The first day of the two-day conference of ECEN was opened by Peter Pavlovic (Secretary of ECEN) and Per Ivar Vaje (member of the ECEN Enabling Team, Moderator of the Assembly). The General Secrataries of ECEN’s main partners, Jørgen Skov Sørensen (CEC) and Martin Michalíček (CCEE) greeted the audience, pointing at the importance of discussing theological concerns of environmental issues and underlining the ecumenical and interfaith dimensions of working together for peace, justice and preservation of creation.
After a short prayer referring to the Parable of the Sower, the first session dealt with the question „Does climate change and a sustainable future pose a particular theological concern?”, with inputs from the two keynote speakers, Bishop Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh and Archbishop Job of Telemessos. Bishop Cornelius-Bundschuh looked at the biblical and theological concept of interruption (in relation to the biblical Sabbath / Christian Sunday) and drew attention the notion of a ’divine enough’: the ultimate source which we live from. Archbishop Job of Telemessos outlined the Orthodox response to climate crisis resting on three pillars: the stewardship and priesthood of man, the ascetic way of life and the eucharistic mind.
The afternoon began with the prayers of youth leaders of WSCF Europe and EYCE. Session 2 explored „The European Green Deal and the role of churches”. The five panelists, Zélie Peppiette, Andy Atkins, András Huszár and Sven Giegold discussed the significance of the major flagship initiative of the European Union, the European Green Deal and shared their views about the possiblities of civil societies and churches in raising awareness together, taking responsibility and shaping public opinion on the green transition – not avoiding conflict situations. Andy Atkins emphasized, there is a Christian mandate to act on the environmental crisis, and there are distinguished resources which churches can bring to bear on to it. As Peter Pavlovic summarized at the end of the session, good will and self-commitment are not enough. We need to deepen networking and listening to each other to have an impact on wider sections of society on the European level as well as on a global scale.
In Session 3 participants shared the results of the last 3 years of the second period of ECEN Twinning Project financially assisted by the German Federal Environmental Agency. Representatives of different national church organizations presented their fruitful bilateral cooperation through a detailed slide show. After a lively discussion Peter Pavlovic pointed out, ECEN Twinning Project is what Christian cooperation is really about; ECEN is committed to finding financial support for a third phase of the project as well.