Napoli, 4-6 November 2022 – 6th meeting of the Eco Communities
From 4 to 6 November, the 6th national meeting of eco-communities, organized by the Globalisation and Environment Commission (Glam) of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (Fcei), was held at the Waldensian church in Napoli both in presence and remote.
The biennial assembly is the time for the Globalisation and Environment Commission to meet the eco-communities and their members, but also sympathizers and that civil society with which we have long collaborated. It is an opportunity to strengthen the bond with churches, whether they are eco-communities or not, by grasping their concerns and sharing issues.
It is the chance we have to meet face to face and in this particular historical moment it has no inconsiderable importance; the forced isolation due to the pandemic and the anxiety brought about by the winds of war have induced many and many to stay away from the home, perceived as a safe place. This has led to a worsening of human relationships, exacerbating the loneliness of the most fragile people, such as the elderly and the sick, and at the same time marking the furrow with the younger generations increasingly projected towards virtual socialization. Meeting, shaking hands, hugging each other, looking people in the eye, perceiving their worries or, on the contrary, reading their enthusiasm is a moment of strong empathy and at the same time helps us to understand the validity of the path that the Commission has been following for years.
We are at the service of the churches and getting to know them is crucial for us.
The meeting has been opened with a public lecture on Eco theology with Kirsten Thiele, Lutheran pastor in Napoli and deputy dean of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Italy (CELI), and Hanz Gutierrez, theologian, and professor at the Adventist Faculty of Theology.
Kirsten Thiele, starting from Colossian 1, 15-20 spoke, among other things, about Christian ethics as an ethics of gratitude. In addition, the concept of 'preservation', since the preservation of creation "is not the exclusive task of God, but requires that man respects and protects, maintains and preserves what God has created". Not only theology but also philosophy, when Thiele speaks of 'making the corporeal motif fruitful cosmologically-ecologically, for the coexistence of all creatures', suggesting the idea of an 'organism' that interconnects God, humanity, and creation.
Gutierrez in particular spoke about the anthropocentric vision that, despite our good attempts, is still instrumental in bringing imbalance. He returned to the topic of amending Article 9 of the Constitution. What will be left for future generations? We talk about resources, but we do not mention the precise rights of the environment, which remain implicit. Gutierrez also introduced the eco-theology of Jürgen Moltmann. Speaking of the human being, created in the image and likeness of God, he emphasized that God both in the creation and in incarnation is 'self-limiting', in the sense that he limits his power to get closer to the creatures. Humanity should suit.
In the next session we had two speeches from Giovanni Appetecchi, senior researcher at ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) on "The state of energy choices for industry and citizens", and Emanuele De Gasperis, veterinarian: "Livestock farming, animal feed, imports".
From the following debate and confrontation among the eco-communities comes the call for conscious and critical behavior. The aim is to give meaning to sustainability, which must be based on three cardinal principles: environmental protection, equity, and a fair economy. "Increasing renewables is not enough, we need to reduce fossil fuels and change consumption, said Maria Elena Lacquaniti the Glam coordinator.
The meeting ended on Sunday with a worship in the Lutheran church celebrated by pastor Kirsten Thiele and accompanied by the choir.
We could add that the network of eco-communities is growing thanks to all the denominations that are part of the Protestant Federation.
As 6 November is also the UN International Day to Prevent the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, the participant of the meeting took a picture as a way to join the 'climate disarmament' campaign of the Peace and disarmament network of which Glam is part.