Press Release No: 15/42
15 October 2015
CEC consultation on Pilgrimage for climate justice and the UN Climate conference in Paris, November 2015
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.’
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Conference of European Churches
The Conference of European Churches (CEC) is a fellowship of some 114 Orthodox, Protestant, Anglican and Old Catholic Churches from all countries of Europe, plus 40 national council of churches and organisations in partnership. CEC was founded in 1959. It has offices in Brussels and Strasbourg.