The Conference of European Churches has shared a press release on its consultation on Pilgrimage for climate justice and the UN Climate conference in Paris. An RCH delegation led by the Vice-Lay President of our Synod was also present.
The CEC consultation on the Pilgrimage for climate justice which involved 50 church leaders and participants in pilgrimages for climate justice across the continent ended on 14 October 2015 at the Evangelical Academy Villigst in Schwerte (Germany).
On the last day the conference was addressed by WCC General Secretary, Rev Dr Olaf Fykse Tveit. In focusing on the theological dimension of the pilgrimage Rev Dr. Tveit underlined: ‘Pilgrimage is an expression of solidarity with those on the margin, in situations of suffering, it is a message of hope and a call for transformation of our minds.’
Rev Christian Krieger, member of the CEC Governing Board, President of the Synodal Council of the Reformed Church in Alsace Lorraine and Vice President of the Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace Lorraine stressed the continuing commitment of CEC to address the issue of climate justice in working closely with churches across the continent. Rev Krieger also stated that the issue should continue to be raised in a dialogue with the European political institutions. The President of the Synodal Council said that: ‘It is the undisputable role of CEC to address common challenges in Europe and to bring the common witness of churches in Europe.’
Bishop Dr. Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the presiding bishop of the Council of the Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) in his presentation encouraged a more active presence of churches in the public sphere: Bishop Bedford-Strohm underlined: ‘We need to pay more attention to public theology and public witness in our work.’
Participants of the consultation adopted the final message ‘For a more just and sustainable tomorrow’, which is a call to policy makers: ‘to work together to look beyond short-term actions and take lasting decisions for the common good.’ The message at the same time underlines that climate change and climate justice are issues which: ‘need to be addressed at grass-root level and not just dealing with the consequences. Although science and technology play a significant role in responding to climate change, relying on them alone is not sufficient. Addressing ethical issues, educating and involving people are “musts” in climate programmes.’
The text of the message ‘For a more just and sustainable tomorrow’ is available here.
On behalf of the Reformed Church in Hungary a delegation, led by Tibor Ábrám Vice-Lay President of our Synod also took part in the CEC Consultation in Schwerte. Mr Ábrám presented the activity of the Eco-Congregation Movement in Hungay such as „Bicycling for your neighbour” Program as part of the European Pilgrimage in Europe, which was highly appreciated by the Conference. The Meeting in Schwerte gave also opportuinty for the Hungatian delegation to handle over to the German brothers and sisters the relay filled with soil from all the Hungarian destinations of this Pilgrimage to take it to the Climate Change Conference in Paris. The RCH delegation included Rev Tamás Kodácsy and Boglárka Szűcs, members of the RCH Eco-Congregation Program.