6-10 October 2018, Katowice, Poland
ECEN usually organises an international Assembly every two years. The last Assembly, which brought together delegates and experts from 22 countries in Europe took place in 2016 in Helsinki, Finland. The Assembly offers a broad ecumenical platform for cooperation and sharing among representatives from Anglican, Orthodox, Protestant, Orthodox and Roman-catholic churches.
Climate change has become one of the defining challenges of the early decades of 21st century. We are much more aware than any time before of its unprecedented speed, as well as far reaching impacts. Commitment expressed by governments and leaders of close to all countries of the world expressed by signing of the Paris agreement in 2015 is an important milestone. In spite of its gravity, climate disruption is only a part of a broader pattern of global upheaval, which also includes the extinction of species, pervasive pollution and ecosystem transformation. The United Nations efforts on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are increasingly important. The challenge to address these is not limited to efforts of political leadership.
Pursuing the SDGs is linked to an ethical dimension. The roles individual and communities in raising the questions of life style and consumption are closely related to broader questions of how we produce material means and overall questions for the future. Churches and faith communities have been increasingly aware of this and many of them are actively involved in this work. In their approach they unite an emphasis on spiritual and ethical aspects with diverse practical activities, which faith communities are often engaged in at grassroots levels in communities across the continent.
The encyclical letter of Pope Francis ‘Laudato Si’, appreciated far beyond the Roman Catholic church, the pioneering role of the “Green Patriarch” Bartholomew in promoting a holistic view on sustainable development, as well as the efforts of many other churches leaders make clear the role of churches and religions in these efforts. Churches on the whole continent are increasingly aware and positively engaged in activities which care about and for the whole Creation.
In 2018 the ECEN Assembly will address the challenge of climate change and highlight the relationship of climate disruption, pollution and ecosystem transformation with economic activities and social agendas. The Assembly will focus on the role of churches in addressing and responding to these challenges.
It will take place in the city of Katowice, Poland, which also hosts the UN climate gathering COP 24 later in the year. The ECEN Assembly will play a role in raising of social awareness of the relationship between ecological disruption and the impacts of economic production. This will take into account the ethics, theology and role of churches in addressing these challenges, as well as strengthening the role of churches in Poland in their engagement with such issues.
The Assembly will be an opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of ECEN and highlight the increasing task of the churches in promoting care for creation.
The aims of the Assembly are:
- To offer space for the sharing and exchange of environmental action in the churches in Europe and to intensify their work with other partners.
- To underline the ethical, spiritual and theological dimension of the environmental engagement of the churches.
- To highlight the importance of the interrelationship between climate change, the economy and society as the part of a sustainable future.
- To strengthen cooperation with the churches in Poland in addressing care for creation.
- To provide the churches with guidance and support in their environmental work, and to develop their capacity for networking, cooperation and joint action.
Ecumenical Council of Churches in Poland
Local parishes in Katowice
- Raising of social awareness of relationship between ecological disruption, the impacts of economic production and possible solutions.
- Raising awareness of ethics, theology and the role of churches in addressing ecological disruption.
- Deepening the awareness of ecumenical cooperation and coordination of churches’ programmes on addressing climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Supporting and strengthening churches in Poland in their engagement in care of creation.
- Agreeing ECEN activities and strengthening of a common platform for sharing in view of joint churches’ action in concrete partnership programmes.