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World Council of Churches Working Group on Climate Change Visits the United Evangelical Mission in Wuppertal

Photo above: The participants at the Wichern Chapel on the Nordbahnstrasse in Wuppertal-Barmen. Photos below: in front of the mission house and the town hall of Wuppertal. Mayor Bettina Brücher welcomed the WCC group, where they were given more information about climate protection measures in the city. From the left: Mayor Bettina Brücher, Mrs. Stamm (city of Wuppertal), Athena Peralta (WCC) and Jochen Motte (UEM). (Photos: M. Pauly/VEM).

On 8–10 May 2017, twenty-two representatives from churches, ecclesiastical development organizations and theology faculties met at the Lutheran Conference Centre in Wuppertal to exchange ideas on climate protection and ecotheology. The representatives came from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Fiji, Finland, Greece, the United Kingdom, India, Israel/Palestine, Canada, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, Tanzania, Czech Republic, the United States, and Germany for a meeting in advance of the 23rd International Climate Conference, to be held in Bonn in November 2017.

The United Evangelical Mission (UEM) is an associate member of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which is based in Geneva. Jochen Motte, a member of the UEM Management Team, emphasized the importance of the Council's advocacy for the protection of the climate in the context of international climate conferences. The UEM has been supporting the climate programme of the WCC for many years. The members of the Working Group on Climate Change (WGCC) want to network at the international level to strengthen local churches and local actors in the fight against resource depletion and the destruction of natural resources. The aim is to avert the catastrophic and lethal consequences of climate change, which currently have a disproportionate effect on poorer people and indigenous peoples in countries of the global South. 

Mayor Bettina Brücher welcomed the WCC group on 9 May at the Wuppertal-Barmen town hall, where they were given more information about climate protection measures in the city. The participants then had the opportunity to visit the Wichern Chapel on the Nordbahnstrasse in Wuppertal-Barmen. The Nordbahnstrasse, a former Rhenish railway line, was part of the European climate pilgrimage route in 2015 that led from Flensburg, Germany to the climate conference in Paris. On their walk back to the meeting venue in Wuppertal's Hardt parkland, the members of the WCC working group followed the same path as the many climate pilgrims and prominent representatives from politics, civil society, and the churches had taken.

The United Evangelical Mission, with headquarters in Wuppertal, is an international and equitable communion of 35 churches from various traditions in Africa, Asia, and Germany, along with the v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel. The UEM follows a traditional and consequently holistic understanding of mission. Spreading the gospel also includes improving the living conditions of people in need and advocating for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.

Martina Pauly

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