WCC honors legacy of lost staff member, launches resource on economic and ecological justice

A resource rooted to the congregation level of churches engagement in ecological and economic justice was launched during a public event at the World Council of Churches (WCC) headquarters in Geneva on 12 March. The publication is the fruit of a long work led by Rev. Norman Tendis, WCC consultant for Economy of Life, who was one of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on 10 March.

The “Roadmap for Congregations, Communities and Churches for an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice”  is an invitation to join a pilgrimage for an Economy of Life and climate justice, to commit to make changes in the way people live, to share successful ideas and to encourage one another.

Tendis, who also served as a pastor of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria, was on his way to the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly, in Nairobi, Kenya, where he planned to launch the roadmap.

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said the loss of Tendis still feels like a shock. “We are a bit shaken, all of us, still, and that is quite okay. That is how life is,”  said Tveit. “I’m still convinced that what we do now is important. What he was committed to, is what we are committed to together. We can use the roadmap not only as a discussion starter but also as a way to act immediately.”


Prof. Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, recalled interviewing Tendis when he applied for his job at the WCC. “All of us on the panel, we were attracted to his enthusiasm for his job. He was a man with a mission. He was already practicing those things at the congregational level. He knew he had a message for the ecumenical movement to share,”  said Phiri.

“The roadmap is an invitation for us as faith-based institutions and communities to walk the talk on economic and ecological justice in our daily lives and activities and to become a movement for transformation”, said Athena Peralta, WCC programme executive for economic and ecological justice.

“On 11 March, we presented the roadmap at the UN Environment Assembly through a side-event titled ‘Eco-just churches and communities: models for living sustainably and with justice’as part of the Faith for Earth Initiative”, added Peralta. “While we sorely missed his presence and voice, Norman would have been happy to know that the roadmap he was instrumental in developing stimulated a rich exchange of inspiring practices from different faith traditions”, she added.

The publication offers a 5-step programme to change the way we deal with the economy and our ecological surroundings in the following areas: Living in accordance with the covenant with God and creation, Renewable Energy & Climate Protection, Just and Sustainable Consumption, Economies of Life and Networking.

You can find out more and download the Roadmap here.

Source: WCC