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European Churches Call for more Climate Change action

posted 7 Oct 2014, 05:27 by Martyn Goss   [ updated 26 Nov 2017, 04:52 by Websites Ahoy ]
Martyn Goss (Diocese of Exeter) has just attended the latest assembly of the European Christian Environment Network (ECEN) near Lake Balaton in Hungary. Under the theme of ‘Energy and Climate Change – the Churches’ Role and Voice’, over a hundred Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant delegates from two dozen countries issued a strong call for more urgent Christian action on global warming.

Working Groups on Biodiversity, Eco-Management, Theology, Transition Communities and Climate Change gave those present an opportunity to explore these particular themes further, with each developing action plans for follow-up work. I got to hear of the ‘Lent for the Earth’ project (France), of seed-saving congregations (Austria), of churches involved in Transition Towns (Italy), of carbon-free church centres (Hungary) and Water saving schemes (Greece).

We were told of 6 twinning links across denominations between 10 countries and 9 currencies which have led to a number of environmental projects. These include eco-management work between Germany and Romania, Eco-Congregations in Scotland and Hungary, and energy conservation work in Norway and Belarus. Hungarian Christians spoke of native tree-planting schemes, whilst Germans are making church buildings more energy efficient. UK churches are divesting from fossil fuels and Czechs developing solar, wind and hydro renewable energies.

Attention was drawn to Carbon Fasting – reducing or refraining from eating on the first day of each month, with many ‘fasters’ now joining in from twenty countries.

However, a key underlying message from the Assembly was that current church initiatives, vital as they are, may not be enough. Scientists and theologians at the conference pointed out that the failure of governments to agree to actively cap greenhouse gas emission levels means an even greater challenge.

In its concluding statement, the Assembly urged more prayerful, personal, parochial, political and planetary action, following Bishop James Jones' inspiring opening address.

Further information is available on the ECEN website.