graham Ashworth, President of the Federation for Environmental Education, opened the Conference with a challenging address on the importance of the church being involved in environmental issues. He helped delegates recall some of the horrific statistics about the declining supply of potable water in our world, the challenges of the destruction of the natural habitat of animals and the rapid erosion of non-replaceable fossil fuels.
The communication of a theology of the environment to students was the theme of a comprehensive paper by the Revd Dr John Weaver, who lectures on science and theology in the University of Cardiff. Magister Roman Juriga from the Orthodox Academy at Vilemov in Moravia described their work in theological education and also reported on their practical use of renewable energy through wind turbine, hydro-electric, biomass heating, solar panels and photo-voltaic panels.
Petra Vesel?? and Lina Andronoviene from IBTS described the course in theology of creation care offered to Certificate and Masters students at IBTS and also the practical work of the seminary in creating an ecological environment, recycling and the development of an eco-campus. Dr Martin Hodson from Oxford Brookes University reported on the course he leads in Rural & Environmental Studies. Details of the work of the Christian conservation group, A Rocha, working in the Czech Republic and sixteen other countries, also featured along with details of projects in Italy, Slovakia and Albania, together with a report from Dr John Biggs of Cumbria, on the work of eco-congregations. Paula Clifford from the British Aid and Development Agency, Christian Aid, spoke on the impact of global climate change on the poor.
Afternoons were spent in workshops on theology, mission, ethics and worship. These produced material which will be published for use in colleges, seminaries and education institutions in Europe to stimulate and provide a curriculum for a theology of creation care.
IBTS Rector Keith Jones commented "this has been a very dynamic and exciting conference. Despite all the environmental problems we see we have been reminded of the hope we have because it is God's world. All of us present shared in making commitments in the final act of worship to return to our own activities and redouble our efforts and concern in this area."