Church, Climate and Social Justice

This was the title for an ecumenical conference, held by the network Green Church in Denmark, that gathered people from different churches and faith-based organizations with a common interest.

Filled with exiting seminars, talks and inputs, the program for the conference covered stories and themes from the local to the global perspective. The local stories came form Green Church network of churches who are all working in different ways in caring for creation. One church has incorporated the SDGs into their strategy and plan for all the work in the church – both practically and in theology. Another church has put up solar panels on the roof, made rainwater collection on the grounds and nature bingo for the youth groups in the church. These stories, from Green Church’ network, are inspiring and uplifting to share and makes people want to go home and do something similar.

Another way of building on the local engagement of the churches was through seminars. “Youth and climate crisis”, “green theology” and “green churches in Europe” was the headlines for the seminars designed to give the participants something concrete that they can use in their daily church life. Peter Pavlovic participated online and presented ECEN, the work of CEC and also introduced the material that is being developed for Season of Creation each year. A local pastor in a youth church shared how topics about climate should be integrated in a low key and relaxed atmosphere where the youths are part of setting the agenda and developing the content. Finally, green theology integrated into liturgy, sermons and other teachings in the church was taught in a down to earth, concrete way.

Lifting our eyes from the local perspective, we wanted to also focus and climate and social justice on a global scale. A representative from DanChurchAid talked about the theological thoughts behind the connection between climate and diakonia. Following this, we visited Kenya online, were an NGO, together with the Anglican Church, has made climate friendly wood fired stoves distributed under the name “Green Anglicans”. This reduce CO2, minimizes deaths and accidents with opens fires and is more cost efficient. With this concrete example the conference participants discussed in groups how climate and social justices is connected and how we can put more focus on this and how the church can play a part in it.

To round of the day, we were visited online by Bishop Thomas from the Coptic-Orthodox Church in Egypt. He shared stories from Anafora, a retreat center in the desert of Egypt were they, amongst others, are hosting training courses in sustainable ways of living, teachin local Egyptians to recycle, reduce, reuse etc. The bishop also talked about his holistic, theological view on climate crisis and social justice that is also being taught and lived in Anafora.

All in all, a wonderful day, filled with inspiring inputs and concrete ideas.

Green Church in Denmark is an ecumenical network of 280 (and counting) churches that are caring for creation. Concretely, they have filled out our checklist with 6 different categories: theology, information, purchase, energy, transport and outdoor areas and waste. Find the checklist in English here:

For contact with Green Church: gronkirkeatgronkirke [dot] dk

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