Part of the problem or part of the solution? Which role do churches play in the ecological crisis? Which answers do different approaches of ecological theology offer in different contexts? How can churches learn from one another in dialogue about the theology of creation, how can ecumenical interaction profit from the dialogue with science? How can churches critically monitor and challenge the international debate about sustainability in the UN and the political arena? When the co-operation between countries and political entities is crumbling, a common understanding among the churches is becoming more important. The shrinking time-slot for the urgently necessary measures to reduce CO2-emissions and preserve bio-diversity require intensified and internationally and ecumenically coordinated advocacy work of the churches.
These questions are being dealt with in an international conference under the title “Eco-Theology and the Ethics of Sustainability “from 16 to 19 June 2019 in Wuppertal (Germany). Over 50 theologians and specialists from 22 countries and nearly all continents, from different denominations and religions have come together to present their understandings and to exchange experiences.
Questions of ecology and sustainability have been in the focus of the churches for many years. In 1983, the General Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Vancouver (Canada) called to stand together for peace and against the endangerment of survival. This was the beginning of the conciliar process of mutual commitment for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. More than ever, the governments need a critical, ethically oriented contribution of the churches to make the processes of re-orientation to sustainability possible, stated Prof. Schneidewind. The churches themselves are in need of a critical ecological reformation to be credible contestants for ecological sustainability, as Prof. Ernst Conradie (South Africa), countered.
The international conference in Wuppertal formulated the suggestion, that the coming WCC General Assembly proclaims an ecumenical decade for „Transformation towards Ecological Sustainability – Karios for Creation “ until 2030.
Jochen Motte, responsible for Advocacy on justice, peace and the integrity of creation on behalf of the United Evangelical Mission welcomes the message of the conference. “This Wuppertal call from 55 people from Asia, Africa, Latin and North America, Europe and the Pacific will strenghten the commitment within UEM and for its members to advocate for climate justice and to promote environmetla protection.” According to Andar Parlindungan, head of the UEM traning & empowerment department, the recommendations from the conference “are also an ecnouragment to support theological studies in eco-theology and to sponsor research and scholarship in this area”.
The Wuppertal conference was jointly organised by the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the Association of Protestant Churches and Missions in Germany (EMW), the United Evangelical Mission (UEM) and Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World).
Dr Jochen Motte, United Evangelical Mission, Phone +49 202 89004 168
Dr Dietrich Werner, Bread for the World, Phone +49 30 65211 1842