The 8th ECEN Assembly from 9-13 June 2010 takes place in the International Baptist Theological Seminary set on the edge of the forest near Prague, Czech Republic.
Download the call and prayer from the Assembly in Danish.
Download the call and prayer from the Assembly in Spanish
Dear friends in Christ,
We write to you as 85 participants – representing 23 countries – gathered at the European Christian Environment Network’s (ECEN) 8th Assembly, held at the International Baptist Theological Seminary at Prague, 9-13 June 2010. This took place under the theme of 'Our Daily Bread - living in a Time of Climate Change', with contributions from churches of Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions.
Considering the contemporary serious social, economic and financial crises we face today, we ask churches and Christians of Europe to be carefully vigilant, and wherever possible to oppose trends which distract and deter us from environmental sustainability.
In spite of the disappointing outcome from the international negotiations at Copenhagen last December, many of our churches continue to be actively committed to addressing the challenges of catastrophic climate change threatening God’s creation on Earth. We are already facing the extinction of living organisms and of ecological sustainability across the world, and especially in more vulnerable countries, communities and habitats. Displaced people and environmental refugees also require justice in Europe and elsewhere.
The consequences of climate change often affect the poor and excluded more than those who cause the damage, increasing injustice, sometimes with militaristic zeal.
We believe our churches have a strong role to play in responding to these challenges, and indeed their engagement in grassroots movements and campaigns before and after Copenhagen are to be applauded. At this Assembly we have heard compelling evidence of the links between the ways we produce our food and environmental damage.
Modern lifestyles and patterns of food consumption pose great risks for our future. For instance, current intensive meat production is the number one contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions (according to figures from FAO) and the drive to provide cheap food comes at an environmental cost. The soil is often overstressed, with excessive use of chemicals, and biodiversity is depleted. Many species of wild plants and animals are under threat of extinction from loss of habitat. The quantities of energy and water required by agro-businesses are unsustainable on current demands. Additionally, 'food miles', the risks of the genetic modification of organisms, food insecurity, and an excessive dependency on intensive meat production, all raise serious ethical questions for Christians in all our churches.
Faith-based organisations must develop their calling to bring hope turning words into actions inspired by the presence of the Holy Spirit in all life. Our hope springs from the gospel of the Triune God who creates, redeems and sanctifies the world and takes us into the divine act of love as co-workers in Creation. So it is our wish to encourage church leaders, church councils and all believers in Christ to respond to such food issues, and to demonstrate their concerns with us to our wider society and to lead by examples of new ways of sustainable living.
We therefore encourage you to join us in increasing your awareness and engagement, remembering that 'daily bread' for all life is a gift of God. We invite you to recognise that feeding the world raises deep questions as people experiencing hunger or poor diet are not able to grow in the image of their Maker. This is not right!
Furthermore, we should recall that irrespective of its worth to people, the whole inhabited world is of value to the triune God.
Our passionate pastoral concern for future generations of human and non-human life on Earth leads us to be extremely troubled about these complex but very real food questions. As Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, 'Food for myself is a material concern; for my neighbour is a spiritual matter'.
Finally, we offer this prayerful reflection on our Lord's Prayer for you to use in your own church and ministry at this critical time which is a 'kairos' moment for us”¦
Delegates and participants of the Assembly in Prague
O Holy God who is present in all heaven and earth, you nurture and care for us in our daily lives. May we live today as if tomorrow matters.
We are called to worship you and live according to ways of peace and justice, and sustainably in community.
Help us to be good neighbours and to recognise that our relationships are broken and the planet's ecosystems are fractured. We see that the whole creation is struggling with changing conditions and our communities are fragmented by inequality and division.
We recognise your generosity in providing for our food. Let us not forget that the world's foods are not equally shared and while some over-eat, others go hungry.
We confess that we have developed a dependency on debt which causes idolatry, insecurity and injustice, and are losing communities of caring and sharing.
We regret that we are tempted by the idols of death and we forget the vulnerable, preferring our own superficial addictions rather than our deeper potential.
Help us to choose to return to the holiness of each moment and to reject the temptations of excessive greed and speed. May we be delivered from excessive pride that the Earth be healed and our lives be re-shaped by the grace of your Word and Spirit.
For the gifts of light, life and love are yours, now and for ever and from age to age.
For the reign, the glory and the power are yours.