Faith Communities and Environmental Activism

2017. május 24., szerda

ECEN Consultation to take place in Edinburgh. Rev Tamás Kodácsy, Head of the Eco-Congregation Council of RCH and member of the CEC ThematicReference Group on Economic and Environmental Justice attended on behalf of RCH the consultation.

The European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN), together with The University of Edinburgh and United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council, is hosting a three-day symposium on the relationship between faith communities and environmental activism. The event takes place in Edinburgh from 18 to 20 May and brings together faith-based environmentalists and researchers to discuss the beliefs, cultures, and traditions that propel action for social change.

Dialogue between faith-based actors and academics, as well as cooperation among different groups addressing challenges of environmental degradation and climate change are of growing importance. “The contributions of churches and other faith-based actors and underlining of their specific voice are increasingly critical for combatting worldwide nature depletion and climate change,” remarked ECEN Secretary Peter Pavlovic. “These voices are an essential corrective to widespread consumer culture and the accompanying economics of limitless growth.”

The conference continues in the decades-long tradition of church engagement with environmental issues. From at least the 1960s, churches in Europe have played a strong advocacy role in protecting open spaces, clean water and air, and endangered species. Much of this good work emerged from the grassroots level and is developing, especially in light of international climate change treaties such as the Paris Agreement. Through the activities of the conference, those gathered will develop a better understanding of the evolving relationship between faith communities and their activities in this area.

Highlights of the programme include an opening keynote by Professor Michael Northcott, “Earthy Time and Environmental Justice,” where he will present research findings from the ancestral time project on Scottish Ecocongregations. The conference will open a space for panel discussions and sharing of contributions addressing such diverse issues as divestment, care for creatures, and environmental leadership. Participants will also enjoy an immersion experience with Alan Werrity on the theme of “Deep Time and Sacred Space.” Werrity will guide a nature walk in the vicinity of the conference venue, including Edinburgh’s famed Arthur’s Seat.

The first day of the symposium in Edinburgh offered perspectives on the development of environmental activism in Eco-Congregation Scotland and Hungary. 

ECEN delegates Peter Pavlovic, Henrik Grape, Gudrun Kordecki, Martyn Goss, Maria Kozhinova, Adrian Shaw, Eszter Kodacsy-Simon, Tamas Kodacsy. and Antonella Visintin, have actively participated in the discussions and plenary panels. The sessions were followed by a field trip on the theme of "Deep time and Sacred Spaces" in vicinity of Arthur's Seat, Duddingston Church Eco-Congregation and Community Gardens.

The highlight of the second day of the conference was a round of parallel papers. Their themes included: initiatives for environment; identity as green + Christian; environmental activism as a spiritual issue; "eco-anxiety"; environmentally engaged Buddhism; and Petroleum theologies. These sessions were followed by an open space discussion on Religion in Environmental Activism. In the evening, we have enjoyed a conference reception, drinks and dinner at the National Storytelling Centre, entertained by a skillful storyteller and one of this event's organiser Mark Borthwick. The evening was concluded by a brilliant plenary address by Andy Atkins, the CEO of A Rocha UK and former CEO of Friends of the Earth UK, on Mobilizing Churches on the Environment.


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Reformed Church in Hungary

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