Bringing together over hundred participants from Europe and beyond, the virtual Assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) highlighted diverse Christian perspectives in addressing contemporary challenges posed by environmental degradation.
The Assembly held from 13 to 15 June 2022 under the title "Challenges we are living in" focused on challenges faced by communities on the way to a sustainable future, including issues related to energy security, European Green Deal and climate vulnerability from church perspective.
“Our way of looking at nature and creation must change,” said Archbishop K. G. Hammar of the Church of Sweden, a keynote speaker. “We must let God transform our eyes so that we see what God sees when he looks upon his creation, and not with the eyes of greed or dominion.”
“Ecology have taught us that humans are not above everything else. We are part of everything and heavily dependent on the web of life, where we dwell. Theology must be metamorphosis theology. All theology must be kenosis theology and eco-theology,” added Archbishop Hammar.
Dr Ruth Valerio, Global Advocacy and Influencing Director at Tearfund, emphasised that hope is integral part of all the actions needed to save our common future. She underlined the links between worship, work and witness, that formulates a holistic response to environmental challenges.
Members of the European Parliament Sirpa Pietikainen from Finland and Martin Hojsík from Slovakia stressed that “there is no more time for mere discussions. “We know what is the challenge, we have resources, we have still some time – let’s do what is needed.” They stressed that as “societies and communities we must admit that we have reached the limits what the planet can bear. We have lost our humility. However, we still have solutions in our hands.”
The panel also explored topics such as ecological challenges, learning from the pandemic, energy security and growing vulnerability to climate change, European Green Deal and the role of churches, advocacy and dialogue of churches with politics, networking and cooperation, as well as environment, climate justice, and peace.
The Assembly also explore the role of care for creation and ecological justice in the upcoming Assembly of the World Council of Churches, the winners of the ECEN Roman Juriga Award were announced, as well as concerns related to climate justice and a sustainable future from the perspective of the ecumenical youth were highlighted.
Session 1 -Theological perspective of the current ecological challenges
Archbishop K. G. Hammar (Church of Sweden)
Dr Ruth Valerio (Global Advocacy and Influencing Director, Tearfund)
Session 2 - What did we learn from the pandemic? How to react to demands of energy security? Growing vulnerability to climate change - Advocacy and dialogue of churches with politics
Sirpa Pietikainen, MEP (Finland)
Martin Hojsik, MEP (Slovakia)
Dave Bookless, Director of Theology, A Rocha International
Kees Nieuwerth, Moderator of the CEC thematic group on a sustainable future
Session 3 - Future of ECEN and Election of the ECEN Enabling team
Jørgen Skov Sørensen, General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches
Henrik Grape & Stephen Taylor, ECEN
Session 4 - Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity - care for creation in the agenda of WCC Assembly 2022
Athena Peralta, WCC Climate Change group
Beate Fagerli, Church of Norway
Dinesh Suna, WCC Assembly planning group
Marc Witzenbacher, WCC Assembly planning group
Session 5 - Announcement of the winner of the Roman Juriga Award 2022
Climate Justice – A Concern of Ecumenical Youth
Session 6 - Every part of creation matters - Panel on green theology and upcoming projects with engagement of churches in Europe