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European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN)


Abstract Seeking to foster sustainability at local, regional, national, and European levels, the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) facilitates collaboration between European churches and Christian groups. ECEN promotes ecological responsibility from a Christian perspective and encourages churches to become environmentally aware and active. The Network aims to provide churches with support and resources as well as opportunities for dialogue and information sharing. In addition to helping individual churches integrate environmentalism into their institutional, theological/liturgical, and educational practices, ECEN seeks to forge new geographical and ecclesiastical alliances. It also works to facilitate collaboration between churches and political organizations as well as governmental agencies. Consisting of European churches or ecumenical bodies, partner organizations of the Conference of European Churches, and environmental organizations working with European churches, ECEN members participate in bi-annual Assemblies. The work of ECEN is concentrated around several Working Groups/Coalitions that address specific themes: Climate Change, Church Environmental Management, Creation Day and Worship, Environmental Education, Transport and Mobility, Sustainable Development, and Water. The Creation Time Working Group has demarcated the period between the first of September and the second Sunday in October as an annual “Time for Creation” and provides liturgical and educational resources for celebrating and caring for creation. In addition to the Assemblies and Working Coalitions, ECEN keeps members connected through sustained communication and information sharing through its newsletter and the internet.
Religion Christianity
Geographic Location Europe
Duration of Project 1998–Present
History

In the decade prior to the ECEN’s founding, European churches were beginning to recognize the need to work together to address environmental issues. The First European Ecumenical Assembly, held in Basel, Switzerland in 1989, included a statement urging churches to take responsibility for creation and to work towards reducing the exploitation of the planet’s resources. In 1995, the environmental commissioners of European Churches gathered together at a conference in Mulheim entitled “Protecting the Environment-Safeguarding God’s Creation,” where representatives from fourteen countries agreed on the centrality of environmental concerns for contemporary Christianity. That same year, an ecumenical conference on Environment and Development, called “Sustainability: A Challenge to Our Lifestyles,” was held on Crete. These early meetings were crucial steps leading to the creation of the ECEN, which grew out of a series of recommendations adopted by the Second European Ecumenical Assembly in Graz, Austria in 1997. These recommendations urged churches to embrace a “new practice of ecological responsibility” and called for the creation of a pan-European network of churches involved in environmental work. Over the next year, an ad hoc working group drafted a proposal inviting European churches to send representatives to the inaugural Assembly of ECEN in Vilemov, in the Czech Republic, in October of 1998. Sixty representatives from twenty-four countries and various Christian denominations (including Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic) attended this first meeting. The Vilemov Assembly crafted an Inaugural Statement, a preliminary list of aims and priority issues, and an organizational structure for the Network. These preliminary guidelines were superceded at the 1999 Loccum Assembly, which established the goals, organizational structure, and membership criteria of ECEN.

Mission Statement “ECEN aims to enable the churches of Europe and Christian groups involved in environmental work to share information, pool our common experiences, [and] encourage each other in being a united witness to caring for God’s creation.”
Partner Organizations Conference of European Churches, World Council of Churches
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information European Christian Environmental Network
c/o Conference of European Churches
Rue Joseph II 174
BE-1000 Brussels, Belgium
Ph:       00.32.2.230.1732
Fax:     00.32.2.231.1413
Email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)