Photo Credit: Ivars Kupcis / WCC
A resource rooted to the congregation level of churches’ engagement in ecological and economic justice was launched during a public event at the World Council of Churches (WCC) headquarters in Geneva yesterday (Tuesday). The publication is the fruit of a long work led by Pastor Norman Tendis, WCC consultant for Economy of Life, who was one of the victims of Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash.
“The ‘Roadmap for Congregations, Communities and Churches for an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice’ is an invitation to join a pilgrimage for an Economy of Life and climate justice, to commit to make changes in the way people live, to share successful ideas and to encourage one another”, the WCC said.
Tendis, who also served as a pastor of the Evangelische Kirche in Österreich (the Evangelical Church in Austria) was on his way to the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly, in Nairobi, Kenya, where he planned to launch the roadmap.
“We are a bit shaken, all of us, still, and that is quite okay. That is how life is,” WCC General Secretary Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said. “I’m still convinced that what we do now is important. What he was committed to, is what we are committed to together. We can use the roadmap not only as a discussion starter but also as a way to act immediately.”
Professor Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC’s Deputy General Secretary, recalled interviewing Tendis when he applied for his job at the WCC. “All of us on the panel, we were attracted to his enthusiasm for his job. He was a man with a mission”, she said. “He was already practicing those things at the congregational level. He knew he had a message for the ecumenical movement to share.”
The roadmap was presented on Monday (11 March) at a side event at the UN Environment Assembly. “While we sorely missed his presence and voice, Norman would have been happy to know that the roadmap he was instrumental in developing stimulated a rich exchange of inspiring practices from different faith traditions”, Athena Peralta, WCC Programme Executive for Economic and Ecological Justice, said.
The publication offers a five-step programme to change the way churches deal with the economy and their ecological surroundings in the following areas: living in accordance with the covenant with God and creation, renewable energy & climate protection, just and sustainable consumption, economies of life, and networking.
“The way we interact with the economy and creation – not only as private persons, but also as congregations, communities and churches – is strongly connected with our faith convictions”, Pastor Tendis wrote in the foreword of the roadmap.
By bringing examples of how individuals and congregations can support and practice small-scale, live-giving agriculture, and create community gardens and access to clean water, the roadmap gives strong emphasis to the potential transformative power that individuals and congregations have to lead by example.
The roadmap includes a tool for direct engagement with the WCC’s programmatic area of economic and ecological justice for further involvement and sharing of experiences.
- The WCC Roadmap for Congregations, Communities and Churches for an Economy of Life and Ecological Justice is available to download as PDFs for home or professional printing.